Autistic Spectrum Disorder​​

— Skylight Trust

Autism is a life-long developmental disorder, that affects the ability to communicate, interact and form relationships.

Autism, also known as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), affects the way one perceives the world. It’s a life-long issue that can affect the way a person thinks, behaves and communicates.

There are three types of ASD:

  • Autistic disorder (also known as “classic” autism)
  • Asperger syndrome
  • Pervasive Developmental Disorder (also referred to as “atypical autism”).

Autism affects 1 in every 150 children, yet scientists and researchers are still uncertain about all the causes of autism. It is said to be a combination of environmental, biological and genetic factors, that sets the stage, for a child to be more likely to be diagnosed with autism.

What can autism look like?

ASD affects the ways someone communicates, the way they interact with others and their surroundings, and the way they play. A person with autism will have some, or all of, the following behaviours:

  • avoids eye contact
  • ignores greetings
  • doesn’t like to be touched or held, or prefers being held when they want to
  • unaware when people around them talk to them, but responds to other sounds
  • delayed language development for their age and has trouble expressing their needs
  • usually keeps to themselves and won’t be interested in playing with other kids
  • intense and unusual reactions to sounds, smells, sights, colours, textures or lights, any kind of over-stimulation
  • likes to have things set in certain ways
  • lack of expression, such as smiles, directed towards others
  • struggles to understand and connect with other people’s expressions, emotions or feelings
  • performs repetitive behaviours, such as flapping, spinning or head-banging
  • gets upset when there is minor change in their surroundings or daily routines
  • high focus on one thing, to the exclusion of their surroundings.

Common treatment options for autism:

Treatment and medication varies from person to person. Usually it will be a combination of therapies such as behavioural, speech-language, occupational, social skills training and medication. Structure and sticking to a daily routine can help reduce the symptoms, make the person less impulsive and open to learning new skills.

Resources Available at Skylight

Skylight is here to help you through difficult times. We can assist you in a variety of ways with information appropriate for your situation. You are welcome to visit us and receive free information and a support pack from our resource centre and borrow books from the specialist library. We also facilitate Professional Development training and offer Counselling support services for children, young people, family/whānau and individuals who are experiencing tough times.

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