Autism Spectrum Disorder
What is Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?
ASD is a condition which affects social interaction, communication, interests and behaviour. In children with ASD, the symptoms are present before three years of age, although a diagnosis can sometimes be made after the age of three. It’s estimated that approximately 1 in every 100 people in the UK have ASD, with the condition being more highly diagnosed in boys than girls. Several interventions are available to help children and parents with this condition, including speech and language therapy, occupational therapy and educational support (NHS Inform, 2019).
Signs and Symptoms of ASD
Signs of Autism in Young Children:
- Not responding to their name.
- Avoiding eye contact.
- Not smiling when you smile at them.
- Getting very upset if they do not like a certain taste, smell or sound.
- Repetitive movements (e.g. flapping their hands, flicking their fingers or rocking their body).
- Not talking as much as other children.
- Repeating the same phrases.
Signs of Autism in Older Children:
- Not seeming to understand what others are thinking or feeling.
- Finding it hard to say how they feel.
- Liking a strict daily routine and getting very upset if it changes.
- Having a keen interest in certain subjects of activities.
- Getting very upset if you ask them to do something.
- Finding it hard to make friends or preferring to be on their own.
- Taking things very literally (e.g. not understanding phrases such as “break a leg”).
Autism may present differently in boys and girls; autistic girls tend to be quieter, hide their feelings and cope better with social situations, which means it is harder to spot in girls (NHS, 2019).
The National Autistic Society was founded in 1962. Their goal is to help transform lives, change attitudes and create a society that works for autistic people.
The Autism Education Trust (AET) aims to improve the education of children and young people with autism.
Ambitious about Autism is the national charity for children and young people with autism. We provide services, raise awareness and understanding, and campaign for change. Through TreeHouse School and Ambitious College we offer specialist education and support.