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    Spectrum Disorder

    Does the video describe your child to some extent?
    So… your child may have been diagnosed as having some form of autism.

    But, what DOES your child really have?

    • Autism Spectrum Disorder
    • Asperger Syndrome
    • High-Functioning Autism
    • Pervasive Developmental Disorder
    • Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified

    The above terms have caused significant confusion over time, especially for parents with a child newly diagnosed as having one of these disorders. For now, we will take ‘Autism Spectrum Disorder’ (ASD) to cover the entire spectrum, and it will be used for descriptive purposes on this page. Diagnosis of autism is not always straightforward.

    ASD describes a group of disorders with a wide spectrum of variability. Invariably though, the child will have some degree of key impairments in the following areas:

    • communication
    • social interaction and play

    accompanied by

    • specific atypical behavioural patterns
    • restricted interests and/or
    • sensory defensiveness/processing difficulties

    Although present from birth, the features may or may not manifest in infancy, and becomes obvious most commonly around 18-24 months of age, with the child being presented to the medical doctor between 24-48 months of age.

    How might a child with ASD present?

    • The most common presenting feature is a delay/deviation in language skills or in communication skills.
    • Most children get automatically attached to parents or caregivers, and many are often comfortable amongst peers, allowing for a little initial adaptation. However, there may be a deficit of emotional attachment and social relationship formation in the child with ASD.
    • Engagement in together-play – parallel or interactive – is often not achieved on time. There is often a limited range of toys, games or activities that the child with ASD will engage in. Play may be noted to be copied, repetitive and/or stereotypical.
    • Many of the children with ASD will be noted to have some degree of stereotypic activities, such as flicking of fingers, spinning themselves or of wheels, arranging items in running neat lines or obsessions with bus routes or encyclopedias.

    What can I do?

    If any of the above profiles describe your child in any combination, it would be important for you to seek consultation with a professional consultant, who can help to assess the entire profile of your child. Should a diagnosis of ASD be made, it would be important to provide a plan that involves investigations, intervention and education in a holistic way. It is important that we strive to make the world a less confusing place for these children and at the same time, help them develop their skills and optimize their potential.