Autism (or Autism Spectrum Disorder – ASD) is a lifelong developmental disability that can cause significant social, communication and behavioural challenges for children and adults. People on the spectrum often communicate differently, although there may be nothing about the way they look that sets them apart.
1. An estimated 1 in 70 Australians are on the autism spectrum
That is approximately 353,880 people living with ASD in Australia. It is four times more common in boys than girls (Aspect Australia).
2. Every person with ASD is an individual
Autism advocate, Dr Stephen Shore, famously said; “If you’ve met one person with Autism, you’ve met one person with Autism.” There is great diversity within the autism spectrum. Whilst differences in communication, social interaction, sensory receptivity, and highly focused are common in those with ASD, it’s important to understand that these characteristics blend differently for each individual.
3. Communication may be a challenge
People with ASD often struggle with small talk or social etiquette. They may not realise if they are talking too long or in too much detail about their special interest.
Autism.org.uk has some useful tips on communication with someone on the spectrum, such as:
- using their name to get attention, making sure they’re listening
- speaking less or repeating keywords
- keeping questions short or offering choice, like ‘which option do you prefer?’
- being aware of excess sensory input that may be distracting
- avoiding irony, sarcasm, figurative language, rhetorical questions or exaggeration
4. People on the spectrum make great employees
Research shows that there are business benefits to hiring neuro-diverse staff. This is sometimes described as diversity in thinking and innovation, and in thinking styles and abilities. “People on the spectrum often demonstrate trustworthiness, strong memories, reliability, adherence to rules and attention to detail. They are often good at coding – a skill in high demand,” says Training Industry.
5. Individuals with ASD can continuously improve.
Autism is not degenerative. Individuals are likely to improve and thrive with specialised, individualised services and opportunities for supported inclusion.
LiveBig offers a range of supports for those on the spectrum including Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy and Behaviour Support.
If you or your family member is on the Autism Spectrum and would like to know more about LiveBig’s services, contact us today.