Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how people perceive the world and interact with others.
Autism is a spectrum condition. All autistic people share certain difficulties, but being autistic will affect them in different ways.
How is it diagnosed?
There isn’t a medical test that can diagnose Autism. Instead specially trained physicians and psychologists administer Autism-specific behavioural evaluations.
Often parents are the first to notice that their child is showing unusual behaviours such as failing to make eye contact, not responding to his or her name or playing with toys in unusual or repetitive ways.
Diagnosis is often a daunting and very emotional time so getting help from family, friends and professionals is really important to help the process.
It's also important to remember that although there is no ‘cure' for Autism, getting a diagnosis can be the first step towards making sure your child will get the support they need to make the most out of life.
If you think your child has Autism, you should talk to your GP or health visitor about your concerns. You can also ask to be referred to other relevant healthcare professionals. This could be a psychologist or psychiatrist or, if your child is young, a pediatrician or Child Development Centre (CDC).
For more information on the signs of Autism, please click here
What causes Autism?
The causes of Autism are still being investigated. According to the National Autistic Society (NAS) there is strong evidence to suggest Autism can be caused by a variety of environmental or neurological factors, all of which affect brain development. There is also evidence to suggest genetic factors are responsible for some forms of Autism.
What we do know is Autism is not caused by a person's upbringing and is not the fault of those with the condition.
There is no cure for Autism. But there are numerous interventions (learning and development techniques) that can help.
What can you do to help?
The more you know about Autism spectrum disorders the better equipped you’ll be to make informed decisions for your child.
Educate yourself about the treatment options, ask questions and participate in all treatment decisions.
Figure out what triggers your child’s “bad” or disruptive behaviours and what elicits a positive response. What does your autistic child find stressful? calming? uncomfortable? enjoyable? If you understand what affects your child, you’ll be better at troubleshooting problems and preventing situations that cause difficulties.
Accept your child, quirks and all. Rather than focusing on how your autistic child is different from other children and what he or she is “missing”, practice acceptance. Enjoy your child’s special quirks, celebrate small successes, and stop comparing your child to others. Feeling unconditionally loved and accepted will help your child more than anything else.
What can The Sensory Child do to help?
Our goal is to support educators, professionals, families and carers by providing affordable sensory products and weekly informational blogs, within an online community.
The world can seem an unpredictable and confusing place to children with autism, which is why they often feel more comfortable with a fixed daily routine, so they know what's going to happen each day.
Use our routines sets with your child for getting up and getting ready in the morning and for settling down for bedtime. We can also make made to order items, which can include therapy, school and medication.
Try to keep disruptions to your child’s routine to a minimum. If there is an unavoidable schedule change, prepare your child for it in advance.
Key ways our routine sets may help:
they provide structure and routine
they encourage independence
they help to reduce anxiety
they improve people’s understanding
they offer people opportunities to interact with each other
We see and use visual prompts every day, for example road signs, maps, etc.
They help us to function, to understand the world around us and provide us with valuable information.
Many people with Autism are thought to be visual learners, so presenting information in a visual way can help to encourage and support communication, language development and ability to process information. It can also promote independence, build confidence and raise self-esteem.