Treatment Of Autistic Spectrum Disorder
While there isnt a cure for autism spectrum disorder , there are ways to manage the symptoms and behaviours it leads to. What works best for you or your child will depend on how theyre affected by ASD and the impact it has on day-to-day life.
Youll usually be supported by a team of specialists in your local area. This support will usually involve the whole family, including any brothers and sisters. If youre a partner of someone with ASD or if youre caring for an adult with it, you should be offered support too.
If your child has ASD, you may be offered the following:
As your child matures and becomes an adult, they may be offered:
- a course to help with social skills either alone or in a group with other people with ASD
- training programmes to help with life skills these might be based around leisure activities
- help to manage anger if this is an issue this might include relaxation activities and developing problem-solving or coping skills
- help to get a job
Talk to your ASD team for more information about the different approaches to managing ASD. You can also find out more from The National Autistic Society . For contact details, see our section: Other helpful websites below.
Advice On Managing Behaviour In Autism For Adolescents
If you think that your teenager may be autistic, or you have an autistic child and want to know what to expect when they become a young adult, we have outlined the symptoms that can appear as an autistic child becomes an adolescent.
You will also find the steps to take if you believe that your teenager is autistic, and the strategies that can help you to manage particular behaviours.
What Is Childhood Disintegrative Disorder
CCD, also referred to Regressive autism, Hellers syndrome or disintegrative psychosis, is a rare condition with only 1.7 out of 100,000 cases affected. It is a severe or sudden reversal in language, social function and motor skills. Children between the ages of 2 to 10, who had shown healthy development lose skills such as self-care, receptive and expressive language skills, play skills, motor skills and control over their bowel and bladder. This condition also shows repetitive behaviour and interest patterns.
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What An Autism Diagnosis Means For Older Children And Teenagers
You might wonder whether getting and having an autism diagnosis in later childhood or adolescence will make a difference to your child.
The diagnosis itself wont change your child, or the way that you think or feel about your child. But it might help you and your child understand your childs strengths and difficulties.
A diagnosis describes your childs strengths, abilities, difficulties and needs. And it can help to guide therapies and support for your child and help with getting services and funding to support your childs development for example, extra help at school.
Diagnosis Of Autism Spectrum Disorder
Autism spectrum disorder can be diagnosed at any age. But parents often notice unusual behaviour before their children are 18 months old. Or their nursery or a teacher at school may notice some behaviours. One potential sign is if a child develops language or social skills, and then seems to lose them or goes backwards in their development. ASD is diagnosed after an assessment by a specialist team, which could include doctors, psychologists and other health professionals. If you think your child might be showing signs of ASD, see your GP or health visitor. Keep a diary for a few days to gather information about any behaviour youre concerned about.
After a GP or health visitor referral, you may have to wait up to three months for the assessment. In the meantime, you can ask your health visitor or school to arrange other support that may be helpful. As part of the assessment or test, the ASD team may:
- talk to you about any family history of ASD and your behaviour and development
- do a physical examination
- test for other health conditions
- look at reports from your childs school or nursery or visit to watch your child at the nursery or at home
You might be told the result of the assessment straightaway and youll also get a written report. If the assessment finds a condition that overlaps with ASD, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder , that may also be in the report.
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Who Does Autism Affect
Autism affects all aspects of society, but it is thought approximately three times as many men as women receive an autism diagnosis.2
Until the early 1990s, the prevalence of autism and Aspergers was uniformly low and in the region of 34 per 10,000. Since that time, the rate has been increasing, such that the most recent estimates are between 1 in 883 and 1 in 100 children. This increase in rate is probably due to:
- Changing diagnostic criteria
- A broadening of the autism concept
- Improved services
- Increased awareness of the condition
Studies also show that an autism diagnosis is about three times more common for boys than girls. An estimated 1 out of 48 boys and 1 in 252 girls are diagnosed with autism in the United States.
Diagnosing autism in women can be more challenging it is thought that women are better able to mask some of the social interaction problems often experienced with autism, and hence slip under the radar at school or later on in life.
Approximately half of all autistic people will also have other mental health conditions such as , or , or a learning disability. Getting a diagnosis may seem scary, but it can really help people understand their symptoms and improve their quality of life.
3 Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network
Solihull Adults Support Group
The Solihull Autism Support Group meets one evening a month at a community room at Solihull Methodist Church. The group can support up to 15 people with autism and is run by Autism West Midlands.
