This blog is intended to clarify the case studies about autism, the significance of this syndrome for parents of autistic and special children around the world, in various places that the human imagination could go.

terça-feira, 16 de agosto de 2011

The impact of autism

While many people with autism and their families will cope well with the additional challenges autism brings, the emotional impact of autism is often difficult and sometimes devastating for people with autism and the families of those affected.
In the case of people with, for example, Asperger Syndrome, levels of mental health problems and depression are high as individuals struggle to cope in everyday society. Whilst many people argue that people with autism should be regarded simply as different rather than 'disordered', there is no doubt of the very real distress that autism can cause.
People with autism and learning disabilities may have no speech and complex special needs and may need full-time care.
For the individual with autism, the world can be a confusing and lonely place, where everyone except them understands the rules of appropriate behaviour.
For the family of an autistic child life is often stressful. Parents and siblings usually have to cope with unyielding challenging behaviour and possibly sleep deprivation, as many children with autism do not sleep for long periods of time.
Because children and adults with autism find it difficult to manage in social situations, many families become isolated.
Added to this, is the difficult and lengthy processes to obtain from local authorities the special education to which children with autism are entitled.
Many parents with autistic children believe that they will be primary carer for life and are often very concerned about what will happen to their child when they die.
The stresses to family life can lead to relationship breakdowns, divorce and, in extreme circumstances, suicide.
Just under half of parents of children with autism experience mental distress.
Research by the National Autistic Society has found that
  • 90% of parents of children with Asperger Syndrome report their child has been a target of bullying in the past year
  • 20% children with autism have been excluded from school
  • 15% of adults with autism are in full time paid employment
  • 49% of adults with autism still live with their parents
Each year, autism costs families and public services some £28 billion in the UK. Of this:
  • £15 billion provides services for adults
  • £9.2 billion is the cost of lost employment
  • £2.7billion is the cost of supporting children with autism in their education
The remaining costs are the additional family expenses.
Of the medical conditions so far researched, autism appears to have the highest cost to the country.
The average additional lifetime costs for living support and education for someone with autism and learning disabilities is £4.7m.
The average lifetime costs for living support and education of someone with, for example, Asperger Syndrome is £2.9m.
Knapp report - click image to read - opens pdf

domingo, 14 de agosto de 2011

What is autism?

Autism is a condition which is usually diagnosed before a child is three. Autistic children have delayed speech or no speech at all, problems interacting socially, limited interests and odd or repetitive behaviors. Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder caused by abnormal brain development and functioning. Many children with autism also have an intellectual disability.
Finding the right treatment plan can be challenging because every child is unique and has different strengths and weaknesses. Often parents have their child tested for hearing problems because their child does not respond to conversation or commands. They may also show strange or difficult to manage behaviors. Early detection and getting the right educational, medical, behavioral, and supportive services can improve the functioning and long-term outlook of children with autism.

frequently asked questions
  1. What is autism?
  2. What are early signs of autism?
  3. What are some symptoms of autism that parents and caregivers can look for?
  4. What is the difference between autism and Asperger’s disorder?
  5. Are there treatments available for autism?
  6. Are there medication treatments for autism?
  7. Why do children with autism have difficulty learning in a regular classroom setting?
  8. What is the difference between autism and pervasive developmental disorder, not otherwise specified (PDD, NOS)?

The Child With Autism

No. 11; Updated May 2008

Most infants and young children are very social creatures who need and want contact with others to thrive and grow. They smile, cuddle, laugh, and respond eagerly to games like "peek-a-boo" or hide-and-seek. Occasionally, however, a child does not interact in this expected manner. Instead, the child seems to exist in his or her own world, a place characterized by repetitive routines, odd and peculiar behaviors, problems in communication, and a total lack of social awareness or interest in others. These are characteristics of a developmental disorder called autism.
Autism is usually identified by the time a child is 30 months old. It is often discovered when parents become concerned that their child may be deaf, is not yet talking, resists cuddling, and avoids interaction with others.
Some of the early signs and symptoms which suggest a young child may need further evaluation for autism include:
  • no smiling by six months of age
  • no back and forth sharing of sounds, smiles or facial expressions by nine months
  • no babbling, pointing, reaching or waving by 12 months
  • no single words by 16 months
  • no two word phrases by 24 months
  • regression in development
  • any loss of speech, babbling or social skills
A preschool age child with "classic" autism is generally withdrawn, aloof, and fails to respond to other people. Many of these children will not even make eye contact. They may also engage in odd or ritualistic behaviors like rocking, hand flapping, or an obsessive need to maintain order.
Many children with autism do not speak at all. Those who do may speak in rhyme, have echolalia (repeating a person's words like an echo), refer to themselves as a "he" or "she," or use peculiar language.
The severity of autism varies widely, from mild to severe. Some children are very bright and do well in school, although they have problems with school adjustment. They may be able to live independently when they grow up. Other children with autism function at a much lower level. Mental retardation is commonly associated with autism.
Occasionally, a child with autism may display an extraordinary talent in art, music, or another specific area.
The cause of autism remains unknown, although current theories indicate a problem with the function or structure of the central nervous system. What we do know, however, is that parents do not cause autism.
Children with autism need a comprehensive evaluation and specialized behavioral and educational programs. Some children with autism may also benefit from treatment with medication. Child and adolescent psychiatrists are trained to diagnose autism, and to help families design and implement an appropriate treatment plan. They can also help families cope with the stress which may be associated with having a child with autism.
Although there is no cure for autism, appropriate specialized treatment provided early in life can have a positive impact on the child's development and produce an overall reduction in disruptive behaviors and symptoms.
August - a new month in my life and my son.