Presentation on theme: "The Autistic Spectrum An Introduction"— Presentation transcript:
1 The Autistic Spectrum An Introduction Anja RuttenSenior LecturerPsychology and CounsellingStaffordshire University
2 AutismSome of the terms used to describe people on the autistic spectrumAutismAutistic Spectrum DisordersAutistic Spectrum ConditionsAutism Spectrum DisordersAutism Spectrum ConditionsAsperger syndromeAsperger’s DisorderHigh Functioning AutismKanner’s AutismChildhood Disintegrative DisorderPervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS)
3 The Autistic Spectrum Mild learning disability Average I.Q. ASPERGER SYNDROMEAutismMild learning disabilityAverage I.Q.Moderate learning disabilityAbove average I.QSevere learning disabilityExtreme ability in some areas
4 Prevalence Approximately 1:110 on the autistic spectrum Increase? Improved diagnosis?More common than Down’s syndrome or cerebral palsyApprox 80% high functioning – some very high functioning4 times as many men as womenCause unknown but is likely to contain genetic componentLifelong (but not an illness)
6 Impairment of communication Range of impairments:Absence of any desire to communicate with othersCommunication confined to the expression of needs onlyUse language confidently but lack comprehensionDon’t forget non-verbal communicationEye contactGestureBody languageFacial expressionAbility to communicate is linked to anxiety
7 Impairment of social interaction Impairments in forming and maintaining relationshipsWithdrawalAttempting to interactMay be socially inappropriateCan come across asAloofPassiveActive but oddOver formal
8 Flexibility and imagination Difficulties with languageDifficulties with making sense of the worldAbnormal development of playTaking things literallyNot being able to deal with changeUnusual and obsessive interests
9 Sensory issues Many people also have sensory issues These may affect one, some or all sensesVisionHearingTouchSmellTasteThey may manifest as:Over-sensitivityUnder-sensitivityDifferences in perception
10 Psychological theories Autism is a problem with reading other people’s mindsThe Theory of Mind explanation tries to account for social and communication difficultiesPeople with Autism have difficulties in the part of the brain that acts like the Chief ExecutiveThe Executive Function deficits account tries to explain restricted interests and difficulties planningPeople with Autism have a different style of processing what happens around them thatWeak Central Coherence theory tries to explain over-focus on detail
11 Psychological theories Autism is a form of ‘extreme male brain’- This theory tries to explain why more men than women arediagnosed with autismAutism is caused by high levels of testosterone in the womb- This theory looks at how hormones influence brain structureNo theory of autism explains ALL elements
12 How does autism affect people? It depends!Disability or differenceWhere on the spectrumCo-morbiditiesQuality and quantity of help available
13 How does autism affect people? Uneven ‘profile’ often presentIntellectual vs socialVerbal vs non-verbalCommon issuesUnderstanding (e.g. taking things literally)Motivational problemsBehavioural problemsEmotional problemsBeing overwhelmed by sensory experiences
14 How to help someone with Autism Try to understand from the person’s point of view – it’s usually not personalIssues in autism relate back to Triad of ImpairmentExpressions are functional – i.e. the behaviour is trying to achieve somethingKeep arousal levels low (for both of you!)Early interventionConsistency is vital – say what you mean, mean what you say
15 Further readingThe internet is a source of good and some not-so-good information. The websites below have good quality information.Some suggestions for further reading.Attwood, T. (2006). The Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome. London: Jessica Kingsley.Baron-Cohen, S and Bolton, P (2002) Autism: The Facts. Oxford: Oxford University PressBeardon, L., & Edmonds, G. (2007). ASPECT Consultancy Report: A National Report on the Needs of Adults with Asperger Syndrome.Deudney, C., & Shah, A. (2001). Mental Health and Asperger Syndrome - Information Sheet. London.Frith, U (2003) Autism – Explaining the Enigma. Oxford: Blackwell PublishingGhaziuddin, M (2005) Mental Health Aspects of Autism and Asperger Syndrome. London: Jessica KingsleyStoddart, K. P. (Ed.). (2005). Children, Youth and Adults with Asperger Syndrome: Integrating Multiple Perspectives. London: Jessica Kingsley.
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