The group supports people over 18 with Autism and Asperger Syndrome to meet others with the same disability, share experiences and issues and realise they are not alone. The support groups also provide advice and coping strategies for these issues to help them develop. Social contact is also a key element of the support group and members meet for a drink after the meeting.
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How Asperger Syndrome Is Diagnosed
The characteristics of Asperger syndrome vary from one person to another, although there are some key traits that autistic people share. These are:
- persistent difficulties with or differences in social communication and social interaction
- restricted and repetitive patterns of behaviours, activities or interests since early childhood, to the extent that these impact negatively on day to day life.
The diagnosis process usually involves a multi-disciplinary diagnostic team – often including a speech and language therapist, paediatrician, psychiatrist and/or psychologist.Because Asperger syndrome varies widely from person to person, making a diagnosis can be difficult. It is often diagnosed later in children than autism and sometimes symptoms may not be recognised and diagnosed until adulthood.
When Things Become Too Difficult
Solihull Council may assess someone diagnosed with autism where they appear to have care and support needs. Help may be available for you and your carer to enable you to continue living in the community.
If you are finding it very difficult to live safely at home and are concerned, you can contact the Solihull adult social care team to request an assessment.
A qualified worker will work with you, and your carer or representative if you would like, to discuss your needs and identify how to help.
The assessment will take place in your own home or wherever is most convenient for you. You can also complete an online assessment or visit your local information and advice hub for support to complete your assessment.
The assessment process will look at what support you need to let you live your life in the best way possible. It will also discuss your care and support needs and understand how you can maintain and improve your personal wellbeing.
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What Are The Main Symptoms Of Asc
The Triad of Impairments
Traditionally, Autism has been seen in terms of the Triad of Impairment, which refers to a division of the features of ASC into difficulties with: social communication social interaction and social imagination, which includes restricted or repetitive interests. Examples of these are:
Social Communication and Understanding difficulties may include:
- Using and understanding facial expressions, tone of voice and abstract language
- Taking turns in a conversation perhaps only wanting to talk about their own interests
Social Interaction and Cues difficulties may include:
- Recognising or understanding other peoples emotions and feelings
- Expressing their own feelings
- All of these make it more difficult to fit in socially.
Social Imagination difficulties may include:
- Understanding and predicting other peoples behaviour or feelings
- Making sense of abstract ideas
- Imagining situations outside their immediate daily routine
- Avoidance of change where possible changes in routine may be anxiety-provoking, leading to anxiety-reducing activities
- Adherence to rituals or routines
- Unusual specific interests which may amount to obsessions.
Other related features can include:
- Sensory sensitivities of various sorts, such as a dislike of loud noises, certain foods, or labels on clothing.
A Later Diagnosis: When Autism Is Diagnosed In Teens
While Autism is considered a developmental disorder and is often diagnosed in early childhood, some signs of autism become more noticeable in adolescence. When autism is diagnosed in teens, they may struggle more to accept their diagnosis as they havent had years of support to understand what it means. During adolescence, social and behavioral differences can become more obvious as teens respond to the social and educational challenges of school and friendships. As signs of autism fall along a spectrum, timing of diagnosis does not indicate level of functioning. For many, receiving a diagnosis helps them understand why they have felt different from others or struggled with other mental health issues like depression or anxiety.
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What To Expect During An Autism Assessment
This short film from Berkshire Healthcare shows you an example of what an autism assessment might be like. There will be some differences in how the assessment will take place in Greater Glasgow & Clyde. For example, in this video the assessment and discussion all take place within the same day. This may happen or the assessment may be completed in separate appointments.
How Common Is Asperger Syndrome
Autism, including Asperger syndrome, is much more common than most people think. There are around 700,000 autistic people in the UK that’s more than 1 in 100. People with Asperger syndrome come from all nationalities and cultural, religious and social backgrounds. Historically, more men have been diagnosed as autistic than women, although this is beginning to change.
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What Are Some Common Indicators Of Autism
Every Autistic person is different, just like every individual is different. There isnt one set of behaviours that define Autism. Similarly, just because someone has one or two traits that are comparable to Autism, this doesnt mean that they are autistic.
Some common indicators of autism might include:
- Social Communication difficulties with reading others. For example, understanding facial expressions, understanding jokes or sentences with underlying meanings such as sarcasm.
- Social Interaction – may not be aware of social expectations such as being in someone elses personal space, may appear to be rude or insensitive, may find it hard to form and maintain friendships.
- Routines and repetitive behaviours often autistic people prefer a routine and can be distressed if this is altered without warning.
