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AUTISTIC SPECTRUM DISORDER

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					AUTISTIC SPECTRUM DISORDER

Autistic Spectrum Disorder
IS NOT
• a result of parent rejection • a result of an emotional disorder • a mental illness • genius – some have special skills- most do not • curable

Autistic Spectrum Disorder
IS
• a development disorder • more common in males than females • A life long disability

• In order to be diagnosed with autism, a person has to have deficits in three distinct areas.

• When all three deficits are present, this is termed :The Triad of Autistic Impairment

Triad of Autistic Impairment

Impairment of social interaction

Impairment of language and communication

Impairment of flexibility of thought and behaviour

Autism Affects the Understanding of Common Phrases, Idioms or Metaphors
‘Has the cat got your tongue?’
Takes two seconds to say, but could cause a lifetime of fear. „Here’s your change’

I’m not going to change.

A diagnostic label of autism alerts us to the fact that a person has a different way of thinking and interacting with their environment. Not all the recognised features of autism sill be found in all people with ASD, but some of the following features will be present ….

Impairment of Communication
• • • • • • • • • No shared attention Inappropriate eye-contact Lack of communicative intent Echolalia – repeating words but not responding to their meaning Pronoun reversal Use of odd intonation and lack of understanding of the meaning that the intonation pattern conveys Restricted vocabulary e.g. collection of rhymes or jingles, text in a book or video Inappropriate communication to social content Literalism – taking words literally – no metaphorical interpretation

Other Features of Language Impairment in People with ASD
• • • • • • Problems with attention Poor auditory skills Difficulty with sequencing in all areas Lack of understanding, cause and effect Difficulty predicting outcomes Obsessional and stereotypical speech

Impairment of Social Interaction
• • • • a lack of attention to people treating people as inanimate objects not responding when addressed in a group needing personal space, but not understanding that others need personal space • little comprehension of emotions • inability to interact with others

Further Features of Social Impairment
• can make personal comments without understanding that this may cause offence • expects other people to know their thoughts and feeling • response to peer pressure can range from indifference to total over-reaction • expressions of emotion often inappropriately extreme

Impairment of flexibility of thought and behaviour - continued
• narrow interests or obsessions which the child may demand to repeat over and over again, however difficult or inconvenient to parents and tutors. • rigidity – difficulties with change/having to get to the end • unusual coping mechanisms to cope with anxiety e.g. obsessive drawing, flapping, making noises, repetitive questioning.

Impairment of Flexibility of Thought and Behaviour
• theory of mind- inability to see someone else’s point of view • central coherence – seeing the individual trees and not the whole forest • literalism • difficulty with generalisation • difficulty with problem-solving • difficulty in creating something entirely from their imagination

Skills Required For Learning Are Affected
Perception Inconsistent reaction to stimuli – responds to some things, not to others

Attention

Memory

Problem Solving

Selective attention to parts rather than the whole (central coherence) makes it difficult to focus on what is important Better visual than verbal memory – uneven ability, large quantities of information can often be stored, but not necessarily used. Stems from difficulty with making choices. Cannot apply learning to different situations

Other Features Associated with Autism
• motor stereotypes such as handflapping, flicking fingers in front of eyes, toe-walking • self-injurious behaviour • erratic patterns of eating or drinking – eating inappropriate substances. • epilepsy • hyperactivity

“The autistic child is unable to bring order to his world. You must provide that order to his environment. Autistics might march to a different beat, but that beat can be meaningful”. Uta Frith Explaining the Enigma - 1989


				
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