What is Autism ?

What is Autism ?

Autism is an invisible developmental disability whereby the brain functions and processes things in a different way.  About 1 in 59 children has been identified with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) according to 2019 estimates from CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network. 

The HSE states on their website that ‘Autism is a disability that affects the normal development of the brain in areas of social interaction and communication. The first signs of autism usually appear as developmental delays before the age of 3. Autism is described as a ‘spectrum’ disorder. This means that the symptoms and characteristics of autism can present themselves in a wide variety of combinations and can range from mild to severe. Autism has no outward physical signs.’

According to ASIAM.ie one of Ireland’s Autism organisations, they describe the areas of difficulty for those on the spectrum below:

The areas of difficulty for those on the spectrum can largely be summed up under 4 headings:

  • Social Communication
  • Social Imagination
  • Social Interaction
  • Sensory Processing

 Until Autism affected our life and our son was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, we had no idea of what Autism really was or what it is like to have a child with Autism. Raising a child with Autism or any child with special needs is challenging but also very rewarding and it opens up your eyes to a new way of looking at the world. It can make you realise what really is important in life and the little things that you once stressed about are no longer a big a deal as you previously thought.

Sometimes small unexpected changes can be a challenge for our son and this can be difficult to understand from the outside. We are learning that raising a child with Autism, with the right supports to reach their potential can bring lots of joy. We have so much still to learn about Autism and each day brings something new to learn.  

As well as difficulties that comes with Autism there is also many strengths. Some of these strengths we noticed with our son our are:

  • Exceptional memory
  • High level of motivation and passion in topics and activities of interest
  • Ability to follow instructions and rules accurately when taught in the correct way
  • Ability to see the world from a different perspective and so bring a different insight
  • Tendency to be honest
  • Unique sense of humour
  • Great attention to detail 

Information on the signs to detect Autism and more information about Autism in general can be found by contacting:

www.asiam.ie , www.hse.ie or www.autism.ie