Autism is now seen to be a Spectrum Disorder (ie it can present in many different ways). Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is defined as a developmental disorder characterized by abnormalities in social functioning, language and/or communication, unusual behaviors and interests. As a spectrum disorder symptoms and characteristics are expressed in many different combinations and in any degree of severity.

 

Social Impairments

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Children with ASD experience profound difficulties in relating to other people, even when they have average or above average intelligence. From a young age, they show deficits in many skills that are crucial for early social development, such as imitating, orientating to social stimuli, sharing a focus of attention with others, understanding the emotions of others and engaging in make-believe play.

 

Communication Impairments

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Children with ASD often display serious abnormalities in language and communication that appear in early childhood and persist. In terms of abnormalities in language, as many as one-half of all children with autism do not develop useful language, including some children who begin to speak and then regress in their speech development, usually between 12 and 30 months. In terms of abnormalities in communication, children with autism tend to rely on primitive forms of communication, such as pulling their mother’s hand in a desired direction to bring them an orange or to open a box . One of most obvious abnormalities in communication is their lack of social conversation – failure to use language for social interaction. Parents and teachers of children with autism describe their communication as nonsensical, silly, incoherent, irrelevant and having little meaningful connection with the situation in which they occur.

 

Repetitive Behavior and Obsessional Interest

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Children with autism often display narrow patterns of interests that include repetitive behaviors or stereotyped body movements. They seem driven to engage in, and maintain, these behaviors. Some examples of stereotyped movements include rocking and flapping of arms. In addition, children with autism also show self stimulatory behaviors. Some examples include staring at lights, rocking, or smelling objects. Repetitive play, rituals and narrow interests, often to level of obsession are also common.

ISADD provides home based early behavioural intervention covering all aspects of development, support for school aged children, and habilitation training for adolescents and young adults who have been diagnosed with Autism or ASD