Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental condition that impacts upon how people see the world and respond to it. As its name suggests, it is a ‘spectrum disorder’, and thus the severity of ASD can vary significantly across individuals. The term ‘ASD’ is relatively new incorporating both Asperger’s Syndrome and Autism, previously referred to as separate conditions, as both lying on the same spectrum.
It is estimated that approximately one in every one hundred children have ASD, and it is four times more common in males. It is a lifelong condition and such there is no ‘cure’. Many individuals with ASD will grow up to live independently and have successful jobs and families. For others, more specialist support may be required throughout their lives such as via supported living.
In the last 10-years, the number of people diagnosed with ASD has increased, possibly due to better awareness and identification of it. This is a positive step in the right direction, as when the right support is accessed at a younger age, further difficulties can be prevented such as poor mental health.
Common Features of Autism Spectrum Disorder
Social Communication difficulties including:
- poor eye contact
- delayed or absent language development (non-verbal), or advanced ‘adult’ language
- talking at as opposed to with others
- difficulty in matching facial expressions to emotion
Social Skills and Understanding difficulties including:
- feeling overwhelmed in social situations
- poor understanding of personal space – getting too close to others or disliking others in your personal space
- misunderstanding or not recognising other people’s feelings or difficulty in expressing your own feelings
- social isolation
Behaviour, Interests and Activities:
- rigid and repetitive behaviour
- difficulties managing change to strict routines or rule breaking
- special and at times obsessive interests in particular things ranging from trains to rocks to dinosaurs
- inflexible thinking patterns making it difficult to engage in creative or spontaneous activities such as imaginative play
- literal interpretations of phrases, making humour, sarcasm and use of metaphors difficult to understand
Support for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
ASD can be diagnosed at any age, and so if you suspect that you or your child have ASD we recommend that you seek support. It is important that it first be diagnosed via a specialist assessment, which we are able to organise here at The Fitzrovia Psychology Clinic. Next, whilst there is no ‘cure’ for ASD, support is available which will vary according to the person’s individual strengths, difficulties and needs. We will be able to guide you on this.
We’re here to help. If you would like to know more and arrange an assessment and support for ASD at the Fitzrovia Psychology Clinic, please contact us to arrange an assessment.