Do you have any idea what that stands for? It stands for Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Autism is a broad spectrum diagnosis – and it is very rare to have two Autistic children showing the exact same symptoms/behaviours. They may be similar, but just as now two children are alike, no two disorders or their signs are exactly the same.
Children with any form of ASD are labelled to be trouble makers, difficult, annoying, naughty, and the list goes on. But people seem to forget that these children are exactly that – Children.
I have family members and friends with ASD and I love them dearly – they have something to contribute to my life in their own special ways.
ASD does not mean it has to control the childs life for ever. Yes, they may always have it, but they learn to control it and live with it, in meaningful and important lives.
Parents and Family members living with Autism face an every day battle to ensure their loved ones are happy, healthy, fulfilled and know that they are valuable members of society.
They have to consistently explain their child to teachers, caregivers, friends and family. In turn, they then have to explain the teachers, the caregivers and family to the child themselves.
ASD caregivers have to work incredibly hard to see the world through the eyes of their charge. They have to understand that while they do not comprehend what is going on in the childs life, they have to show the child that they do – or risk further distress/unease to the child.
It is a full time job, in addition to being a parent to any other children, a partner, an employee, or a Family member.
You do not know if that child that is having a tantrum in the centre of Coles has a special treasure inside their mind; sometimes, when you see a mother just walking away from her crying 10 year old, it might just be a mum who knows that the best way to handle their child IS to leave them. You can just assume that it is a “feral child” with no discipline, or that the parent/caregiver is a heartless shrew. You just do not know.
Children with ASD are not problems – they are hidden treasures who see the world in a different light; listen to what they have to say. They might end up teaching you something!
Below I have listed a few – VERY FEW – symptoms of ASD. I am not meaning for you to diagnose your child off my non-medically trained blog, but have added them here for education purposes.
Random Fact: It is less common in girls than boys.
Signs and symptoms of social difficulties in autism (http://www.helpguide.org/mental/autism_signs_symptoms.htm)
Basic social interaction can be difficult for children with autism spectrum disorders. Many kids on the autism spectrum seem to prefer to live in their own world, aloof and detached from others.
- Appears disinterested or unaware of other people or what’s going on around them.
- Doesn’t know how to connect with others, play, or make friends.
- Prefers not to be touched, held, or cuddled.
- Doesn’t play “pretend” games, engage in group games, imitate others, or use toys in creative ways.
- Has trouble understanding or talking about feelings.
- Doesn’t seem to hear when others talk to him or her.
- Doesn’t share interests or achievements with others (drawings, toys).
- Speaks in an abnormal tone of voice, or with an odd rhythm or pitch (e.g. ends every sentence as if asking a question).
- Repeats the same words or phrases over and over.
- Responds to a question by repeating it, rather than answering it.
- Refers to themselves in the third person.
- Uses language incorrectly (grammatical errors, wrong words).
- Has difficulty communicating needs or desires.
- Doesn’t understand simple directions, statements, or questions.
- Takes what is said too literally (misses undertones of humor, irony, and sarcasm).
Does it worry you if I say that these listed above are not even a quarter of possible symptoms?
Have you had experience with ASD?
What are your tips/tricks for handling it?