Published on: 04 Jun 2022
Is your child quirky? Do they have sensory issues, find it hard to relate to people? Do they have stellar focus and concentration? Are they genius in certain areas?
Is your child Autistic?
The World Health Ortganisation estimates that 1 in every 100 children has autism.
So what is Autism?
Autism – also referred to as autism spectrum disorder ? constitutes a diverse group of conditions related to development of the brain. Characteristics may be detected in early childhood, but autism is often not diagnosed until much later. The abilities and needs of autistic people vary and can evolve over time. While some people with autism can live independently, others have severe disabilities requiring life-long support while many thrive and excel - The WHO 2022
Is this a bad thing?
Not always! Recent research has shown people with autism often outperform others in auditory and visual tasks, and also do better on non-verbal tests of intelligence. In one study by Mottron, on a test that involved completing a visual pattern, people with autism finished 40 percent faster than those without the condition.
How does Autism affect learning?
Autism presents in a very broad spectrum with symptoms varying greatly from child to child. Some children with Autism can read exceptionally early- like reading fluently at as early as 2 years, I once had a girl who came to FS1 (barely 3 years old) who was reading in 2 languages fluently with comprehension- she blew my mind!
Some children with ASD find it difficult to engage with content outside of their interests, they’re the kids who can tell you the 47 names of the moons on Titan but can’t tell you how to do simple multiplication.
Sensory issues can also affect a child with ASD when they are learning and this has to be managed really intricately to ensure you know their unique needs to help them access their learning.
Overall there is no “one size fits all” with Autism!
How does Autism affect emotional wellbeing?
Autism is often mistaken or undiagnosed. If undiagnosed it can result in others misinterpreting the symptoms. People with Autism are 4 times more likely to suffer depressive thoughts according to Spectrum News .
What tools support Autism?
Every child who has Autism is different and unique- this is the nature of the condition; here are some general tools that support different aspects of ASD.
1. Heavy work activities that give any extra input to the joints or muscles - wearing a weighted vest, carrying heavy things, pushing a heavy box etc.
2. Ear Defenders; these can block out uncomfortable or distracting noises.
3. Fidget tools, used properly as advised by Performance Health, can help sensory seeking children to find the input they yearn.
4. Visual Timetable like this one can help children cope with transitions, sequence their day and prepare for upcoming lessons or events.
What methods can support Autism?
1. Set the bar high! Challenge them academically- don’t change your content, change the way they can access it!
2. Use visual supports, fidget toys and incorporate frequent movement activities into learning.
3. Celebrate! Celebrate the benefits and many advantages of being autistic.
This post is a brief overview of autism and how it can affect people. It doesn't just look at the challenges caused by autism - we look at the many advantages of autism. If you know or have experienced autism leave a comment or ask a question. If you want to learn more about autism and how to support it check out our Course on Autism. Most importantly - let’s celebrate difference!