Autism is an invisible disability that affects how people make sense of the world around them, and the communications and interactions they have. Most disability care services have encountered children suffering from autism during their home disability care services Sydney.
What does and doesn’t cause autism? Autism is strongly genetic. Families that have one child with autism are at an increased risk of having another child with autism when compared with the general population.
Research suggests it is a combination of developmental, genetic and environmental factors. It cannot be blamed on one single factor, but several of them.
Older parents (45 years and older) may be a factor. Older Mothers and Fathers are at an increased risk of having a child with autism.
During the 1950s to the 1970s autism was believed to be a psychological disorder. It was blamed on cold and uncaring parents, usually the mother. This has since been proven wrong by science. It is now recognised as a disorder of brain development with genetic links.
In 2014, combining the results of 10 studies and over 1.2 million children, a meta-analysis found no link between vaccines and autism. The largest study included 537,703 children born in Denmark. It found that unvaccinated children were just as likely to develop autism as vaccinated children.
It is a spectrum disorder, which means the symptoms can range from mild to severe. All disability support workers in Sydney are quite familiar with the evident symptoms of autism. These symptoms are typically recognised during the second year of life. Common symptoms include:
- Trouble interacting with and communicating with others. For example, lack of eye contact, have little to no enthusiasm in sharing interests or emotions, and difficulties understanding and using gestures, body language, and facial expressions.
- Stereotyped and repetitive speech, movements or use of objects such as lining up toys, flapping hands and repeating words or phrases.
- Narrow interests like only playing with certain toys or discussing certain topics.
- Sensitivity or non-sensitivity to sounds, pain and textures.
- Inflexible attachment to routines, patterns or behaviour. For example, only eating certain foods, travelling the same way to school each day and becoming distressed at changes.
It is important to remember that there is no set symptom for each person. Every person is unique and will have different symptoms to another.
Language delay may also be common with ASD, but may occur with other diagnoses being not exclusive to autism.
Autism is an invisible disability; this can make it difficult for others to understand why and how a person may behave or react in a certain way.
According to the NDIS, autism should be diagnosed by a specialist multi-disciplinary team. A pediatrician, psychiatrist or clinical psychologist. There are three different types of assessments that you can get for autism:
Diagnostic Assessment: from 2 years of age. This is suitable for all ages to determine whether a child has autism. It includes a parent or family member interview, clinical observation, measure of functional assessment, a feedback session and a summary report.
Screening and Early Development: from 12 months to 2 years of age. This is suitable for young children whose parents are concerned about their development. It includes a parent checklist, clinical observation, developmental assessment, a feedback session and a summary report.
Review Assessment: from 4 years of age. This is suitable for individuals who have previously been diagnosed and require updated information about strengths, support needs, or at times of transition such as school entry and post-school planning. It includes a background interview with parents or carers, clinical observation, a measure of functional assessment and a report.
It is important to remember if you are concerned that your child is showing signs of ASD you should contact your child and family health nurse or GP.
For professional disability support services in Sydney, feel free to contact us