NVQ3 unit 26 (LD310)
Understand how to support individuals with autistic spectrum conditions
1.1 It is important to recognise that individuals who are on the autism spectrum are seen as individuals. Clients with autism can easily be grouped into an autism grouping when providing support for them. For example, two clients who reside in the same property or within the same company could find themselves being provided support for their autism rather than their individualities, strengths and interests. This can lead to a blatant disregard for person centred working, because although they have the same condition it doesn’t necessarily meant they learn in the same way or they like the same things such as watching television or have the same sensory needs, or even the same preferred communication needs. In short clients who are on the autism spectrum have personalities that should be encouraged otherwise it can lead to them not having independence or being allowed to take ownership of their own lives regardless of the severity of their condition.
1.2 The triad of impairments are three areas of difficulty that although vary between person to person, are impairments that people with autism share. The triad of impairments are: impairment of social interaction, impairment of social communication, and impairment of social imagination.
Impairment of social interaction refers to an impaired ability to engage in reciprocal social interactions. Individuals can seem uninterested in people and fail to understand the reciprocal nature of normal social interaction. In consequence their attempts at social interaction can be awkward, one-sided, and they can use inappropriate or strange social behaviour because they find it difficult to express feelings, needs or emotions
Impairment of social communication refers to the whole range of communicative skills that a person has. Difficulties in communicating vary widely and they can be verbal and non-verbal. Many have a literal understanding of language and therefore they think people always mean what they say, not understanding sarcasm. Something as simple as body language can be totally alien to people with autism. Eye contact, use of gesture and facial expression can be impaired. Some people with autism have good language skills and are able to hold a normal conversation. However, they will find it hard to comprehend the give-and-take nature of conversations and may talk about their own interests at length.
Impairment of social imagination- Through social imagination we are able to predict and understand other people’s behavior, thoughts and feelings, and imagine situations outside our immediate daily routine. People with autism have great difficulty thinking imaginatively. This means they have problems predicting actions or events in the future resulting in routines being put in place to give them a sense of control, minimising any unpredictability’s. Despite the problems people with autism may have with social imagination, some are extremely creative indicating a vivid imagination rather than a lack of imagination.
1.3 The term spectrum reflects the fact that no two people with autism are alike. Although people with autism share the triad of impairments they are unique in the combination of characteristics presented by the triad of impairments. Because autism is a spectrum disorder it is vast in its scale, so vast that autism can be accompanied with secondary conditions and difficulties, such as:
Speech and language difficulties.
Intellectual disability (around 50% of individuals with ASD also have an intellectual disability). Sleep problems.
Anxiety and depression.
Difficulties with fine and gross motor skills.
1.4 Many individuals with ASD have difficulties interpreting sensory information, and may display over or under-sensitivity. Being over-sensitive to sound, touch, taste, smell or vision can be very confusing and at times...
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