Autism is an area that SpeechNet Speech Pathology & Learning Centre can help!
Whether you are unsure if your child has Autism or you already have a formal diagnosis, we can help.
What is Autism?
Autism is a condition that impacts on how children develop. It is a lifelong developmental condition. There is currently no specific genetic autism test and so for some children it can be hard to diagnose. Autism is sometimes referred to as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and encompasses the previously recognised term Asperger. A diagnosis is given by a medical team (usually lead by a Paediatrician) when a child is not developing as expected AND there are specific ASD characteristics or signs present.
Signs of Autism
What are the signs of ASD? What would a child with ASD "look" like?
Well, that is like asking, “How long is a piece of string?” Every piece of string is different. Every child with ASD will present differently.
All “strings” share some similar characteristics though – they are generally flexible pieces of material used to tie something.
All children with ASD share some similar characteristics.
If a child has enough signs of ASD they will receive a formal Diagnosis of Autism. A diagnosis of ASD is only given when a child shows two main signs of ASD and BOTH are present:
- Social Communication problems e.g., delayed talking, not talking at all, interacts with others differently or not at all
- Restricted, repetitive behaviours or interests (RRB). Children may or may not have sensory issues when they are given a diagnosis of Autism. The sensory concerns are considered within the restricted, repetitive behaviours observations. e.g., frequent flapping, constantly seeks out and plays with the same kind of toy in an unusual manner (e.g., taps a hair brush on the floor while rocking, lines up toys).
To be diagnosed with ASD your child must:
- have difficulties in both of the above areas. and
- as it is a developmental condition, the child must have had symptoms from early childhood; even if these are not identified until later in childhood.
A child with speech or communication problems is not always Autistic.
An Autistic Child always has speech or communication problems.
“Wow they are very broad signs of Autism!”, I hear you say. Yes, they are and which characteristics dominate in a particular child will be different. This brings us back to “How long is a piece of string”! ASD can look very different from one child to another but they all still share the core two signs of ASD ( social-communication issues and repetitive, restrictive behaviours).
This variation in how characteristics present in ASD children is also why ASD is often called a SPRECTRUM (Autism Spectrum Disorder Each child will show signs of ASD differently and in different amounts.
AUTISM IN CHILDREN AT DIFFERENT AGES
We just said that for a diagnosis of ASD in children, a child must show signs from early developmental stages. We also so said that sometimes we do not recognise these signs of ASD until later in childhood. When we think back we can say “OH yeah he did do that as a baby!”. It may just be that the characteristic in the child was not strong enough to be instantly recognise as ASD at that time.
The signs of ASD in a baby may present differently to the signs of ASD in Primary school. It is important that parents, carers, health professionals & teachers are aware of the signs of ASD in children of different ages. The age tabs on this page will provide more information about the signs of ASD in children at each specific age bracket.
Is SpeechNet Experienced in Autism?
SpeechNet Speech Pathologists are experienced in:
- Early and late diagnosis of ASD.
- Individual, group, CCC/school treatment and consultative services service for children with ASD form infancy through to 18 years of life.
- We aim to assist families along-side medical specialists to tease out if presenting difficulties are more likely to be aligned with ASD or another diagnosis (late talker, language delay, intellectual impairment, dyspraxia, hearing impairment etc).
- We are able to provide an individual treatment plan for your child to meet their learning needs and to assist them to participate in their particular community.
- As we work closely with OT, Psychology, Dietitians and physiotherapists that have all had notable experience with children with ASD, our speech pathology services are offered within a holistic family friendly framework.
For more information about our services take a look at the information links on this page for each specific age. Alternative contact us today for a no obligation chat about how we can help.