What is Autism?
Autism is a life long developmental spectrum condition that affects around 1.1% (statistics gathered from autism.org.uk) of the population. It is characterised by the following areas of difficulty:
- Difficulties in understanding verbal and non-verbal cues
- Difficulties in using or understanding facial expressions, tone of voice or sarcasm with a tendency to take things literally
- Difficulties with making or maintaining relationships due to a lack of understanding of people’s emotions and feelings, with a difficulty in understanding how to respond in a appropriate manner
- Unwritten social rules that might seem obvious but need to be explicitly explained for a person with autism
Repetitive behaviours and sensory sensitivities
This area is now receiving a lot more attention and research as it more evident that these sensory impairments can be very debilitating for a person with autism. It can be characterised by:
- A difficulty in sensory integration-linking information that comes in through different senses.
- Easily overloaded by sensory input and the need to self regulate
- Can be unusually over or under sensitive to different sounds, smells and touch
- Ritualised behaviours that they feel compelled to do without logical reason
People with autism also have many identified strengths:
- Amazing attention to detail and can focus on particular activities
- Great visual skills
- Specific skills related to their interests