Autism is a lifelong developmental disorder characterised by problems with social interaction, communication and behaviour. Autism occurs along a spectrum as autism affects individuals in different ways and each person requires differing levels of support.   Autism affects around 1 in 100 people and appears to affect more men than women.

Characteristics:

Behavioural:

  • Special interests
  • Repetitive body movements
  • Repetitive use of objects
  • Insistance for sticking to routines
  • Sensorty sensitivity

Social Skills:

  • Limited understanding of non-verbal communication
  • Difficulties forming and sustaining relationships
  • Prefering to do activities alone
  • Lack of social and emotional responsiveness

Communication:

  • Delayed language development
  • Difficulty having conversations
  • Repetitive use of language e.g. repeating phrases from television

Causes:

It is likely there are multiple circumstances that can cause autism. There are varying environmental, biologic, and genetic factors that can contribute to a child developing the disorder. These theories include faulty genes, chemical imbalances, lack of oxygen at birth, mercury used in vaccinations* and pesticides.

*Although it has been theorised that vaccinations cause autism, there has been no reputable study confirming this. Also, most vaccinations do not contain thimerosal (a mercury-containing preservative) anymore.

Diagnosis:

Early intervention is important in helping children with autism navigate the world with their disability. If you feel your pre-school aged child may have autism, you can make an appointment with your GP so that they can conduct a screening interview called M-CHAT. If your child is school-aged you can make an appointment with the school’s SENCO team so that they can observe and screen your child for autism. Once your child has been screened they will be referred to a range of specialists in order to recieve a dianosis. These would include a paediatrician, a speech and language therapist and a psychologist.

Interventions:

There is no ‘cure’ for autism. However, there are a range of interventions that can help people with autism to function in the world and have a more fulfilling life. These interventions help the individual learn social skills and communication skills. They also help them cope with sensory overload.

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21 thoughts on “What is Autism?

      1. Sure I would love to. Is there anything in specific you want me to write about. I have covered alot of topics on my blog about my everyday experiences with my autistic son.

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    1. Yes I would love that! I started writing for my sanity because I don’t know any parents or groups for parents of Autistic children. Now I have wrote for awhile and I believe my content maybe can help other parents. And I wanted to show the great growth my son has made in two years. Nonverbal to going to a regular Kindergarten this week. I’m new to all this and I don’t know my next step. I recently got on instagram @bilaliyah to share the great things I do with my son. It’s all positive and I want to show people that you can take your autistic children out in the community and you can both enjoy the experiences with time.

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      1. This blog has been going for several years. I think that looking at some of her older posts would probably be more relevant to where you are in the process. https://www.autismfamilypower.com/ If you contact Robin, she could direct you to posts that mirror your circumstances. I don’t have children with autism but my son and I show some similarities with those on the spectrum, and I find her (well-written) stories educational. (Psych

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      2. Thank you I will check it out. I’ve only been writing on here for two years as therapy for myself. And hoping one day to share what Ihave gone through with other parents

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  1. Thank you for this post. I had’t realised that the numbers are as high as one in a hundred. I do struggle with the fact that autistic children (or any children with social difficulties) are often reduced to the sum of their deficiencies in other people’s minds. Developing their strengths is often forgotten or downplayed or even ignored in the battle to make them “normal” when in fact there is no “normal.”
    I do agree they need help to function in society and I am not saying it is not a huge struggle for parents, and yes I am all for masses of support. Simply, I am just wanting to celebrate their incredible giftings more than we do on the whole.
    So often a major deficiency also means a major efficiency in another area, and I think this can be overlooked. Personally I have major deficiencies when it comes to mathematics, but since they are not unacceptable socially, they just annoy my accountant and are not mentioned generally when people talk about me. But an autistic child who is brilliant at mathematics but not so great at saying hello or sorry, will be analysed till cows come home. To me it seems unbalanced. What do you think? Lots of love, L.

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    1. I absolutely agree. Our worth should not be determined by what makes us profitable to society. Everyone has both strengths and weaknesses. People with disorders or disabilities should not be looked at as an inconvenience and we do not need to seek “cures” for all socially deviant behaviours. Some should be embraced.

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    1. Yes I watched my 5 year Autistic son rearrange his backpack on the yard for 15 minutes before the bell, and when I go in his room and all his playdough containers are lined up in a row, or how yesterday in the grocery store how he saw a display and some of the items where falling out. He stopped told me he had to fix it because it was wrong. I see the OCD. I let him do it because for him it calms his anxiety.

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