Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD) have three main characteristics which classify someone as suffering from what is more generally referred to as Autism. The three characteristics are impairments in imagination, social communication and social interaction, plus a strong tendency towards repetitive behaviour, although you may observe unusual behaviour.
Impairment in social relationships/skills/interaction:
- lack of understanding others’ feelings & emotions
- very poor at interpreting other people’s facial expressions and body language
- may appear aloof, stilted, rude, aggressive, forthright, shy, thoughtless, immature &/or act inappropriately in social interaction situations and consequently fail to form ‘real’ lasting friendship
Impaired Imagination is an inability to imagine things:
- new or different situations can be unimaginable
- changes in routine are frightening/disorientating without the ability to imagine an alternative order of events. Perhaps this explains some or all repetitive behaviour?
- may not appreciate that other people have their own thoughts, perspectives & plans
Communication problems – difficulty with expressing themselves verbally and in written form and difficulty understanding others on some levels of communication which for example may manifest itself as:
- literal understanding of language. Idioms can be nonsensical – “It’s raining cats and dogs.” Would cause the person with ASD to think cats and dogs might fall from the sky
- “Don’t do that.” The person may not know what ‘that’ is referring to
- People with autism have the same emotions as everybody else – but may not express them in a way that is easily understood, partly because they may fail to realise that language is one way of doing this
- may talk to somebody without taking any notice of that person
How can SLT Online help?
Julie Andrews, consultant speech and language therapist, offers assessments, therapy and training in the Leicestershire, Northamptonshire & Warwickshire areas.
To arrange an assessment with Julie please visit the appointments page. If you require any further information about the help Julie can provide for people with autism, please visit the contact page and complete the on-line form.