Understand how to support individuals with autistic spectrum conditions.
Understand the main characteristics of autistic spectrum conditions.
It is important to recognise that each person on the autistic spectrum has their own individual abilities, needs, strengths, gifts and interests because no two individuals are the same. People on the autistic spectrum have their own set of unique characteristics and vary from one to another in terms of their abilities. Some clients may have similar needs, for example, assistance with money. However no two individuals on the autistic spectrum are the same so it is important not too make assumptions about them. 1.2
The types of difficulties that individuals tend to experience can be generalised into 3 different groups. These are known as the Triad of Impairments. These are: 1. Language and communication with others
2. Flexibility of thought
3. Social Interaction and relationships
Some examples of these are
Difficulties understanding jokes, puns and sarcasm
Not understanding instructions, doing exactly as instructed. Difficulty in working out metaphors
Not responding when spoken to, may appear to be deaf although hearing is within normal range. 1.3, 1.6
The term spectrum was introduced in the 1970’s by Dr Lorna Wing and Dr Judith Gould. The word spectrum emphasises the fact that while all people with autism share certain areas of difficulty, their condition will effect individuals in different ways. The spectrum ranges from those severely effected to very high functioning. The autistic spectrum includes various sub-conditions or variations of autism. Asperger Syndrome – Although and features of Autism and Asperger Syndrome are the same, those with Asperger Syndrome have average or above average intelligence and no obvious delay in developing language. It is the lack of language delay that is seen as the key feature of Asperger Syndrome. People with autism but are above average intelligence but were delayed in developing language are usually described as having ‘high functioning autism’ Atypical autism is the term used when the person’s behaviour pattern fits most but not all the criteria for typical Autism. Atypical autism is likely to become noticeable after 3 years of age and it is a type of autism that may go undiagnosed for years. As well as being late onset, typically after 3 years of age, there are usually insufficient difficulties in one or two of the three main areas required for a diagnosis of autism: social skills, language development and imaginative expression. Pathological demand avoidance syndrome (PDA) is a pervasive developmental disorder related to, but significantly different from, Autism and Asperger. PDA was first described by Professor Elizabeth Newson, who drew attention to a group of children that often reminded people of children with autism but seemed to be different in other ways. The profile these children displayed didn't easily fall into diagnostic categories. Subsequent clinical accounts and research has led to PDA being increasingly considered as a condition within the autism spectrum. 1.4
Our senses, sight, hearing , taste, touch and smell, are responsible for everything that we learn about and experience in the world. We normally take our senses for granted, except on rare occasion, seeing something spectacular or listening to a child’s first word. However this is not the case, particularly for those on the autistic spectrum. Although they see/hear/smell/taste and touch the same things as us, the way in which they perceive these it significantly different. This can be described as having sensory integration difficulties, Sensory processing disorder or sensory sensitivity. 1.5
The following are some conditions which are associated with the autistic spectrum but can also occur on their own. Learning Disability – This is the most common co-occurring condition with autistic spectrum conditions. Historically, Autism was only...
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