Autism Spectrum Disorder - About

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Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with, and relates to, other people. It also affects how they make sense of the world around them.

Autism is a spectrum condition, which means that, while all people with autism share certain difficulties, their condition will affect them in different ways. Some people with autism are able to live relatively independent lives; others may or may not have accompanying learning disabilities and need a lifetime of specialist support.

Some of the signs of autism include:

• Often younger children focus differently on objects around them, for example rather than playing with a whole toy they play with just a small part of it, such as a wheel or button.
• Older children may be deeply fascinated by things that seem to have a pattern such as games, collectible cards, or a telephone book.
• Body rocking and repetitive movements with the hands are common
• A child with autism often needs a daily routine to feel safe, and gets upset by change - this can include changes in the environment around them, such as a door being left open or an object being moved from its usual place.

Interaction with others
• Communicating through body language is different for a child with autism. They often do not make eye contact, and their hand and facial expressions are limited. Likewise they do not read or understand the other persons body language in the same way, or at the same speed.
• They have difficulty in making friends, sharing in their interests or understanding another person’s feelings.
• With young people, they may not socialise as expected, even with simple greetings. They can often react inappropriately in some situations, may be being over friendly or aloof.

Verbal and nonverbal communication
• Children and young people with autism often never speak, or have difficulty with speech. A teenager may sound very monotonous.
• They often repeat phrases over and over.
• They have difficulty understanding nuances of a conversation, for example humour, sadness or figures of speech, and can react sometimes negatively.