Autism

9 September 2016

Autism is a developmental disability caused by neurological dysfunction. It affects the way a person understands and responds to the world, how they hear, see, feel, sense, perceive and interpret everything around them. This may affect how they eat, sleep, dress, work, spend leisure time etc. They are likely to have repetitive behaviour patterns and restricted repetitive interests.

Individuals with an autistic spectrum condition can have difficulties with language and communicating with others and with social interactions and relationships because there is an impairment of 2 way verbal and non verbal communication and impairment of flexible thinking and social imagination. People with autism can often have accompanying learning difficulties but everyone with the condition shares a difficulty in making sense of the world.

Inflexibility and restrictiveness in activities and interests can lead to a person on the autistic spectrum having difficulty relating to others and making friends, an inability to engage in imaginary play, it can lead to ritualistic behaviours , obsessions and fears.

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It is important to identify the person’s strengths and weaknesses, to use their strengths and interest and use positive approaches.

It may be helpful to use social stories to facilitate social skills and to be structured, consistent and calm. It is important to recognise that each individual on the autistic spectrum has their own individual abilities, needs, strengths, preferences and interests so that a person centered shared means of communication can be identified. 1. 1. Describe the types of difficulty that individuals with an autistic spectrum condition may have with language and other ways of communicating

The difficulties which individauls have in using language effectively with others include lack of eye contact, poor attention, being able to point objects to others, and difficulty with the ‘give and take’ in normal conversation. Some individuals sometimes use language in unusual ways, retaining features of earlier stages of language development for long periods or throughout their lives. Some speak only single words, while thers repeat a mimicked phrase over and over The body language of people with autism can be difficult for other people to understand. Facial expressions, movements, and gestures may be easily understood by some other people with autism, but do not match those used by other people. Also, their tone of voice has a much more subtle inflection in reflecting their feelings, and the auditory system of a person without autism often cannot sense the fluctuations.

Identify problems that individuals with an autistic spectrum condition may have in social interaction and relationships Communication difficulties may contribute to autistic people becoming socially anxious or depressed or prone to self-injurious behaviours. Significant percentage of people with autism are being diagnosed with co-morbid mood, anxiety and compulsive disorders which may also contribute to behavioural and functioning challenges.

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