Autism Awareness

May 5, 2016 10:10 am Published by

Autism Awareness Day was just over a month ago now so I thought I would continue the awareness of the condition by focusing this weeks blog on what Autism is and who it affects.

In the UK it is thought that roughly 700,000 people are on the autistic spectrum. If you then include family members this makes a total of around 2.8 million people who are touched by autism every single day.

It is estimated that 1 in every 100 children will have autism of some degree and although most people have heard of Autism few really understand what Autism is and how is affects those who have it.

Through my registration and training as Paediatric Nurse I completed a placement with The Child and Adolescent Mental Health Team which gave me further insight into Autism and the Autistic Spectrum.

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So What is Autism?

Autism for a start does not just affect children; it is a lifelong developmental disability. It affects how a person can:

  • Communicate
  • Relate to others and
  • How they themselves experience the World.

It is probably the last point that is hard for many to understand and also it is because of how they experience the World that affects how they communicate and relate to people around them. This is because they hear, feel and see the World differently. Their senses may be over or under sensitive meaning they could experience sounds, touch, tastes, smells, and colours or light differently.

This short video clip tries to demonstrate what it can be like having heightened senses. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lr4_dOorquQ&feature=youtu.be

This short clip was made by The National Autistic Society and is called Too Much Information, which is their campaign to raise awareness and understanding of Autism.

It is easy to see from this video how Autistic people could say they find the World overwhelming and how they can suffer from anxiety.

autism

Examples of Autistic behaviour

Communication

  • Echoing words or phrases without context
  • Taking an adult to the biscuit tin instead of asking or pointing
  • Taking language to literally

 Social Interactions

  • Preference to play alone
  • Difficulty relating to other people
  • Not understanding others thoughts or emotions

 Repetitive Behaviours

  • Hand flapping
  • Toe walking
  • Spinning heels
  • Lining up cars

 Restrictive Behaviours

  • Eating only yellow food
  • Insisting on walking the same route
  • Only watching Thomas the Tank engine

Other Characteristics of Autism (Not all autistic people have these)

  • Exceptional attention to detail
  • Sensory differences
  • Trouble with co-ordination
  • Unusual eating behaviour
  • Additional learning disabilities
  • Unusual abilities eg in music or memory

 Who does Autism affect?

  • 1in 100 people with have autism
  • four times more boys will have it compared with girls
  • for a diagnosis of autism the signs must start before the age of three.

Diagnosis

If you decide to get your child diagnosed then CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service) is the NHS sector, which diagnoses and helps support families with autistic children. They carry out thorough observations and checks, which allow them to diagnose autism, or not. You can self refer to CAMHS so do not need to go through your GP first.

Getting children with autism diagnosed early is a positive thing. Many people feel there is a stigma to the diagnosis or label of autism but it allows for support and services to be put in place to ensure the individual needs of each child are met and that the family receive the support they need in order to understand autism and care for their child.

 

Further information or support on Autism can be found at:

www.autism.org.uk

www.autismuk.com

www.childautism.org.uk

 

 

 

 

 

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This post was written by Natalie Weller