Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
All children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD)
have SLCN. This affects 1% of all children
(Baird et al, 2006)
(ASD) is an umbrella term often used to describe a number of
- Classic autism
- High functioning autism
- Asperger Syndrome
- Pathological Demand Avoidance
- Non-verbal learning difficulties.
The idea of a spectrum is useful because it supports the idea
that individuals with autism have a range of needs which require a
spectrum of intervention and provision.
Individuals with an ASD often have complex needs and there can
often be a co-existing difficulty present, this will clearly
influence that person's overall needs. Some of the common
co-existing conditions are: Learning
difficulty, ADHD, Epilepsy,
Dyspraxia, Dyslexia and Tourettes.
Many people with an ASD have written personal
accounts (Grandin, 1995; Jackson, 2002; Sainsbury, 2000). Two of
the outstanding messages are:
- That there are many strengths, or gifts,
associated with having an ASD, as well as difficulties
- That people with an ASD experience the world
and think differently from people of typical neurological
development. It is therefore helpful to think of the challenges and
difficulties that people with an ASD face in everyday life.
Triad of impairments
Individuals with an ASD demonstrate, to a greater of lesser
degree, difficulties in the development of three key areas:
- Communication: difficulties can range from no speech at all to
apparent fluent speech – although, when examined, this may be
repetitive or about their own special interest and not true
- Socialising: with initiating and maintaining appropriate social
relationships and understanding the rules of reciprocal social
- Flexibility of thought: with rigid and sometimes inflexible
thinking which may lead to a resistance to change, an insistence on
set routines and repetitive behaviours.
In addition, there may be sensory issues which can have a huge
impact on a person's ability to interface with any situation,
another individual or activity. When planning any programme it is
essential to assess and identify any specific sensory issues and to
adjust the environment and situations accordingly.
Meeting the needs of children with ASD
The needs of most pupils with an ASD can be met in mainstream
school. However, success is very dependent on a thorough assessment
of their functioning in their environment, an interpretation of
presenting behaviours with an autism focus and appropriate
evidence-based interventions being implemented. In addition, the
level of awareness and willingness of staff to adapt to the needs
of a pupil with an ASD is crucial to final success.
- To help exemplify what children on the
autistic spectrum experience, refer to the case studies in the
- For more information on Autism Spectrum
Disorder and support in Worcestershire, contact ISSS.
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Council and Worcestershire PCT 2011.
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This page was last reviewed 17 May 2013 at 13:41.
The page is next due for review 13 November 2014.