Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
The NHS provides the following definition of ASD: “Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a condition that affects social interaction, communication, interests and behaviour.
In children with ASD, the symptoms are present before three years of age, although a diagnosis can sometimes be made after the age of three. It's estimated that about 1 in every 100 people in the UK has ASD. More boys are diagnosed with the condition than girls. There's no "cure" for ASD, but speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, educational support, plus a number of other interventions are available to help children and parents.”
An alternative definition is provided by the National Autistic Society, who say:
“Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how people perceive the world and interact with others. Autistic people see, hear and feel the world differently to other people. If you are autistic, you are autistic for life; autism is not an illness or disease and cannot be 'cured'. Often people feel being autistic is a fundamental aspect of their identity. Autism is a spectrum condition. All autistic people share certain difficulties, but being autistic will affect them in different ways. Some autistic people also have learning disabilities, mental health issues or other conditions, meaning people need different levels of support. All people on the autism spectrum learn and develop. With the right sort of support, all can be helped to live a more fulfilling life of their own choosing."
ASD is a medical diagnosis and as such can only be made by a paediatrician or CAMHS (Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service). If you are concerned that your child may be displaying signs of ASD, please speak to Mrs Smith SENCO.
There are a wide range of strategies which can be put into place to support pupils on the Autism Spectrum, which can be implemented as soon as any concerns are raised, whilst a pupil is going through the assessment process. These will be individual for each child, as no child will present with the same needs.
If your child receives a diagnosis of ASD, specialist support can be accessed via Bexley’s Autism Advisory Teaching Service, who provide educational advice for supporting children on the Autism Spectrum.
The following websites may contain useful information:
The National Autistic Society: http://www.autism.org.uk/
Bexley Autism Advisory Teaching Service: