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4 KEY AUTISM FACTS 

 

  1. AUTISM DEFINED

  2. HOW AUTISM MAY BE AFFECTING YOU OR YOUR LOVED ONE

  3. WHY FORMAL DIAGNOSIS IS ESSENTIAL

  4. TESTING FOR AUTISM 

 

1. AUTISM DEFINED

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) ‘refers to a group of complex neurodevelopment disorders characterised by repetitive and characteristic patterns of behaviour and difficulties with social communication and interaction,' (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke). It is estimated by multiple sources that 1 in 100 people have the disorder across the world. Its exact cause is unknown but there appears to be a genetic component to the condition.

 

ASD is present from birth. As a neurological disorder, its symptoms emanate spontaneously from the ASD brain; it is not a personality disorder or a mental health condition. However, ASD neurological dysfunction can contribute significantly to mental health conditions, such as depression, suicidal ideation, and anxiety (which gives rise to panic attacks, OCD, agoraphobia, and other conditions)(National Autistic Society).

 

ASD is widely recognised as a ‘hidden’ or ‘invisible’ disability in that its presence and incapacitating nature is not always recognised upon casual, short-term and even long-term observation (National Autistic Society). Despite its ‘invisibility’, the severe impact of ASD on those who have it is noted by the passing of the Autism Act in 2009, which is the only act here in the UK dedicated to improving support for the services of one disability.

2. HOW AUTISM MAY BE AFFECTING YOU OR YOUR LOVED ONE

While there are some ASD attributes that can be beneficial, i.e., extraordinary giftedness in intellect or skill, attention to detail, logic over emotionalism, etc., ASD can cause severe disruption to a person's relationships and their ability to assimilate in social situations. People with ASD are more likely than the general population to experience unemployment and relationship breakdown. It is widely reported that the divorce rate amongst those with ASD is 75-80%. The social difficulties caused by ASD can also negatively impact parenting. 

3. WHY FORMAL DIAGNOSIS IS ESSENTIAL

Self-diagnosis of ASD by using online quizzes or other generalised information publicly available is not sufficient. There are many neurodiverse and psychosocial conditions that have traits which overlap with ASD. Also, ASD is on a wide spectrum and can present with significant differences from person to person. It is therefore necessary to receive input from a professional in order to properly identify ASD, and its severity, within an individual.

Formal diagnosis by a specialist is essential for individuals to have accurate, objective understanding of themselves and their circumstances. In addition, a written confirmation of ASD from a professional is usually required in order to receive support from social services and other service providers, employers, and also to access benefits and other concessions.

 

4. TESTING FOR AUTISM

With regard to testing for ASD, the National Autistic Society states the following:

 

'There are no specific physical or psychological tests for autism spectrum disorders. In order to recognise and identify the impairments of social interaction, social communication and social imagination together with the associated repetitive behaviours, and all the other features that can be found in autism, information must be collected in a systematic way.'

While it is standard practice for children and young people to be assessed within multidisciplinary teams, adults (18+) can be assessed by an individual specialist who is qualified and experienced. 

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CONTACT JACQUELINE 

If you're an individual, couple, or employer, you can contact Jacqueline today to arrange a FREE initial telephone appointment. 

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