Thursday, June 20, 2024

Is Autism A Mental Or Physical Disability

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The Difference between Autism & Mental Retardation

Early intervention and intensive therapy and education are crucial components for success in children with autism and mental retardation. With appropriate, individualized treatment plans in place at an early age, these children have a better chance of developing any lagging skills and catching up with their peers. Otsimo is a free educational platform that allows your child to learn through play anywhere on a mobile device.With two years of uninterrupted play, Otsimo has helped children with autism get accepted into public schools at the rate of about 90%.

What Is Considered A Disability

The Americans with Disabilities Act gives the following as a legal definition of a disability: a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a person who has a history or record of such an impairment, or a person who is perceived by others as having such an impairment. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gives the following medical definition of a disability: any condition of the body or mind that makes it more difficult for the person with the condition to do certain activities and interact with the world around them .

If one wants to distinguish whether or not autism is a disability, one needs to look at the characteristics of autism. NIMH states that ASD is a developmental disorder, called because symptoms usually occur during the first two years of development. It affects a childs communication and behavior, and the types of symptoms span a wide range, some being more severe than others. ASD is the umbrella that includes autistic disorder, pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified , and Asperger syndrome.

A child with autism could present with some of the following:

People Who Are Deaf Or Hard Of Hearing

Hearing impairments can range from mild to profound. People who are hard of hearing may use a range of strategies and equipment including speech, lip-reading, writing notes, hearing aids or sign language interpreters.

When talking to a person who is deaf or hard of hearing:

  • look and speak directly to them, not just to the people accompanying them, including interpreters
  • speak clearly and use a normal tone of voice unless otherwise instructed by the person with the hearing impairment
  • if you don’t understand what a person is saying, ask them to repeat or rephrase, or alternatively offer them a pen and paper.


  • Ensure front of office staff are briefed and prepared on how to greet and assist people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
  • Allow more time and greater flexibility for training and induction.
  • Consider workspace location – allowing the employee to see people entering the room and situate the workstation in an area where there is minimal background noise.

Recommended Reading: Toys For Toddlers With Autism

Intellectual Disability And Autism Spectrum Disorder Services

Intellectual disability

Users followed for an intellectual disability have an intellectual disability defined as follows:disability characterized by significant limitations in both intellectual functioning and in adaptive behavior, which covers many everyday social and practical skills. This disability originates before the age of 18 .

Access criteria

Have an intellectual disability diagnosis established by a professional qualified to do so.

Global developmental delay

Users followed for a global developmental delay are children under the age of 6 with a significant delay in two or more spheres of their development.

Access criteria

Have a global developmental delay assessed by a professional qualified to do so.

Autism spectrum disorders

Users followed for an autism spectrum disorder are people of all ages with impairments in social interactions, qualitative impairments in communication, and restricted, repetitive and stereotypic patterns of behaviour, interests and activities.

Access criteria

Have a diagnosis or a diagnostic hypothesis of autism spectrum disorder established by a professional qualified to do so.

General Types Of Disabilities

Mental health, learning disability and autism :: West ...
  • Includes physiological, functional and/or mobility impairments
  • Can be fluctuating or intermittent, chronic, progressive or stable, visible or invisible
  • Some involve extreme pain, some less, some none at all

Characteristics of Progressive conditions and examples:

These disabilities get worse over time but can fluctuate.

  • Multiple Sclerosis neurological deterioration
  • Chronic Arthritis inflammation of the joints

Characteristics of Non-Progressive conditions and examples:

These disabilities are non-progressive and remain stable.

  • Cerebral Palsy neurological condition
  • Spina Bifida congenital malformation of the spinal cord
  • Spinal Cord Injury neurological damage resulting from trauma

These disabilities are non-progressive but can fluctuate.

  • Fibromyalgia chronic pain condition
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome chronic fatigue condition

Read Also: Aspergers Life Span

Is Autism A Disability And If It Is A Disability Then What

  • Is Autism A Disability? And
  • Is autism a disability? The short answer to that question is yes. Autism is a disability.

    But the conversation doesnt stop there. In fact, theres so much more to this conversation that we need to consider than just the disability label.

    More specifically, autism is whats referred to as a developmental disability.

    And whats a developmental disability? The term has a few nuances but refers to a condition that affects ones life-long development.

    Autism is not considered a birth defect nor is it a learning disability. Birth defects apply more to observable abnormalities in bodily structures. A learning disability refers to difficulties in learning unrelated to intelligence or motivation.

    So whats the definition of autism? Well, the official diagnostic term is Autism Spectrum Disorder, also known as ASD.

    People with ASD have a condition where a compromise occurs in the brains development. As a result, individuals with autism typically have challenges in a few areas. These include difficulty with communication, social interaction, and behavioral challenges.

    Autism affects approximately 1 in 60 children, mostly boys.

