Newest Review: ... the very broad ASD you will find at least one attribute that you recognise in yourself. Sorry if I have rambled, I am extremely passionat... more
Are you on the autistic spectrum to?
Member Name: cher_2004
I am going to open my review with my very strong opinion that WE ARE ALL ON THE AUTISTIC SPECTRUM!
This is a topic close to my heart. I have a child with learning and behavioural difficulties, many of which reflect ASD Autistic Spectrum Disorder. My daughter is a patient at the local children's centre that specialise in children with special needs. My daughter has been given a diagnosis of ADHD but they also want to look into ASD with her. I have chosen not to go down this route at the moment, not because I don't want my daughter to be labelled as Autistic (I have no issues with labels at all) but because I personally don't want to sit there again, talking for an hour or so about all my daughters negative point's. I personally find this really depressing and deflating, and find that this can impact my home life for the next few weeks or so. This impact may well be because I am a single parent and carry these thoughts worries and concerns completely alone. My daughter is currently receiving help at her school that suits her individual learning needs, so that is why I don't currently feel the need to focus on my daughters negatives and invite depression into my life until it is necessary (such as when she is about to start high school). To some this may sound very selfish, and I respect that opinion, however, my daughter has many, many positive attributes, these go unrecognised by doctor's, they don't want to hear that side.
Now to get back on track.
I am currently in my 3rd year of working as a 1:1 teaching assistant with children on the spectrum, I am working with my second pupil and we have several pupils diagnosed with being on "the spectrum" within our school, but several others who could well be on "the spectrum".
ASD is such an interesting and deep condition ranging from the very minor cases to severe cases. The Spectrum is so broad.
So what is autism?
It's basically means that your brain is wired differently. Your perception can be very different, very literal. For example the expression: "Pull your socks up" can mean come on get with it/ sort yourself out/hurry up, to you or I, to a child on the spectrum they can intemperate it as quite literally, pull your socks up. It is common for autistic children to find facial expressions confusing and not be able to recognise sadness, or anger in someones face. Another typical action can be special awareness, unable to respect other people's space and not being able to understand why some touching can be invading and unacceptable.
Many children on the spectrum can suffer with sensory issues, such as: noise sensitive, light sensitive or even touch sensitive. They can find event's like having hair cut or even brushed, feet measuring, teeth brushing, hair washing very distressing. It can be really difficult to overcome these situations that unfortunately do have to be faced.
I have been fortunate through my school to have been able to receive support from C.A.T. County Autism Team. They have been brilliant for me as a teaching assistant and have taught me the value of visual time tables, and social stories, amongst many other useful info.
Visual timetables - Very basic and can sound in affective, but try it before you decide, you can often be pleasantly surprised. Visual time table is quite simply a timetable of that day's routine, you can use words or pictures (depending on if your child can read or not) set your time table at vertically or horizontally, and talk through the event's of the day so your child knows what to expect. Some ASD children really find it hard to mentally predict, and don't like change.
A useful site for finding pictures to use for visual timetables is www.sparklebox.co.uk, this site is free to join and has great general resources also.
I mentioned Social Stories before, these can be a complete godsend!.
A social story is probably easier to write than explain, so here is an example of a social story about going to the hairdressers.
My name is........
I am ......years old
I have long/short brown hair,
My hair grows a tiny bit every day
Sometimes my hair gets too long and when it gets to long, it can look messy, get in my eyes or can be hard to brush.
When my hair gets too long I need to get it cut, this means I need to go to the hairdressers. I don't like going to the hairdressers or getting my hair cut.
The hairdresser has to brush my hair and she will brush my hair as careful as possibly, I can help her by keeping really still this can stop it hurting when I get my hair brushed.
My hair being cut doesn't hurt, I can sometimes here the scissors cutting my hair but I don't feel any pain so I don't really need to worry about having my hair cut. When my hair is cut it will keep growing and in a few months time I will need to have my hair cut again.
