Autism Spectrum Disorder, or ASD, refers to a condition where a person has difficulty making sense of and interacting with other people and the environment. These difficulties can be with verbal and non-verbal communication and initiating and maintaining social relationships. People with ASD also often display restricted and repetitive behaviours and interests. Additionally, they may experience learning delay, sleep disorders, poor motor coordination and difficulties in sensory processing.
No two individuals will experience ASD the same way - some will require ongoing support throughout their life, others will live completely independently.
Assessment and diagnosis of ASD should be a multidisciplinary process involving a speech pathologist, psychologist and a medical practitioner. The purpose of the assessment is to rule out other possible causes for observed behaviours, to consider the extent to which the person is presenting with characteristics of ASD, to highlight areas of strength and areas of difficulty, and to establish goals and priorities for intervention.
What causes ASD?
ASD is due to differences in brain functioning and development. Sometimes, these neurological differences are due to differences in genes while in others it may be a combination of genetic differences and environmental factors (eg higher parental age at time of conception). For some, the cause is unknown. However there has been extensive research, repeatedly showing that vaccines and parenting style do not cause ASD.
How does ASD affect communication?
The differences in communication that children with ASD experience are varied. For some children, they may not learn to speak without support. For others, they may meet all speech and language milestones during preschool but struggle when they start school and are met with higher demands on social communication such as initiating and maintaining conversations and interpreting non-verbal communication (body language).
How can Curious Kids help my child with ASD?
A speech pathologist can work with your child as well as their family, teachers and other health professionals in a multidisciplinary team. This ensures they are providing comprehensive, early intervention using evidence-based treatment approaches across all aspects of development.
Reference: Speech Pathology Australia Autism Factsheet