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Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorder


									Autism Spectrum Disorder

                 What is it?
           How does it affect

                           Presented by:

                                Peggy Bartman,
                        Occupational Therapist
                Autism Society of the Fox Valley
What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

• Life-long neurological developmental
• The medical spectrum of autism
   – Autistic Disorder
   – Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not
     Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS)
   – Asperger’s Syndrome
          The Spectrum of Autism


    No verbal               Exceptional
    language                vocabulary
Delays in                   Exceptional
Gross and fine              Artistic or physical skills
Motor skills

    Social                   Active, odd
    Isolation                Behaviors
        What Causes ASD?
• Neurological disorder, generally thought to
  be present from birth.
• Affects the way the brain processes and
  uses information.

• Researchers have determined that genetic
  factors, possibly in combination with
  environmental factors, contribute to
  causation of ASD.
    Miscellaneous Statistics

• Occurs in at least 1 in 110 births (Autism
  Society of America 2010)
• 4 of every 5 people with Autistic Disorder are
• 10 of every 11 people with Asperger
  Syndrome are male
• Fastest growing developmental disability
  ASD Ice Berg

                           Behaviors of ASD
Water line

                  Features/Characteristics of ASD

             Learning/thinking/processing differences

                        Social differences

                 Communication differences

                 Sensory Processing differences

                 Restricted/repetitive patterns         Adapted from Susan Boswell

                 of behaviors, actions or interests
                                                        Division TEACCH, 2000
   Features & Characteristics of
    Autism Spectrum Disorder

• Learning / thinking / processing differences
• Restricted, repetitive, perseverative patterns
  of behavior, thoughts & interests
• Inflexible thinking
• Sensory processing differences
• Communication differences
• Social relation differences
       Learning / Thinking / Processing
1. Strengths in processing information visually versus
   weakness in processing information auditorily
Learning, Thinking and Processing
•   Attending Differences
•   Organization and Sequencing
•   Concrete and Literal
•   Difficulty with Generalizing
•   Possibility of:
    – Exceptional rote memory skills
    – Specific skills that far exceed skills in other
Restrictive / Repetitive
  Patterns of Behavior

• Can present as all-consuming
  interests in topics, themes or
• Strict adherence to rituals or
• Stereotyped motor patterns
    Inflexible Thinking

• Insistence on sameness
• Difficulty with change
• Strict adherence to rules
• Need for closure or
• Perfectionistic, or fear of
   Sensory Processing Disorder

• Misinterpretation of everyday sensory
  information. The brain processes
  sensations inefficiently
  The outward manifestations of sensory
problems are often seen in noncompliance
and/or rages/meltdown behaviors that are
    out of proportion to the situation or
What is communication?
purposeful, intentional behavior
verbal or nonverbal
used to exchange information within a social
  Communication Differences

• May exhibit echolalia or perseverative speech
• Challenges engaging in appropriate
  conversational skills
• Difficulty recognizing and interpreting non-verbal
  social communication behavior
   – Limited or fleeting eye contact (on own terms)
• Language comprehension and auditory
  processing difficulties
   Social Relation Differences
• Social Awareness
• Social Understanding
       Social Understanding
    taking another person’s perspective

• The ability to put ourselves in someone
  else’s shoes and look at the world through
  their eyes
• The ability to understand that other people
  have thoughts, ideas, interests, feelings
  and beliefs different from our own
• The ability to think about what other people
  are thinking
   Social Understanding Difficulties
           Can Look Like:

• Problems functioning in cooperative learning
• Interrupting others with own ideas or issues
• Difficulty participating in competitive activities
• Poor awareness of “hidden rules” or social
  codes of conduct
• Lack of intuitive desire to learn about others
• As a result of neurological problems in:
  –   Processing information
  –   Sensory processing
  –   Social interactions
  –   Communication
  –   Rigid, inflexible thinking

       People on the autism spectrum experience
                     almost constant
                 FEAR and ANXIETY!
Challenging behaviors are most
often the result of increased fear
           and anxiety!
       How can we help?

– Provide structured activities
– Provide quiet atmosphere
– Provide a VISUAL SCHEDULE so that child
  can see what is going to happen
– Provide a place where families know they can
  take their child without fear of them being
  “spotted out” or have negative judgments
  made about their parenting skills

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