- Sensory may experience over or under sensitivity to sounds, touch, tastes, smells, light, colours, temperatures or pain. Autistic people may find certain background sounds unbearably loud or distracting , they may dress inappropriately for cold weather . Some sensory experiences can cause anxiety or even physical pain to the individual..
Getting An Adult Autism Diagnosis In The Uk My Experience
I first began to suspect I might be autistic about a year after my son was diagnosed. I have always had a tendency to obsess and hyperfocus on topics that catch my interest. Learning about autism, and adult autism diagnosis, was no exception. As a result, I read everything I could around the subject. And, as I read, I recognised myself.
At first, when I noticed these traits, I dismissed them. I had no language or communication issues and so I thought there was no way I could be autistic. Throughout my life, I have experienced certain problems, most significantly related to anxiety, burnout and difficulty maintaining interpersonal relationships. But I had ALWAYS put these struggles down to weakness, or perhaps mental illness alone.
Then, I started to read and learn about women on the spectrum. Channel 4 was researching for a documentary and wanted people to take an online test that asked How autistic are you? On a whim, I took the test.
I thought the test would show that I was very borderline either just into the autistic bracket or just outside it.
But I wasnt. I was significantly into the autistic bracket. There was much more to autism, and especially autism in females, than I had been led to believe. It is perfectly possible for a person to speak eloquently and be adept with language and still be autistic.
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Is A Diagnosis Helpful
Unfortunately, there is no medication recommended for the core symptoms of ASC.
Some patients feel having a formal diagnosis is unhelpful as nothing can be done to help with their condition. This isnt completely true. A diagnosis can be very helpful to underpin an assessment of likely support needs, particularly as the extent of these needs may be partially hidden by normal I.Q. and language skills. Knowing that a person has a diagnosis of ASC can be important at work, in relationships, and in family settings. Many people, on receiving a diagnosis of ASC in late adolescence or adulthood, report that a diagnosis has helped them make sense of difficulties experienced in their lives to date, for example with forming social relationships, or managing jobs that require empathy.
A diagnostic label can also prevent people with ASC being misdiagnosed with a mental illness such as Schizophrenia or Personality Disorder, or becoming victim to the criminal justice system. For instance, a diagnosis might lead to a caution rather than a conviction. These sorts of scenarios can have severe impacts on peoples lives, including, for instance, inappropriate use of medication, or difficulties with employment.
What To Do While Waiting For An Autism Assessment
This Purple Ella video gives advice, from her experience, on what you can be doing while waiting for an autism assessment. Be aware that it talks about the English education system which is different to the Scottish system.
In Scotland, children and young people do not need a formal diagnosis of a particular condition to be entitled to additional support for learning. The Education Act 2004, usually referred to as the ASL Act, gives children and young people who need extra help at school or nursery the right to get the support they need. The ASL Act does not say how much or what type of support each child should get support must be based on their individual needs. If you think your child may need extra help or if you have any queries about your childs progress, the first thing to do is to ask to talk to the head of your childs school or nursery.
Further information about education in Scotland can be found below.
Equipment And Assistive Technology
You can visit The Better Living Centre to find out about the help that is available for you and the person you care for to live a happy, healthy, safe and independent life in your own home.
Quite often, all it takes for someone to live comfortably, independently and safely in their home is a few items of simple equipment or technology.
The Better Living Centre can help you find the best gadgets, trained staff can show you the equipment in action and you can try before you buy in the demonstration house.
Why Get An Official Diagnosis
There are many benefits to getting an official diagnosis, which many people dont realize.
With adults, an official diagnosis is essential if you intend to claim benefits. Supplemental social security income or disability insurance both require an official diagnosis. Here are some tips for people in the UK on how to go about claiming disability allowance
As well as benefits, adults with Autism are also entitled to disability rights. This enable them the right to disclose and request accommodations at their place of work.
For toddlers and children, the earlier they are diagnosed the sooner services can be provided. Occupational Therapy and Applied Behavioral Analysis are just some of the many useful resources out there for kids that can help them.
Also, you can call your insurance provider under behavioral health needs.
In the UK
You can check out this link to find a Neuropsychologist or psychiatrist in your area
Getting a free diagnosis
We have observed from feedback from people who taken the AQ Test that GPs are not always willing to provide a free diagnosis. We wanted to offer a few alternatives that you may find helpful.
If you have already taken the AQ test on our website, you may want to check out a number of similar free online tests:
Broad Autism Phenotype Test This test will measure the mild autistic traits that are present in the person taking the test
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