Even without an Autism Spectrum Disorder, young people often struggle with the normal challenges of growing up, acquiring complex skills, and learning how to sustain meaningful relationships. Autism Spectrum Disorders such as autism and Asperger's syndrome can increase the difficulty of these normal challenges, both for the child and for the parents. It is essential that children have assistance and support designed to meet each individual’s particular needs.
HOW DO AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERS AFFECT DEVELOPMENT?
A child learns a vast array of skills, each layer of learning building on the one before. Autism Spectrum Disorders disrupt this process to a greater or lesser extent. There are so many things to learn and tasks to accomplish to reach mature adulthood. It’s a challenging journey for any young person, and an Autism Spectrum Disorder makes it harder.
Autism Spectrum Disorders range from very mild to very severe, with everything in between. A mild Autism Spectrum Disorder such as Asperger's syndrome may be harder to detect, but with increasing severity, more areas of life are usually involved and effects are obvious in say a case of profound autism.
Often there’s nothing in a person’s appearance that indicates they are affected by an Autism Spectrum Disorder. The signs will usually be evident in the person’s behavior andcommunication. All this means that the special needs of people with Autism Spectrum Disorder may not be recognized, and their behavior may be misunderstood by the wider community.
INVOLVING THERAPISTS AND PROFESSIONAL SUPPORT
The first and essential step is to obtain a clear and accurate assessment of all the young person’s abilities and difficulties. Assessment is the basis for planning a specific program to build on the young person’s strengths and address their particular needs, and set short-term and longer-term goals. This planning and goal-setting should always be a team effort, with the...