Autism spectrum disorder
If your child has autism spectrum disorder (ASD), they will have difficulty making sense of the world. ASD will affect each child differently. Your child may find it difficult to deal with changes to routines and may become obsessed with certain objects, actions or activities. Your child may not be able to express themselves with language and may use alternative ways of communication (sign language, pictures). Your child may also experience sensory difficulties (they may be highly sensitive to touch, sound or smells).
The three main areas of difficulty are known as the triad of impairments. These are difficulties in:
- social communication
- social interaction
- social imagination and flexible thinking.
Your child will have been given an Asperger’s Syndrome (AS) diagnosis if their IQ is within or above the normal range. The triad of impairment above still applies. Your child with AS will have difficulty understanding, and knowing how to behave in, social situations (party, school, park). They might also be obsessed with a favourite subject. Your child may be a high achiever and will be able to learn strategies to be able to cope in social situations.
How can I help?
- Use simple language.
- Be literal (for example, don't talk about it 'raining cats and dogs').
- Keep routines consistent.
- Give plenty of warning about any change.
- Use visual cues (pictures or objects) to help communication and understanding.
- Tell your child what they should do, not what they shouldn't.
- Make charts.
- Write lists.
- Identify triggers (the things which seem to cause outbursts / strong reactions) and work out solutions.