Autism – A Brief Description
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopment disorder where children and adults can have difficulties across a spectrum of developmental areas and can present with restricted or repetitive behaviours and interests. These difficulties arise in varying degrees and differ among individuals. Based on current statistics, the incidence of Autism in Australia is approximately 1 in 160, and according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the prevalence is higher in boys than in girls. Below is a description of experiences that a child with Autism may encounter.
What do Children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder Experience?
Children with Autism often have difficulties with listening and talking. Some children may have limited verbalisations, whilst other children can have high levels of language development but may struggle with the subtleties of body language. Therefore, children with ASD can have difficulty engaging in conversations and may not understand the more abstract aspects of language, such as jokes, riddles and sarcasm, which can impact on the child’s ability to socialise with peers.
Children on the Autism Spectrum can present with sensory imbalances, such as being easily irritated by labels in their clothes, or seeking or shying away from noise, light, touch or movement. Children may be under- or over-responsive. It is therefore important to have an understanding of each child’s individual sensory profile, as this helps to optimise therapy and enables greater progress for learning.
Restrictive and Repetitive Behaviours
Children with Autism are often seen to have behaviours that are different to that of their peers. Restrictive and repetitive behaviours, such as lining up toys and sorting items, opening and closing doors and preferring routines are often a way of communicating needs and coping with different situations in everyday life. Having an understanding of how a child behaves in different situations enables intervention goals to be tailored to the specific needs of that child and can significantly reduce frustration.
For children with Autism, social interactions can be challenging. Children can have difficulty understanding the different aspects involved when interacting with others, such as reading and interpreting facial expressions and body language. Understanding the needs of others can also be challenging, as children with Autism can lack ‘Theory of Mind’. These factors paired with communication difficulties can lead to children with Autism needing to learn how to interact with others. This is best achieved through group therapy.
HOW DOES SPEECH THERAPY HELP A CHILD WITH AUTISM? Speech therapy is a vitally important intervention service for children with Autism. Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder experience restrictions in their language, play and social development. At CommuniKIDS, we develop an individualised and result-focussed approach helping children reach their full potential.
We work closely with parents and professionals to improve the child’s communication, play and social skills. We offer social skills programs to allow children to practice important social interaction skills, such as taking turns, making friends and problem solving different scenarios in the setting of a small group. Our team has undergone extensive training and has years of experience working with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Please give us a call on (02) 8544 0500 if you have any concerns about your child’s overall development.