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about autism

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by a range of challenges in social interaction, communication, and restricted or repetitive behaviours. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), is a widely accepted guide used by clinicians to diagnose various conditions, including autism. According to the DSM-5 criteria, the diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder is based on the presence of two core domains: social communication and interaction, and restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities.

Social Communication and Interaction Challenges

Social-emotional reciprocity: Individuals with ASD may experience difficulties in engaging in reciprocal social interactions, such as having a conversation or sharing emotions appropriately.
Nonverbal communication: Challenges may arise in understanding and using gestures, facial expressions, and other nonverbal cues to facilitate

Developing and maintaining relationships: Difficulties may be observed in forming and maintaining relationships with peers and others, reflecting
challenges in adjusting behaviour to suit different social contexts.

Restricted, Repetitive Patterns of Behaviour, Interests, or Activities

Stereotyped or repetitive motor movements, use of objects, or speech: This criterion includes repetitive behaviours like hand-flapping, body rocking, or repeating phrases.
Insistence on sameness and routines: Individuals with ASD may display a strong preference for routines and may become distressed by changes in their environment or daily activities.
Highly restricted, fixated interests: People with ASD may develop intense interests in specific topics, objects, or activities to the exclusion of others.

further information

It is important to note however, that our understanding of autism has changed substantially over the last number of years. We now understand autism as part of the neurodiversity movement. Neurodiversity is an empowering concept that celebrates the diversity of neurological differences within the human population. It emphasises the idea that neuro-divergent individuals, including autistic, ADHD, dyslexic, and others, have unique strengths and perspectives that contribute to the richness of our society.

Neurodiversity recognizes that neurological differences are simply natural variations of the human brain, rather than disorders that need to be fixed or normalised. It embraces the idea that diversity in the way our brains work is as valuable as any other form of human diversity, such as differences in culture, race, or gender. By embracing neurodiversity, we shift our focus from fixing perceived deficits to recognizing and harnessing the inherent abilities of each child. This approach fosters a sense of pride, self-worth, and resilience.

In essence, neurodiversity invites us to celebrate the spectrum of human neurological differences. By acknowledging and appreciating the diverse ways in which our brains work, we create a world that is more compassionate, inclusive, and welcoming for all children. Seeing the ability in every child and allowing them to Shine by affording them individualised support, acceptance and understanding.

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