Autism Spectrum Disorder
Autism is a word that’s used a lot these days and diagnosis of ASD have increased dramatically over the previous ten years.
The Autism Organisation https://www.autism.org.uk/ state that there are around 700,000 people diagnosed in England, a rate of around every 1 in 100 people.
The Autism Organisation defines Autism as,
‘a lifelong, developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with and relates to other people, and how they experience the world around them.’
It is important to remember that Autism is a spectrum disorder, and that on this spectrum, individuals will be affected differently There may be some common traits that those with autism share, but those individuals may feel the effects of their autism very differently.
Many parents worry about whether their children will have a learning disability as well as their autism and again, every child is different. What we do know however is that with the right help and support, all children are capable of living a happy, satisfying life, and all are capable of learning and making progress.
For many parents, it is a difficult and long process to begin the exploration of whether their child has autism. Here is the definition taken again from the Autism Organisation
The characteristics of autism vary from one person to another, but in order for a diagnosis to be made, a person will usually be assessed as having had persistent difficulties with social communication and social interaction and restricted and repetitive patterns of behaviours, activities or interests since early childhood, to the extent that these “limit and impair everyday functioning“. Autism Org.
There are many typical behaviours,
- Lack of understanding in social situations
- Not understanding tone/sarcasm
- Very literal understanding of language
- Unable to read facial expressions
- Fixations on certain conversations
- One way speech and conversation, not taking into account what others say
- Echlolalia – repeating what has been said ‘parrot fashion.’
- May be overwhelmed in social situations, appear to need time alone
- Socially awkward
- Seemingly insensitive of others feelings
- Repetitive behaviours
- Highly focussed interests/Obsessions
- Hyper or Hypo sensitivity to sensory input
These commonalities may be present in your child, but remember, this list is not exhaustive and your concerns can always and should always be discussed with a healthcare professional. It may be that your child is monitored as many of these commonalities can also be age appropriate and developmental too.
If you do think there are concerns about your child’s development please reach out to us at
Beautiful New Beginnings
Heres the link for our group
We are a group of fully qualified SEND teachers supporting parents and children and would welcome you as part of our group
PREPARING FOR PARTIES WHEN YOUR CHILD HAS ASD
Parties…we’ve not been able to throw them for quite some time, and once lockdown restrictions are lifted even further; we’ll start to see families and friends coming together to celebrate everything from weddings to, well, just being able to see each other and hug each other.
Many of us will take this for granted, for but children with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) it’s rarely as simple as sending out some invites and ordering a cake.
Children with autism can be used to routine and are likely to be hypersensitive to noise, taste, touch, smell or bright lights, the chaos of a social event can be stressful and overwhelming for them – but you don’t want them to miss out, and why should they?
There is a vast scope in the sensory stimulus for children with autism, making it difficult to know how they will cope in certain situations so it’s essential to ensure they are prepared and as comfortable as possible.
Which leads to the question: how can a social event be made autism friendly?
The simple answer is, it’s all in the planning.
HOSTING A BIRTHDAY PARTY FOR YOUR CHILD
Spend time with your child, preparing them for the event and explain what will happen (as best you can) and if there will be people they’re not familiar with it can be helpful to show them pictures to help them recognise people outside of their regular circle.
Try to create a visual timeline that you can pin up a few days ahead of the event so your child knows what to expect – include details of arrival times, when the food will be served etc.
As with all the best plans, things can go awry on the day, so think ahead to what your child might be affected by and consider options to help them cope without causing any additional stress.
MAKE YOUR OWN RULES!
Is there a safe space you can transform into a quiet room where they can escape and seek sanctuary?
Will there be loud music, would ear defenders help?
First thing here is don’t just assume your child will want a party with all the trimmings. It’s fine if they don’t – maybe just take them to their favourite park or for a quiet family meal.
Communication is key, if they do want a party then you need to guide them through what they want and what you can include.
If your child doesn’t like cake then don’t have cake, you don’t need loud music if they won’t enjoy it.
You don’t need to invite everyone in class, their party is about them and the last thing you want is for them to suffer through it. If it’s the first time you’re considering a party then start small, just one friend and close family members and any pets of course!
If this goes well, they will want more parties and you can start extending their social circle ready for that.
GOING TO A FRIEND’S PARTY
It’s much easier to control things when you’re the host but your child will be invited to others’ parties and if they want to go then you need to do all you can to make it an enjoyable experience.
First of all, speak to the parents of the birthday child and get as much detail from them about the party so you can go through the plan of the day with your child in advance.
If you feel like you will need to stay with them then explain this as well.
Consider visiting the location ahead of time and plan for a quiet place to go if your child begins to feel overwhelmed and/or over stimulated.
All the best parties have games so think ahead and teach your little one the rules and how to play. It can also be useful to create a story to show that the rules are there to make things fair and help limit the chances of a child becoming overly competitive.
By doing this in a story format they will be more likely to relate and understand.
On the day of the party, perhaps arrange to arrive a few minutes early to help your child acclimatise and to see how they react to the environment and the excitement.
Take any calming toys with you (stress balls, computer game, and headphones) just in case and plan to go outside for a walk if they become upset and decide with them whether to go back in or go home.
Don’t be afraid to leave early. A short good time is much better than a longer day and leaving after a meltdown. Have a treat or surprise planned for your child so they aren’t too disappointed at leaving before everyone else.
Of course, another choice is simply not go to the party until you can be sure you your child is ready for the experience. Every child is different, and only you can know what will be best for your child.
ASK FOR HELP
Here at Dr Dave’s Entertainment we are autism champions and Jayne is Makaton trained to level 2.
We regularly plan and manage events and advise on parties and celebrations to include all children and young people of all ages and abilities.
Our son, Harry has ASD so we share the challenges, the concerns and the joy with you.
If you need some extra support ahead of an event then contact us by visiting www.drdavesentertainments.co.uk or or by calling us on 07905723864