by Chloë Barbier – Learning Support Assistant
I just wanted to impart some very interesting facts about autism, which I have been covering in this amazing online course I am doing (TQUK Level 2 Certificate in Understanding Autism). It’s extensive as there are six Units to complete and, so far, I have only done one after having asked for three extensions!
To begin with, here are some key facts to get your teeth into about autism and those who are affected by it:-
● As I am sure you know, there is no known cure for autism and the only
treatment is education and support by finding ways to adapt which will enable them as individuals.
● Some find it hard adapting to mainstream society, depending on how
disabling the condition is for the individual but it may not be immediately
There are three key features of Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC); High-Functioning Autism (HFA) and Asperger’s syndrome:-
- Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC): The most important aspect of someone with the ASC is that they adapt to everyday life even though the care and support that person may need can vary. They have limited social, emotional and communication skills and a tendency to engage in obsessive and repetitive behaviour.
- High-Functioning Autism (HFA): They are significantly more intelligent than average. Some of the features include limited social skills, obsessive interests and emotional responses, which in some cases are inappropriate. Their intelligence means they are more likely to have professional positions, which is a big benefit in terms of career progression. They have a greater ability to take a key interest in one or more activities, which encourages study, progress and excellence.
- Asperger’s Syndrome: Relatively challenging to diagnose therefore many people go medically undiagnosed. Their general behaviour is similar to people in mainstream society; they lack the language and developmental delays of other autism disorders.
Autism can become severe when they have obsessive interests and show a lack of flexibility and adaptability.
Some children are diagnosed as early as 18 months or as late as 18 years old. Their social skills are likely to differ in scope and nature across the autistic spectrum and may include the following:-
● Physical contact (try to avoid it)
● Eye contact (some are more willing than others)
● Response to crowds (can become anxious or distressed)
● Response to unfamiliar surroundings (may become anxious or withdrawn)
From a very early age, my son’s best friend was, and still is, a child with autism and we saw for ourselves that social interaction was a key component to his difficulty but as the years passed and he became comfortable with us socially we felt privileged to be accepted and trusted by him.
It is important to remember that obsessions for people with autism is a great source of enjoyment and pleasure. However, it does need to be managed so it doesn’t interfere with day to day activities but it can also lead to positive outcomes like having a career in their particular interest.
It’s worth noting a few of the famous Autistic People in history are/were:-
● Dan Aykroyd – Comedic Actor
● Hans Christian Andersen – Children’s Author
● Tim Burton & Stanley Kubrick – Film Directors
● James Joyce & Lewis Carroll – Authors
● Henry Cavendish – Scientist
● Charles Darwin – Naturalist, Geologist, and Biologist
● Emily Dickinson & William Butler Yeats – Poets
● Albert Einstein – Scientist & Mathematician
● Bobby Fischer – Chess Grandmaster
● Bill Gates – Co-founder of the Microsoft Corporation
● Steve Jobs – Former CEO of Apple
● Michelangelo – Sculptor, Painter, Architect, Poet
● Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Classical Composer
● Sir Isaac Newton – Mathematician, Astronomer, & Physicist
● Andy Warhol – Artist
● Ludwig Wittgenstein – Philosopher
I am looking forward to gaining more knowledge, finishing the other five units and perhaps passing on to you some more information and hopefully some strategies in dealing with them for the best outcome.