What are these difficulties characterised by?
Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how people communicate and interact.
Autistic people have difficulties with:
- communicating and interacting with other people
- restricted interests and repetitive behaviors
Autisic people may be under or over sensitive to certain textures, lights, noises, smells etc. This might mean that they avoid or have clear preferences for certain places/activities/foods.
Autism is a spectrum and impacts each individual in different ways. Every autistic person is different with different strengths and needs.
There is no cure for autism and it’s something you are born with, although it may not be picked up until a child is in pre-school, starts school or even later. It is not an illness, it just means your brain works differently to other people’s.
It is not yet known what causes autism. It can affect more than one person in the same family.
Boys are more likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls but recent research suggests that autistic girls present differently to autistic boys and this can mean they are often undiagnosed.
Autism is often also referred to as
- Autistic Spectrum Disorder (the medical term)
- Autistic Spectrum Condition (another term often used instead of Austitic Spectrum Disorder)
- Asperger’s or Asperger Syndrome – this diagnosis is not given anymore but was historically used to refer to autistic people without a learning disability
How does this impact the child?
Each autistic child is different and will have their own profile of strengths and needs.
Autistic children and young people may have difficulty with attention. They may have difficulty focusing and paying attention and moving between activities (particularly ones they really like).
Autistic children and young people also often have difficulties managing changes in routine particularly those that are unexpected.
Autistic children and young people will all have difficulty with social interaction. This may be shown as difficulties :
- Understanding and talking about their emotions
- Understanding and responding to how other people feel
- Having a conversation
- Understanding more abstract language such as ‘It’s raining cats and dogs’ or ‘I could eat a horse’
- Understanding how what they say/do might impact others
- Making and keeping friendships
- Playing with other children
Autistic children and young people have preferred interests such as favourite book/film or certain topics. This can impact their interactions with others as they will be overly focused on their preferred interests/topics of conversation.
Autistic children and young people may also have language difficulties (Language Disorder) which will impact their ability to understand and use spoken language.
These difficulties may impact on a child’s ability to engage in classroom learning, share their ideas and thoughts and make and keep friendships.
As children get older they may find it difficult to understand why they think and process the world differently to their friends.
How can ChatterBug support your child?
Every autistic child is different but we have a range of tools to support you and your child to achieve their full potential.
We use the SCERTS (Social Communication, Emotional Regulation and Transactional Supports) framework to set child-centered targets for your child. This framework allows us to identify and develop the strategies and supports that can help your child to achieve their goals through motivating activities.
At ChatterBug, our knowledgeable team use a range of approaches to develop bespoke intervention plans for your child. These approaches include (but are not limited to)
- Attention Autism: a structured programme to gradually develop shared attention starting with “the bucket” full of highly motivating toys.
- Intensive Interaction: an approach that supports early communication and interaction skills by responding to your child’s movements and sounds.
- Parent-Child Interaction Therapy: Our therapists will support you to adapt and develop the ways you interact with your child to support their communication skills.
- Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC): Our team is experienced in using a range of AAC systems in a Total Communication approach. They will discuss different AAC options to support your child’s communication. Examples of AAC include:
- PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System)
- Communication books
- High Tech Communication devices including iPad apps such as LAMP, Proloquo2Go or Snap Core
- Zones of Regulation: a visual approach to support understanding and awareness of emotional regulation (how we feel and strategies we can use to manage our emotions).
- Social Thinking: a range of resources to develop social awareness developed by Michelle Garcia-Winner.
- TEACCH strategies and approaches to develop independence, flexibility and engagement in activities.
- Language for Thinking and Language for Behaviour and Emotions: These programmes support understanding of more abstract language and the language related to emotions.
- Social skills training/support: Bespoke programmes to support your child’s awareness and understanding of social interactions.
We may also work with your and your child to help them understand what their autism diagnosis means for them.