What is Autism or ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder)?
Autism is a developmental disorder that describes a diverse group of people who have difficulties with:
- social understanding and social interaction (for example, problems with: social communication and peer relationships, sharing pretend play and behaving to suit the situation)
- restricted repetitive interests, behaviours or activities (including obsessions that are unusual in their intensity or focus, repetitive language, play or movements, routine oriented and problems coping with change, being over or under sensitive to sensory input)
There are a broad range of presentations amongst autistic people, that is why autism is referred to as Autism Spectrum Disorder.
There is a broad range of language abilities and levels of intelligence amongst people with autism. Some people on the spectrum are very articulate, while others use very few meaningful spoken words. Some people are highly intelligent in some areas, such as with spelling, technology or mathematics, but need extra support in other areas, such as practical daily living skills or writing a story. Some people with autism find technology much easier to navigate and predict than social situations and people who can be unpredictable and ever-changing!
While being on the autism spectrum can be difficult for individuals and their families, there are also some positives! Autistic people often have a very good attention to detail, show great focus, can be great at living in the moment, show diligence and persistence in their interests, have a good memory for facts, visual thinkers: can be great with puzzles or drawing, are often very honest and logical, and can be independent, unique thinkers not influenced by social expectations or peer pressure.
If you have met one person with autism, you have met one person with autism. We love our jobs because we get to spend our days with extraordinary kids and their families.