    It doesnt take a long time to recognize autistic symptoms. In fact, you can recognize these symptoms before a child reaches the age of 2 years.

    The cause of autism is unknown. Though some suggest that vaccines cause autism, there is no conclusive evidence to substantiate that claim.

    How Is Autism Diagnosed

    Diagnosing ASD isnt as simple as a blood test or physical medical exam. Instead, doctors rely on your descriptions of your childs behavior and development, along with their careful observations of your childs behavior in order to evaluate whether they exhibit ASD. Early detection and diagnosis of ASD are important because they can help you get the support your child needs as early on in their development as possible.

    To evaluate for ASD, your pediatrician may ask questions about your childs development and behavioral patterns such as how they play, communicate, learn, and act. This can happen over the course of several visits with the pediatrician, or it may be a quicker process, depending on your childs unique circumstances and developmental progress. As a parent, its up to you to voice your concerns about any developmental or cognitive issues you observe in your child so their pediatrician can help you form a treatment and support plan.

    Since autism is a broad spectrum disorder , a diagnosis can include the following disorders, all included within the autism spectrum:

    • Aspergers Syndrome
    • Childhood Disintegrative Disorder
    • Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified

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    When Do You Notice The Signs Of Autism

    While you might notice some of the signs of autism in the first few years of your child’s life, it may only be when they are at school, or even when they are an adult, that a diagnosis is made.

    Sometimes an autism diagnosis is delayed because health professionals want to be certain before they make a diagnosis. In other cases, a delayed diagnosis might be because the signs of autism go undetected, especially if they present in a more subtle way .

    More boys than girls are diagnosed with autism, and there is an ongoing debate about whether this is for genetic reasons or because the process of diagnosis tends to pick up autistic traits more common in boys, and the possibility that this is leaving some girls undiagnosed.

    Repetitive And Restrictive Behaviour

    NHS-led Provider Collaboratives: improving mental health, learning disability & autism services

    With its unwritten rules, the world can seem a very unpredictable and confusing place to autistic people. This is why they often prefer to have routines so that they know what is going to happen. They may want to travel the same way to and from school or work, wear the same clothes or eat exactly the same food for breakfast.

    Autistic people may also repeat movements such as hand flapping, rocking or the repetitive use of an object such as twirling a pen or opening and closing a door. Autistic people often engage in these behaviours to help calm themselves when they are stressed or anxious, but many autistic people do it because they find it enjoyable.

    Change to routine can also be very distressing for autistic people and make them very anxious. It could be having to adjust to big events like Christmas or changing schools, facing uncertainty at work, or something simpler like a bus detour that can trigger their anxiety.

    Read more about repetitive behaviours and dealing with change here

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    What Is Pathological Demand Avoidance

    Pathological Demand Avoidance is a form of autism which may also affect the way a person communicates and relates to other people.

    People with PDA may experience challenges such as specific learning difficulties, but their central difficulty is that they are driven to avoid everyday demands and expectations to an extreme extent. This avoidance is rooted in an anxiety-based need to be in control.

    Mencaps online community is a safe and supportive place to meet others, ask questions about learning disability, share experiences and offer support.

    Getting Help With Your Mental Health

    If youre autistic and need help with your mental health, its important to try and get the right support. You can start by talking to your doctor about how youre feeling. The National Autistic Society has tips on making your appointment more comfortable such as having a friend come with you, asking your doctor to give you more time to answer questions or requesting that the lights are dimmer to avoid sensory overload.

    Your doctor may refer you for talking therapy . You may want to ask your therapist if they have any experience of working with autistic people. The National Autistic Society has a directory you can search to find therapists who are either autistic or understand how to work with autistic people.

    You may be prescribed medication for a mental health condition. The National Autistic Society has a guidebook for autistic adults who are given medication for their mental health. It has more information on why it might have been prescribed, possible side-effects, preparing for a medication review and monitoring your own health.

    Sometimes a doctor will refer someone to a psychiatrist. They can diagnose and treat mental health conditions. Ambitious about Autism has information about making the most of a visit to a psychiatrist.

    There are ways you can help yourself too. For example, Autistica has tips for managing your mental health that were developed during the coronavirus pandemic but may be useful for other times too.

    Recommended Reading: High Functioning Autism Vs Low Functioning

    Comparison With Existing Literature

    The prevalence of these additional long-term health conditions has seldom been investigated in people with co-occurring intellectual disabilities and autism, particularly in comparison with other people, and never, to our knowledge, as a total population study. All of the long-term health conditions were more common than in those without co-occurring intellectual disabilities and autism.

    Smaller, less representative studies have reported a higher rate of mental health conditions in adults and youth with co-occurring intellectual disabilities and autism compared with those with intellectual disabilities and without autism, but not all. People with autism have been reported to have more mental health conditions than other people , as have people with intellectual disabilities compared with other people , using the same Scotlands Census 2011 data as in this current paper, whereas the comparable ratio we now report for people with co-occurring intellectual disabilities and autism for mental health conditions was OR=26. Having the co-occurring conditions therefore presents a much higher risk of mental health conditions than either intellectual disabilities or autism on their own.