I don't like having my hair cut but it is important for me to have my hair cut. I will try to sit very still when I have my hair cut and brushed.
Everybody needs to get their hair cut sometimes.
It's important to let the child help your write a social story it helps them to connect to the story, print it off and they can read it as and when they want to, also read it before your trip to the hairdresser.
Please contact me direct if you would like further help and advice on social stories, I have written quite a few successful ones now, on farting, death, interrupting, playground play and strangers, as well as others.
I mentioned earlier that I thought we were all on the spectrum.
Do you have to get dressed in a certain order?
Do you have to lay the table before you go to bed?
Does everything have to be lined up exactly right?
Do you always like to sit in the same seat (on the bus, in the staff room)?
Do you always used the same toilet cubicle at work?
Do you have to write lists for everything?
Do you have OCD?
Are You dyslexic?
Do you have a certain way of eating your roast ( meat first then veg)
Are you "normal"
When you start looking into the very broad ASD you will find at least one attribute that you recognise in yourself.
Sorry if I have rambled, I am extremely passionate about Autism.
Autism is truly fascinating, it is built of so many layers.
Autism isn't only what Dustin Hoffman represents in Rain Man!
Further information taken from Bupa.
Autistic spectrum disorders (ASDs)
Published by Bupa's health information team, August 2007.
This factsheet is for people who would like information about autism and other autistic spectrum disorders.
Children with an autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) don't develop the social and language skills that other children do. As a result of this, they find relating to other people difficult. They may also have unusual behaviours and learning difficulties.
What is the autistic spectrum? Symptoms Causes Diagnosis Therapies and interventions Help and support Further information Questions and answers Related topics Sources What is the autistic spectrum?
Autism is a range, or spectrum, of disorders that affect individuals to varying degrees. A child can have their own combination of difficulties, putting them somewhere on what is called the autistic spectrum. Some children with autism may have learning difficulties and very limited speech and communication. Other children with a milder form of autism, called Asperger's syndrome, may have a good vocabulary but still have difficulty with communication.
According to the National Austistic Society, over 500,000 people in the UK have an ASD. A study published in 2006 has shown that as many as one in 100 children may have an ASD. It's four times more common in boys than girls.
Children with an ASD have three main types of problems. These are to do with their:
communication social development interests and behaviour (social imagination) If you notice signs of ASD in your child, you should see your health visitor or GP.
Children with ASDs may not develop the usual speech or non-verbal (eg pointing) skills of other children of the same age. They may also have trouble with understanding meaning in spoken or written language. Children with severe autism may never speak at all but may be helped to communicate in other ways (eg signing or using picture symbols).
These communication problems may show up as:
not babbling or pointing by the age of one not responding to their name not learning two words by the age of two in older children, unusual use of language and difficulty starting or keeping up conversations repeating words they have heard over and over again Social development
Children with an ASD may have difficulty in making friends and getting on well with their peers. They may:
seem very independent as toddlers and aloof when they get older have poor eye contact not seek affection in the usual way and resist being cuddled or kissed be unable to play with other children and have difficulty making friends seem to be "in a world of their own" not understand other people's thoughts and emotions find it difficult to accept simple social rules, which can cause problems at school Children with an ASD can be affectionate, but may not be able to respond to another person's need for affection.
Behaviour and interests
Children with an ASD may show very little or no interest in play that involves pretending. Instead they may be overly interested in repetitive activities, such as lining up their toys or watching the washing machine drum rotate. Children with an ASD may also:
learn to sit up or walk later than most children be oversensitive to noise or to touch (for instance, finding the vacuum cleaner or hairdryer deafening) have odd mannerisms such as rocking back and forth, hand flapping, walking on tip toes or head banging some may be clumsy and so struggle with physical activity Older children and adolescents may develop obsessions such as an excessive interest in timetables or lists, and in storing up trivial facts.
