what is ASD?
Autism & Aspergers Syndrome are on the Autistic
Spectrum, this is a developmental condition affecting the way the
brain processes information. It affects the way a person communicates
and relates to others.
Autistic Spectrum Disorder
Using the continuum model, Kanner's Autism is most often used to define individuals with more global intellectual impairment; however, as Kanner indicates there is often no immediate way to accurately assess the intellectual or cognitive functioning of someone with Kanner's Autism. Kanner's definition of Autism was first published in 1943 as:
People with Kanner's Autism can be described as being severely affected
by the Triad of Impairments, which can have a dramatic and detrimental
effect to their quality of life. See Triad of Impairments
for more information.
Individuals with average to high intellectual functioning, but demonstrating characteristic features of the Triad of Impairments, are on the Autistic Spectrum, but can be described as having Asperger's Syndrome or High Functioning Autism. Hans Asperger first published his definition of the Syndrome that bears his name, in 1945.
Hans Asperger identified:
People with Asperger's Syndrome or High Functioning Autism often have a very complex presentation: getting a diagnosis can have many positive outcomes.
People with Autistic Spectrum Disorders have difficulties in three main areas within their lives; this is referred to as the 'triad of impairments':
People with autism have difficulty understanding verbal & non verbal communication, they are unable to 'read' facial expression, gestures and social cues.
People with Aspergers Syndrome may have good expressive verbal communication but they may have difficulties in a two-way conversation, they may talk at you and have no interest in others opinions if they are not their own beliefs. They may talk obsessively on a topic of interest to them and be unable to draw the conversation to an end independently. Despite often having good expressive language skills people with Aspergers Syndrome can take the spoken word literally, this can lead to confusion and misunderstandings.
People with autism have difficulties forming relationships; they often appear aloof and indifferent to other people.
Many people with Aspergers Syndrome want to be sociable, but may lack the social skills to interact in a conventional way. They find it hard to understand non-verbal signals, including facial expressions, which make it difficult for them to form and maintain social relationships with people who are unaware of their needs.
People with autism have limited development of interpersonal play & imagination. This limited range of imaginative activities may be pursued rigidly and are often repetitive, i.e. lining up toys or repeatedly watching the same video.
People with Autistic Spectrum Disorders often develop obsessive interests, hobbies or collections, with encouragement these interests can be developed positively into areas of study or employment in their favourite subjects.
People with Aspergers Syndrome often excel at learning facts and figures, but find it hard to think in abstract ways.
People with Autistic spectrum disorders often find change
difficult to manage and even upsetting. They often prefer to order their
day according to a set pattern, which provides continuity and stability
for them. Any breaks in routine can cause immense anxiety and or panic
attacks where daily functioning becomes, at worst, impossible.