News April 2022
World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD) aims to put a spotlight on the hurdles that people with autism and others living with autism face every day.
Photo By: pngtree
Autism is a condition that affects how a person thinks, feels, interacts with others, and experiences their environment. It’s estimated that 1 in 70 people are on the autism spectrum. It is a lifelong disability that starts when a person is born and stays with them into old age. Every Autistic person is different to every other.
There is a misconception that autism spectrum is linear. In fact Autistic people can display a wide range of characteristics in their communication; sensory experiences; emotional regulations, behavioural & mental health; repetitive movement, body awareness and motor planning; focused or special interests; routines & schedules; executive functioning; and social expression & relationship building.
Throughout this month our psychologist Codie will share her knowledge on Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Codie has an interest in ASD and can provide the following assessments at our Albury and Wagga Offices:
• Cognitive assessments
• Autism assessment
• ADHD assessment
Phone Centacare 1300 619 379 for an appointment or more information.
- Difficulties in learning or using spoken language
- Communicate honestly and directly
- A dislike or difficulty with small talk, sarcasm or understanding jokes
- Repeating words or phrases in a way that can seem out of context
- Not using or understanding gestures like pointing
- Lack of interactive eye contact
- Using sounds, signs, gestures or pictures to communicate instead of spoken words
- Taking extra time to understand spoken information
- Being constantly aware or more ware of some sensations (sounds, smells, tastes, touch etc.)
- Feeling distressed or overwhelmed if there are too many sensations at once (loud noise, lots of touching, bright lights, etc.)
- Working hard to avoid distress by covering ears, hiding in quiet places, etc. to block out sensations
- Discomfort with touch such as materials of clothes, tags or light touch from others
- Seeking sensory experiences by smelling food, flicking fingers in front of lights
- Not noticing internal sensations like hunger, cold or pain
- An ability to notice specific details, patterns or changes that other people are unaware of
Emotional regulations, behavioural & mental health:
- A strong, sometimes overwhelming, emotional connection to others
- Delay in learning to understand and regulate emotions
- Difficulties understanding how non-autistic people think in some situations (just as non-autistic people have difficulty understanding autistic people)
Repetitive movement, body awareness and motor planning:
- Repeating movements such as flapping hands or pacing around to show excitement or to help cope with stress
- Non-traditional play such as repetitive lining up of toys
- Weak in perceiving social distance
- Poor timing and coordination of balance
- Clumsiness, difficulties in gross and fine motor skills
Focused or special interests:
- Very strong focus on specific interest areas
- Deep interest in typical topics such as dinosaurs, sport, Disney or trains, or more unusual topics such as air conditioners, wheels, or bins
- Up to 20% of Autistic people have exceptional or above average skills in one or more areas such as reading, math, arts, mechanics, music, memory, etc.
- Preference for leisure based on passions
Routines & schedules:
- Preferring routines and rituals and don’t like change
- Even very small or slight disruptions to a routine can lead to distress and confusion
- Preferring to do things in the same way
- Rigid and inflexible
- Areas of strength vary but include: logical or visual thinking, persistence, eye for detail, good skills with technology, memory for facts and figures
- Difficulties in formulating plans to get through the days and organize tasks into complete sections
- Difficulties in shifting attention from task to task
- Struggle with verbal acuity. Verbal reasoning can also be hindered by social meanings that are not obvious to people with autism.
- Weak impulse control
Social expression & relationship building:
- Discomfort in busy complex social situations
- Might prefer to play alone or next to others more than with them
- An ability to pay attention without making eye contact
- Using or responding to body language differently
- Social interactions are often misunderstood by non-autistic people
For more information about Codie, her therapy services or any other service Centacare offers, or to discuss other stories, please get in touch.