Intelligence and autism
Around three-quarters of people with an ASD have a learning disability. Some people who have Asperger's syndrome may have normal or high intelligence but struggle with social skills. Outstanding abilities with maths, music or drawing are uncommon.
Experts think ASDs are caused by differences in the way the brain develops before, during or soon after birth. It is also though that the genes a child inherits from their parents have an important role in determining whether they will have autism. However, the exact cause is unknown and it's probably due to a combination of different factors. There is a lot of ongoing research looking into the causes of ASD.
Autism and MMR
There have been media reports about a possible link between autism and the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine. However, this is an unproven link and there is no scientific evidence to support it. There is plenty of evidence to support the safety of the MMR vaccine.
Autism is usually diagnosed in childhood, when a parent raises a concern about their child with their GP or health visitor. A developmental paediatrician - a doctor specialising in child development - can usually diagnose autism in children between the ages of two and three.
A milder form of ASD, such as Asperger's syndrome, is often not noticed until the child starts school because many aspects of their development are normal. At school their poor social skills are more noticeable and they may show challenging behaviour.
There is no medical test (eg blood test or brain scan) for ASDs. However tests may be carried out to exclude other conditions (eg hearing problems). The diagnosis is then based on observing the communication, behaviour and development of the child. Professionals will involve you in the assessment to find out about your child's development.
If autism is suspected, the child may be assessed at a child development centre to identify his or her specific needs. The child may see a range of professionals including a consultant developmental paediatrician, a child psychiatrist (doctor specialising in children's mental health), speech therapist, occupational therapist, psychologist, and an educational expert such as a specialist teacher or educational psychologist.
Each child should have an appointed key worker, such as a health visitor or school nurse, who knows about the assessment process and acts as a single point of contact.
Therapies and interventions
There are no known cures for autism, but children can be helped in many ways. Interventions for ASD include special education, behavioural training, social skills training and, in some cases, medicines.
All children with an ASD need some special educational support. This may be in a special school, or depending on the child's needs, he or she may go to a mainstream school with extra individual help. In general, autistic children do better if classroom activities are very structured.
One therapy may work for one child but not for another, as all children have different levels of needs and abilities.
These may be provided by a clinical psychologist or trained therapist and can help a family cope with any behavioural problems associated with autism. This generally involves rewarding good behaviour with praise but having a consistent and structured way of dealing with challenging or harmful behaviour. Similar methods may be used at school where the child can be taught improved ways to express themselves.
Sometimes medication is used to reduce specific symptoms. For example, some medicines can be used in the short term to help relieve agitation, obsessional or hyperactive behaviour. However, these can have side-effects if used for a long time. For example, drugs to reduce hyperactivity can increase repetitive and obsessional behaviour. Medication should always be used together with behavioural therapies.
There are various approaches available to help with communication and learning; these include the following.
Intensive pre-school training. A type of therapy called applied behaviour analysis (eg Lovaas therapy). This is a home-based one to one therapy delivered by professionals (eg psychologists) and parents, who have been trained in the method. It involves a system of rewards for acceptable behaviours. This is an intensive therapy with 35 to 40 hours per week of structured contact with the child. A system based on using picture symbols (eg Picture Exchange Communication System, or PECS for short). Although many parents find these approaches very helpful, and many experts believe offering early therapy for a child with autism is beneficial, there is only limited formal evidence (from research studies) that they are effective. Also, they may not be available where you live.
Help and support
Parents and carers need information, help and support. This should be provided by the health professionals involved in your child's care, but further advice is available from charities such as the National Autistic Society (see Further information).
Respite breaks give you a chance to rest while somebody else looks after your child. They may be provided by social services. Some families are also entitled to benefits such as disability living allowance to help cover the extra expenses involved in caring for their child.
The National Autistic Society
0845 070 4004
www.autism.org.uk Contact a family
0808 808 3555
Summary: Thanks for reading :-)