A.S.D Unique Services Ltd

Residential Services for Adults with Autistic Spectrum Disorders and Learning Disabilities

A.S.D Unique Services LLP

Residential Services for Adults with Autistic Spectrum Disorders and Learning Disabilities

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What is Autism?

What is Aspergerís?

What is autism?

Autism is a lifelong developmental disability. It is part of the autism spectrum and is sometimes referred to as an autism spectrum disorder, or an ASD. The word 'spectrum' is used because, while all people with autism share three main areas of difficulty, their condition will affect them in very different ways. Some are able to live relatively 'everyday' lives; others will require a lifetime of specialist support.

The three main areas of difficulty which all people with autism share are sometimes known as the 'triad of impairments'. They are:

difficulty with social communication

difficulty with social interaction

difficulty with social imagination

These are described in more detail below. There is a form of autism called Asperger syndrome. For more information, see What is Asperger syndrome?

 Difficulty with social communication

People with autism have difficulties with both verbal and non-verbal language. Many have a very literal understanding of language, and think people always mean exactly what they say. They can find it difficult to use or understand:

 facial expressions or tone of voice

 jokes and sarcasm

 common phrases and sayings; an example might be the phrase 'It's cool', which people often say when they think that something is good, but strictly speaking, means that it's a bit cold.

 Difficulty with social interaction

People with autism often have difficulty recognising or understanding other people's emotions and feelings, and expressing their own, which can make it more difficult for them to fit in socially. They may: not understand the unwritten social rules which most of us pick up without thinking: they may stand too close to another person for example, or start an inappropriate subject of conversation; appear to be insensitive because they have not recognised how someone else is feeling; prefer to spend time alone rather than seeking out the company of other people; not seek comfort from other people; appear to behave 'strangely' or inappropriately, as it is not always easy for them to express feelings, emotions or needs.

 

 Difficulty with social imagination

Social imagination allows us to understand and predict other people's behaviour, make sense of abstract ideas, and to imagine situations outside our immediate daily routine. Difficulties with social imagination mean that people with autism find it hard to:

 understand and interpret other people's thoughts, feelings and actions

 predict what will happen next, or what could happen next

 understand the concept of danger

 engage in imaginative play and activities: children with autism may enjoy some imaginative play but act out the same scenes

 prepare for change and plan for the future

 cope in new or unfamiliar situations

Difficulties with social imagination should not be confused with a lack of imagination. Many people with autism are very creative and may be, for example, accomplished artists, musicians or writers. Other related characteristics are:

 Love of routines

 Sensory sensitivity

 Special interests

 Learning disabilities

What causes autism?

The exact cause of autism is still being investigated. Autism is not caused by a person's upbringing, their social circumstances and is not the fault of the individual with the condition.

Is there a cure?

At present, there is no 'cure' for autism. However, at ASD Unique Services we aim to identify the barriers created by the individualís disability. To provide the necessary inputs to help our service users overcome their fears and frustrations; enabling them to function via more effective and acceptable methods of communication. To provide encouragement and continually assess the needs of our service users and staff team.

 

What is a diagnosis?

A diagnosis is the formal identification of autism, usually by a health professional such as a paediatrician or a psychiatrist. Having a diagnosis is helpful for two reasons:

it helps people with autism (and their families) to understand why they may experience certain difficulties and what they can do about them

it allows people to access services and support.

People's GPs can refer them to a specialist who is able to make a diagnosis. Many people are diagnosed as children; their parents and carers can ask GPs for a referral.

Some professionals may refer to autism by a different name, such as autism or autistic spectrum disorder (ASD), classic autism or Kanner autism, pervasive developmental disorder (PDD) or high-functioning autism (HFA).