Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are lifelong developmental disabilities characterised by marked difficulties in social interaction, impaired communication, restricted interests and sensory sensitivities.
The causes of autism are not entirely understood although a genetic component is often a factor.
Research shows that about 1 in 100 children, almost 230 000 Australians, have an ASD and that it is more prevalent in boys than girls.
Autism is often seen in conjunction with other disabilities such as intellectual difficulties, speech and language problems and ADHD. Family histories, school observations and medical evaluations are usually considered by paediatricians in assessing autism.
The range and severity of the difficulties people with an ASD experience can vary widely. ASDs include autistic disorder, Asperger’s disorder and pervasive developmental disorder – not otherwise specified, which is also known as atypical autism. Sometimes the word “autism” is used to refer to all ASDs.
The three main areas of difficulty are:
Impairment in social interaction
Impairment in communication
Restricted and repetitive interests, activities and behaviours
The effects of an ASD can often be minimised by early diagnosis and with the right interventions.
Incorporated visuals, graphics and illustrations in written work?
Provided simple and explicit instructions?
Discussed successful strategies with the Learning Support Team?
Provided assistive technologies?
Developed a behaviour plan in consultation with the Learning Support Team?