    World Autism Month: Autism Spectrum Disorder Is A Developmental Disability Without Physical Traits

    Schoolchildren with mental disabilities such as autism or ...

    How much do you know about developmental disorders? Do you know that many of these disorders are not associated with any physical traits or visible characteristics? Like mental health issues, many developmental disorders are not visible in the same way that physical disabilities are . Certain behaviours are linked to developmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorder or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder , but without physical characteristics that suggest a disorder or disability these behaviours are often seen as odd, inappropriate or unacceptable.

    Unfortunately, unusual behaviours lead to reactions that are hurtful and isolating certainly not how someone with a disorder should be treated. And this is just one way that low levels of awareness affect those with developmental disorders, particularly autism spectrum disorder.

    World Autism month, in April, is meant to change this.

    Children affected with this disorder

    The number of children with a developmental disorder in India is likely greater than you would have imagined. In India today, nearly one in eight children between the ages of two and nine years has at least one developmental disorder, according to a study published in July 2018. Developmental disorders covered in this study include vision impairment, epilepsy, neuromotor impairments , hearing impairment, speech and language disorders, autism spectrum disorder, and intellectual disability.

    Support for the families

    Traits or symptoms can include:

    Read Also: Do People With Autism Die Earlier

    Looking After Your Mental Health

    If you are on the autistic spectrum, just the same as any young person, it is important to seek specialist help when you feel like you need it. But it’s also important to take good care of yourself. We recommend regular exercise, eating well, getting enough sleep and talking things through with people you know and trust.

    You might find unexpected changes very stressful, so trying to keep daily routines as predictable as possible and this will help you to reduce anxiety.

    With the right support, autistic people can recover from mental health problems, but its vital that there are specialist services in place to support us.

    Myths & Misconceptions About Autism

    Researchers are learning more and more about autism every year. While it was virtually unheard of just a few decades ago, autism is now a well-known disorder. Its prevalence has risen from one in 1,500 children in 1975 to one in 59 children today, according to the CDC, making autism a very common disorder.4 Still, myths and misconceptions about autism spectrum disorder abound. Here, we debunk the most common of these.

    Read Also: What Does Mild Autism Mean

    Is Autism A Mental Health Condition

    Is Autism A Mental Health Condition?

    Theres a lot of confusion out there around what autism is, and whether its a mental health condition, or something entirely different.

    Autism one example of an Autism Spectrum Disorder condition, is a condition that impacts on a persons capability to fully interact with the world around them. In other words, people with ASD cant relate to the social or natural world in the same way that we do. Its a wide-ranging affliction, with a huge range of severities, and as a result no two people with ASD have the same experience with it.

    Its also important to note that there are a number of different branches of ASD autism itself is one, but Aspergers syndrome and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified also come under the ASD umbrella.

    We still dont know what exactly causes ASD . It is a neuro-developmental disability and its generally accepted that the likely causes are either genetic, or neurological or perhaps both. But because theres no consensus or proof on the causes, theres also no cure for ASD at this point in time.

    Some of the common indicators of ASD include:

    Thats where Lizard Centre comes in. Contact us today to start the discussion if youre looking for support for a child diagnosed with ASD.

    Myth: People With Autism Have Amazing Counting Skills

    Abled Differently: Autism Foundation talk on mental health

    Truth: Some people who have autism have savant skills, such as being able to recite the phone book or calculate complicated mathematical problems in their head. But most dont, although many people with autism have impressive strengths, such as a good visual memory, that help them get by in the world.

    Recommended Reading: Can Autistic Adults Live On Their Own

    Is Autism Considered A Disability On Taxes

    The short answer is yes, the Earned Income Tax Credit does cover children with autism as a disability, but the process is a bit more complex than merely claiming the EITC on your tax return. First, an ASD diagnosis is not enough by itself to qualify a child for the EITC, and the IRS has specific criteria that the child must meet for their disorder to qualify as a disability. The IRS defines disability for the purposes of the EITC as The child cannot engage in any substantial gainful activity because of a physical or mental condition and it is medically determined that the condition has lasted or can be expected to last at least a year or lead to death.

    Along with these criteria, the IRS evaluates your circumstances with a series of qualifying tests including:

    • Age test: There is no age limit for a qualifying child with a disability, as long as there is proof the child is permanently and completely disabled, such as a neuropsychological assessment from a medical professional.
    • Relationship test: The qualifying child must be your son or daughter, stepchild, foster child, or adopted child.
    • Residency test: The child must live with you for the majority of the tax year.

    There may be additional eligibility requirements for claiming the EITC for a child with disabilities, depending on your income, tax filing status, or other criteria that the IRS outlines.

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