Autism, or Autism Spectrum Disorders (“ASD”) – is a developmental disorder characterized by challenges with sensory processing, social skills, verbal and nonverbal communication and behavior. Each individual with Autism is different. Since Autism is a spectrum disorder, it can cause mild to severe problems. Children or adults with Autism will have some degree of difficulty with their gross and fine motor skills as well as performing activities of daily living. Some children may also have sensory processing difficulties which impact on their behavior, relationships and activities of daily living. Transitioning between tasks, routines can also be challenging.
The timing and severity of Autism’s early signs vary. In certain cases, infants may demonstrate some signs of Autism, however symptoms become more prevalent and obvious when a child is 2 – 3 years. When concerned about whether a child has Autism, it is important to observe their communication, social skills, behavior, fine and gross motor skills and if the child has any food aversions. Signs and symptoms of Autism include, but are not limited to:
- Difficulties with understanding and using gestures like pointing and waving.
- Difficulty following directions.
- Difficulties with learning to read and write.
- Repeat words and phrases.
- Difficulties with focusing on an object or a toy with someone.
- Difficulties with eye contact, playing with other children and sharing toys.
- Child may have difficulties with changing from one activity to the next.
- May display behaviors including consistent hand flapping, rocking, spinning, head banging or staring.
- Negative reaction to sounds, smells, tastes, textures, lights and / or colors.
HOW WE CAN HELP
At Q Enrichment Center, our Occupational Therapist will conduct an extensive, comprehensive assessment to determine the challenges and difficulties faced by the child and family. A detailed report will be completed, along with a treatment plan specific to each individual’s needs.
Intervention can focus on:
- Encouraging and facilitating correct developmental milestone patterns
- Exercises to develop muscle strength, coordination and cognitive abilities
- Facilitation of development through play and sensory stimulation
- Managing sensory difficulties using a sensory diet and graded sensory stimulation exposure.
- Training the caregiver to perform a home exercise programme
- Advising on appropriate assistive devices / technology, if required by the child
- For more information on how a Speech, Language and Swallowing Pathologist can help with this condition, click here.