Autistic Spectrum Disorders in infancy- some information for parents & others seeking to expand their knowledge
Always Unique Totally Interesting Somtimes Mysterious (AUTISM)
I’ve been thinking about how I can contribute to the Hub Community. I only joined yesterday, and I believe I have few interesting topics I can share with everyone. I have studied Psychology and whatever article I will write in the future, comes from either firsthand experience, or I’ve studied/read thoroughly about it.
I think nowadays there is more and more awareness about autism, but do you really know what it is and how it affects people? Below you may find some useful information, which I got from my own books and articles, and it’s written in simple and (hopefully) straight-forward language. I would also like to help out those parents who are stuck and are unsure about what to do next.
I hope you’ll find my hubs interesting!
What is Autism?
Autistic Spectrum disorders (ASD) are developmental disabilities that have an effect on the way the person will interact with his/her surroundings. It is good to note that children who have an ASD are affected in different ways and to different degrees from other children with an ASD.
Those at one end of the spectrum may have Kanner’s autism (locked up in their own world) and the higher-end of the spectrum includes those with Asperger’s Syndrome (may lead independent lives but may have some difficulties in social interaction). You can therefore see how autism may have effects on children who are of normal or high intelligence as well as children with severe learning disabilities.
Autism means “self” (autos in greek). Leo Kanner(1943) came up with 4 features characteristic of Autistic children:
· Autistic aloneness – the child ignores and shuts out anything that’s coming from the outside when possible.
· Desire for sameness- everything about the child’s behavior is repetitive; his noises, motions etc. S/he is unable to be spontaneous. They may impose routines on others, because routines are safe for them. They may become disruptive if something in their routine changes.
· Language problems- namely delayed language development.
· Islets of Ability- the children were able to show specific skills, for example, a really good memory.
What is most noted in autistic people is impairment in social interaction. For instance, a severely autistic child will not look at you, but rather, look through you, s/he cannot really interact with other people. They may be incapable of understanding others’ emotions and they may also find it difficult to understand their perspectives.
The main difficulties they may face are highlighted below:
Young children are usually able to communicate with other people, they know who to turn to for comfort, who to learn from, how to share pleasurable moments. Children with ASD may find it difficult to do the above. They seem unable to understand how to do these things. They may seem to accept approaches only from people they know well.
Since children with ASD may not seem interested in communicating with others and engaging in social interactions, they may find it difficult to develop linguistically. They also find it difficult to read non-verbal communication; facial expressions etc. Their speech may be disrupted, they may not use correct words, or when they do use them correctly, they may not understand their meanings, they may not be able to make eye contact when making conversation.
Children with ASD find it difficult to use imagination, they may develop it really slowly in early years or not develop it at all. They may not understand pretend-play, or when other children engage in it.
Message to parents-
It is very important to remember that having a child with ASD is not your fault, so if you are punishing yourself, stop doing so. Autism affects many people, of all cultures around the world.
There are also many families with autistic children, you could really benefit from their support and experiences, learn from each other. According to National Autistic Society, there are around 500,000 families in the UK with children who have ASD. If you would like some information about a local support group you could join, contact The National Autistic Society Helpline- firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information you can purchase several books which include ASD and other disorders, how to detect them during infancy etc
To those studying Psychology I recommend:
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