Autism Awareness Month is Here!
AUTISM AWARENESS MONTH IS HERE!
As Autism Awareness Month comes to a close, it is the perfect time to encourage ongoing understanding and insight into autism the whole year through. World Autism Awareness Day was April 2nd and support was clear from a widespread global perspective. This included everything from large structures lit up in blue to community school events.
WHAT IS AUTISM?
With the growing awareness of autism around the world comes the challenging task of understanding autism. Understanding autism is a complex journey due to different definitions, changing criteria and new research findings.
Things to know about Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD):
It’s a life-long neurological disorder that affects the way a person communicates and relates to the people and world around them
It can affect behavior, social interactions, and one’s ability to communicate verbally
While all people with ASD will experience certain difficulties, the degree to which each person on the spectrum experiences these challenges will be different.
People with ASD may show repetitive behaviours and have unusual attachments to objects or routines
Learning, thinking, and problem-solving abilities of people with ASD can range from gifted to severely challenged
Some people with ASD need a lot of help in their daily lives; others need less
It includes several conditions including: autistic disorder, pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), and Asperger syndrome
I recently read a book called Autism Breakthrough which really resonated with me. According to author Raun Kaufmann: “autism is not a behavioral disorder where we have to stamp out the autistic behaviors and train in the other behaviors. Autism is rather a social relational disorder. It's basically a difficulty in all of these kids - whether they're old or young, verbal or not verbal – in creating interpersonal relationships and communicating and relating to people.
Research from the University of Columbia has raised the idea that there are in fact many types of autism due to various gene mutations, and that no two autisms are exactly alike.
HOW WE CAN HELP WITH AUTISM
Research on autism is extensive. You could easily spend hours reading up on changes in prevalence, risk factors, diet modifications, treatment approaches etc. As a Speech-Language Pathologist who works with children on the autism spectrum, as well as a mother of child with a diagnosis, the information out there on general approaches and tips for autism is educational and stimulating. However, our work at S. L. Hunter Speechworks focuses on treating children with ASD based on their individual needs. Treatment may focus on one particular area or incorporate various skills like verbal expression, motor speech, understanding of language, following directions, social communication and alternative/augmentative communication. This list is by no means all-inclusive, and typical speech-language assessment and treatment planning will begin by identifying the main parental concerns related to speech, language and/or communication, and then developing goals based on the individual child’s strengths and weaknesses. We also offer some unique social skills group opportunities through our Social Thinking ® groups and programs.
Amanda Brown is a Speech-Language Pathologist with nearly a decade of experience in providing assessment and treatment to clients in the clinic and community settings. Amanda enjoys working with clients of all ages and applies a strong client-centred approach to her therapy, balanced with family/team collaboration.