Autism - Autism Spectrum

What is autism? Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with, and relates to, other people. It also affects how they make sense of the world around them. It is a spectrum condition, which means that, while all people with autism share certain difficulties, their condition will affect them in different ways.

Autism is a spectrum of differences.

Each 1 is unique. If you have met 1 child with autism... you have done just that met 1 child with autism. Each 1 falls at a different place along the spectrum. Each 1 has their own hopes, dreams, challenges, and needs.

Some kids have it a little, some kids have it alot. It's called ... "The spectrum", low ability, high ability, everything in between!

spectrum - rainman - sheldon (big bang theory) - hard to diagnose - too neurotypical falls off spectrum at cut off point - you - rest of humanity

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) - ASD is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by:

The term spectrum refers to the wide range of symptoms, skills, and levels of impairment or disability that children with ASD can have. Some children are mildly impaired by their symptoms, while others are severely disabled.

Early detection and intervention is critical! While there's no proven cure yet for autism spectrum disorder (ASD), research has shown that intensive behavioral therapy during the toddler or preschool years can significantly improve cognitive and language skills in young children with ASD. Treating ASD early, using school-based programs, and getting proper medical care can greatly reduce ASD symptoms and increase a child's ability to grow and learn new skills.

The "autism spectrum" - How can both a "high-funuctioning" college student with Asperger's Syndrome and a "low-functioning," non-verbal child with self-injurious behaviors both be on the autism spectrum?

The concept of "functioning levels" has always been used as a way to divide the autism community and to compete for limited resources, with some parents saying that their "low-functioning" child is totally unlike an adult with Aspergerís, and that "severe autism" should be considered a completely separate disability. But the very notion of functioning levels is an ambiguous and even amorphous concept. What "high-functioning" and "low-functioning" mean is much less precise than those terms are often taken to suggest. HFA ó "high-functioning autism" ó is stereotypically associated with being at the "mild" or "Aspergerís" end of the spectrum, and LFA ó "low-functioning autism" ó with having "severe autism." But what is "functioning" based on, after all: speech or verbal ability? IQ scores? The ability to appear non-autistic? Academic ability? Adaptive functioning? Just because an individual is of above average intelligence, gets into college, and so forth, does not mean that that individual might not struggle to have a job, be in a relationship, and live on her or his own. Rather than discredit the experiences of autistic adults as having "nothing" to do with that of a "severely" autistic child, itís important to see how there are many similarities, in responses to sensory stimuli and in dificulties with communication, and how the concept of the autism spectrum helps our understanding of autism.

This is Aiden. His name means "little fire". He loves the song Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Swimming, jumping on his trampoline, spinning on his tire swing, and going for long walks on nature trails are his favorite activities. He is non-verbal but can tell you everything with his sparkling blue eyes. He is one of the many beautiful faces of autism.

This is Lucian. His name means "to bring light". He loves eagles, bats, butterflies, beanie babbies, chocolate chip cookies, and most of all his mommy. Swimming, running, jumping, swinging, and tickles are his favorite activities. He has an incredible memory and learns just about everything the first time he is taught. He is one of the many beautiful faces of autism.

Making friends with autism curious cup

Forming Relationships, Communicating, Surviving Society - The "dry land" aspects of an autism education program. People with autism need help learning how to function in the "dry land" of the world created by and for neurotypical people. We need to learn how to simply survive in situations like work and school, which can often be hostile and confusing. We need to learn how to communicate effectively with people around us. And we need to learn to form satisfying relationships. None of those things come easily to most people with autism. We need additional education in those areas as we grow up, and we continue to need it as adults.

Exploring Special Interests, Understanding Yourself, Loving Yourself - The "water" parts of an autism education program. Because autism education is driven by behaviorists, there is a tendency to deny that autistic people have an inner reality which is distinct from that of NT people, and, in great likelihood, substantially different from other people with autism. Because our inner lives are unusual, and because emotions tend to be confusing for us, we also need education to help us understand ourselves. We need guidance and support as we explore the special interests that will bring us joy and be the foundations of our careers. We need help understanding our own emotions before we will ever successfully understand those of other people. And we must be taught explicitly our own value. We must be taught that, although we must adapt our behavior to survive in a neurotypical world, there is nothing wrong or bad about our truest, strangest, most autistic selves.

Autism is a spectrum, a spectrum of hopes, dreams, abilities, feelings, desires, thoughts, and possibilities.