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Autism Explained

What is Autism?

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that results in a range of difficulties with social communication, social interaction and restricted and repetitive patterns of behaviours or interests.

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Autism, or ASD, is classified as a spectrum due to the wide range of different strengths and difficulties a person can present with. ASD is something that a person is born with and is a lifelong diagnosis but can present differently at different times of their life.

Characteristics of ASD

Every person with autism is different but will present with some common characteristics. These can also vary depending on the person’s age or the situation they are in. These characteristics may include:

  • The way a child uses language might be different to other children; some children may sound mature for their age while some may communicate in simple sentences or non-verbally. Some children echo (copy) others’ speech or repeat phrases they have heard from other people or media.

  • A child may find it difficult to have a two-way conversation with other people. They may only like to talk about topics they are interested in or prefer not to talk to people they do not know. It might be difficult for them to show a natural interest in other people.

  • A child may use their non verbal communication such as eye contact, facial expressions and gestures in a different way to others. They may find eye contact uncomfortable or struggle to know how much to use. It may be hard for them to judge what others may be thinking or feeling from their facial expressions.

  • A child may like to do things in a particular way or have certain routines. They may become upset if these are changed.

  • A child may become very enthusiastic about particular topics, objects, people etc. They may like to talk a lot about their own interests but find it difficult to talk about the interests of others.

  • A child may find it difficult to interpret and understand their own emotions and those of others. They may also find it difficult to regulate their own emotions.

  • Social relationships may be challenging; they may find it difficult to make and maintain friendships. They may say something unintentionally that comes across as blunt or may misinterpret others' comments.

  • Certain social situations such as busy environments may be overwhelming for them and they may choose to avoid these situations.

  • A child may show strong sensory preferences or aversions and may react to sounds, smells, touch and things they can see. For example, they may like the feel of one object and actively avoid other objects.

  • A child may make unusual or repetitive movements, particularly when excited or anxious.

If you or your child are experiencing any of the indicators associated with autism, you can book a free virtual consultation to speak to one of our therapists. Find out more here.

How can a diagnosis help my child?

Having a formal diagnosis of autism can help you to understand your child’s needs and how you can support them. This can also lead to support for your child at school, and support for you as a parent or carer, such as financial aid. Recognition of your child being autistic can also help to make sense of their behaviour, and understand that your child is not behaving ‘badly’.

For Children

What is autism?

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), usually called autism, is something you’re born with. Autism means that the way you think is different to most people. This means you may behave differently, and have different strengths and difficulties. You may sometimes find it hard to understand the world around you.

You may have difficulty:

  • talking and learning the meaning of words
  • making friends or fitting in
  • dealing with changes (like trying new foods, having a new teacher, or having toys moved from their normal places)
  • dealing with loud noises, bright lights, or crowds

You may have a little trouble with these things, or a lot. Some children need only a little bit of help, and others might need a lot of help with learning and doing everyday tasks. There are lots of people who can support you, and together you can achieve amazing things.

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