What is autism?
Autism spectrum disorder is part of the set of neurodevelopmental disorders described in DSM-V. It is a disorder usually present in early childhood, but may become more evident at the time of entry to school.
Characteristics: Autism spectrum disorder is characterized by significant difficulties in two areas: communication and social interactions, and restricted or repetitive behaviours, activities and interests.
Communication and social interactions:
There are persistent difficulties marked by an absence or lack of social reciprocity. Between paying no attention to the other and not knowing how to initiate an interaction, several manifestations are possible. Difficulties are also present in non-verbal communication. For example, it is often complex for an autistic person to understand what is implied in the intonation used by the person being talked about or in raising eyebrows. Moreover, the implicit rules of social interactions are not acquired instinctively, social relationships may not be appropriate for the age of the person.
Restricted or repetitive behaviours, activities and interests:
In some people with autism, interests may be few but very developed. Repetitive activities or behaviours such as strange manipulation of objects (aligning or twirling), unusual body movements (swinging, twisting or clapping), etc. Changes can lead to significant distress accompanied by often sudden and excessive emotional reactions. Repetitive activities have a reassuring effect because of their familiarity.
Since May 2013, autism disorder, unspecified pervasive developmental disorder and Asperger’s syndrome have been combined under the same name of autism spectrum disorder. Rett syndrome is no longer part of ASD, it is considered a rare genetic disease. Some authors claim that childhood disintegrative disorder is part of the spectrum, while others argue that it is excluded. This syndrome is also very rare.
Did you know that?
When your child is diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and starts school, you can get help with children in difficulty. It is simply a matter of contacting the school management for a meeting and providing the psychological assessment demonstrating the diagnosis. The school team will be able to direct you through the process of identification while explaining the services that exist for your child.
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TSA and technology
People from all walks of life and backgrounds can be victims of online harassment and cybercrime. However, studies have shown that people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are more exposed to online threats than others.
Children and adults with ASD are not only vulnerable to others. Indeed, they are also likely to develop compulsive habits online and Internet addictions, and to be more affected by exposure to inappropriate content.
Everyone should feel safe online. It is therefore extremely important to ensure that your online security is adequate, and to be constantly vigilant on the Internet.
To learn more, we invite you to take a look at the Internet Safety Guide for people with ASD.