Autistic Spectrum Conditions And The Triad Of Impairments
Autism is an enduring developmental disability affecting individuals in areas such as communication and interaction with people. Autism is more common in boys than in girls.
So, what is autism spectrum disorder? Autism can be described as a spectrum of symptoms that vary a great deal from being mild to very severe. However, people with autism share a few common characteristics. The ‘triad of impairment’ describes the core features that they all mutually share. Below mentioned are the three areas of deficiencies found in children with an autism spectrum disorder.
Impairment in imagination
Insufficiencies in areas of flexible thinking concerning interests, routines, and rules. Individuals with autism:
- Does not understand the people’s feelings
- Are easily agitated by changes in their routine
- Cannot understand information
- Have special interests in certain things
2. Impairments In Social Relationships
Individuals with autism have a deficit in understanding how to interact and behave with people. They may show the following
- Inappropriate retaliation when touched
- Find difficulty understanding, avoiding eye contact, showing facial expression, non-verbal communication, etc.
- Inability to interact with strangers, relatives, etc., and to initiate a friendship
3. Impairments In Social Communication
Deficits in communicating effectively with other people are linked with symptoms like:
- Repetitive behavior
- Cannot ‘read’ or understand what people mean
- Aimlessly talk about anything, regardless of the listener’s response
- Make comments which are inappropriate to the topic discussed
- The absence of desire to communicate
- The preference to be left alone or staying aloof
4. Additional Difficulties
Other problems found in children with autism are related to sensory difficulties. They are often:
- Are sensitive to loud noises
- Are hyper or hypo to touch, clothes, smell and certain textures
- Have mood swings e.g. aggression or depression
- Have motor difficulties and often walk on tip-toes and lose balance
- Experience difficulties in paying attention and get easily distracted
Activities Of Daily Living (ADL)
Children with autism have deficits in attention skills, mood swings, and various sensory impairments, they may not inherit the skills of doing their daily things all by themselves. They may learn a few self-care skills by imitating what they see and are easily motivated to do things to be called ‘big kids’.
At times, the children may have impaired fine motor skills which make buttoning the shirt or tying shoelace a challenge. They need intense and systematic instructions and therapies to activate or revive essential self-care skills. A variety of therapies involving visual and demonstrative strategies are employed to minimize the child’s dependence on their caregivers. Visually cued instructions are used to teach various self-help skills.
Occupational therapy helps individuals to enhance their cognitive, motor, physical, and social skills. The goal of OT is to improve everyday skills and allow people to become more independent in a wide range of activities.
Autism And Its Impact On Academics
Children with autism spectrum disorder develop differently. They do not develop skills in the same order as other developing children. In some of them, the symptoms of autism:
- Affects their attention and interaction
- Affects understanding
- Affects the abilities to focus, pay attention, memorize, work cooperatively
Thus, the answer to the query, ‘what is autism spectrum disorder’ is the difficulty faced by the kids in the above-mentioned areas. Autism spectrum disorder can affect a child’s learning and development and thus, evolving challenges which affect or impacts the learning capability in a child with autism.