Autism Awareness Month

April is National Autism Awareness Month. At BFDC, we aim to help educate our community about the very complex developmental disability that is Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).  Learn the facts, understand the symptoms, and find out how to help.    

“I am not my disorder. I am not ‘Autistic’ I have Autism.”

What Is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Autism is a developmental disability significantly affecting verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction, generally evident before age three, that adversely affects a child's educational performance.

Other characteristics often associated with Autism are engagement in repetitive activities and stereotyped movements, resistance to environmental change or change in daily routines, and unusual responses to sensory experiences.

Learn The Signs

Whilst no two individuals with ASD are the same, they may share some common characteristics. Does your child display any of the following? If so, speak to a doctor and arrange for an assessment.

Difficulty Socializing

  • Very little eye contact or does not respond to name being called.

  • Resistance to being held or touched.

  • Difficulty reading facial expressions and body language.

  • Prefers to be alone, aloft or overly friendly.

  • Difficulty maintaining friendships.

  • Finds it easier to socialize with people that are older or younger.

 

Nontraditional Language Development

  • Overly loud or soft when speaking.

  • Repeats words or phrases several times. Quotes movies or video games.

  • Often uses short, incomplete sentences.

  • Reverses pronouns or refers to self in third person.

  • May have a very high vocabulary or started reading at a young age.

  • Stopped talking for a period of time.

                                        

Behavioral Issues     

  • Obsessions with objects, ideas or desires.

  • Compulsive behavior patterns (i.e. flapping, spinning, rocking, humming, rubbing clothes).

  • Play is often repetitive or has lots of collections. Does not engage in pretend play.

  • Difficulty transitioning from one activity to another.

  • Difficulty paying attention or responding.

  • Fine motor skills are developmentally behind peers (hand writing, tying shoes, scissors)

                                

Emotions or Sensitivities

  • Sensitivity or lack of sensitivity to sounds, textures (touch), tastes, smells or light.

  • Laughs, cries or throws a tantrum for no apparent reason.

  • Resists change in the environment (people, places, objects).

  • An emotional incident can determine the mood for the day.

  • Tends to either tune out or break down when being reprimanded.

  • Calmed by external stimulation – soothing sound, brushing, rotating object, tight hugs.

Know the facts

  • 1% of the world population has autism spectrum disorder. (CDC, 2014)

  • Autism is the fastest-growing developmental disability. (CDC, 2008)

  • 35% of young adults (ages 19-23) with autism have not had a job or received postgraduate education after leaving high school. (Shattuck et al., 2012)

What can i do?

Early identification, followed by early intervention, can improve outcomes.

Programs are more effective when families, schools and other providers work together.

Speak to an expert

Our assessments will not only identify difficulties your child may have, but it will also address his or her strengths and how best to help your child at home and at school. Your report will consist of approximately 10 pages of data along with 10 pages of recommendations to help your child in his or her development. We will give you guidance in how to best support your child’s strengths and continue to work on new skills.

The Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) and the Autism Diagnostic Interview – Revised (ADI-R) are considering the standard in diagnostic assessments for spectrum disorders and have high diagnostic accuracy ratings. In addition, they help focus on the strengths as well as the concerns that a client may have with regard to socialization, communication and restrictive or repetitive stereotyped behaviors or interests.

Contact us to arrange a consultation or an assessment, and take the first steps in supporting your child.