Autism is a complex developmental disorder that affects around one in 54 children. The disorder is well documented in fictional films and TV shows, but despite this, it is widely misunderstood by both adults and children.
Do you want to have a better understanding of autism? If so, here are six important things to know about autism.
Autism Isn’t Always Clear During Infancy
Clear indicators of autism are not always obvious during infancy. Instead, they tend to emerge (normally gradually) between the ages of one and five, and they tend to become more obvious over the next few years. Being aware of the signs of autism can make it easier to get an early diagnosis, which can make treatment easier – but every child is different, and some present signs of autism in late childhood.
Children With Autism Don’t Always Have The Same Development Patterns
It is important to be aware that children with autism don’t always follow the same developmental patterns. There are lots of different patterns for children with autism; some children display symptoms within the first year of their life (due to missing important developmental milestones), while other children seem to develop normally and then later ‘regress’ and lose the skills.
Children With Autism Face Hidden Challenges
There are lots of high IQ children with autism who don’t seem to struggle in life, but they still face hidden challenges that you may not understand. For instance, they may be able to speak, but they may struggle with confusing language (such as fictional stories, metaphors, puns, or humour). This means they may not understand the story being told, or it may take them longer to process written language.
Technology Can Help
There are lots of technological aids for non-verbal autistic children, and they can be very useful. For instance, you can use an augmentative, alternative communication system (which is also known as an AAC system) to communicate, which can be provided on an iPad. It is also possible to enroll autistic children in specialist curriculum classes that provide their own AAC systems. This can be very useful for developmental progress, especially if your child is struggling with communicating.
Children With Autism Process Information Differently
Children with autism tend to process sensory information in a unique way. They could be overly sensitive to tastes, sounds, sights, and touch, and this could affect their readiness to eat specific foods, wear certain fabrics or listen to specific sounds (such as the humming sound made by industrial lights). It is very important to be sensitive to these issues, as they can be very distressing or upsetting for the child.
Children With Autism Experience Anxiety
Finally, it is important to be aware that children with autism experience anxiety, even if they don’t seem outwardly worried or concerned. This is normally because children with autism will express their emotions in their own, unique way; maybe they will pick up a repetitive action (such as tapping or nail-biting), or they may simply seem upset. If you think your child is anxious, you can speak to their doctor to find out if there is an intervention that could help.