So now we have established that Ryan is Autistic and has a particular type know as Aspergers.
Well what is Autism and Aspergers and how do they differ?
If you have found this blog you may well already know the answers to these questions and I am certainly not trying to teach you to suck any proverbial eggs. However, if you are at the start of your journey then I hope this post and blog are of some use to you and will being to help guide you on your way. I am not an expert or recognised Autism professional, but I have sought education and training, and now have several qualifications in addition to my own experience as a parent to better support Ryan. I have became a qualified teaching assistant in 2008 and since 2012 have worked as a Speech and Language Therapy Assistant with children in a speech and language communication unit; several of which are also on the spectrum so I do feel I am well placed to offer support.
The following information is taken from the National Autistic Society literature that I received when I first joined them:
One person in 100 has autism. It is a lifelong developmental condition that affects how a person communicates with, and relates to, other people. It is also a spectrum condition, which means that, while all people with autism share certain difficulties, their condition will affect them in different ways. Asperger syndrome is a form of autism. Many people with autism are of average or above average intelligence. Some people with autism experience over - or under- sensitivity to sounds, touch, taste, smells, light or colours. People with autism often become extremely anxious in unexpected and unfamiliar situations.
Does the person:
- Avoid eye contact and behave inappropriately, unpredictably or unusually?Seem to struggle to understand you/take what you say very literally?
- Find it difficult to talk to you or seem inattentive or vague?
- Repeat what you or another person says?
- Speak honestly to the point of bluntness or rudeness?
- Appear to be over-compliant in some ways?
- Seem to be unusually anxious, agitated or even scared?
- Display repetitive, obsessional-type behaviour?
- Seem not to realise the consequences of their actions?
If so the person may have autism, but please note there are NOT diagnostic criteria and does NOT indicate someone has autism. If you are worried please seek formal advise and guidance from your health care professionals.
Suggested first steps:
- Be very patient and tolerant.
- Don’t insist on eye contact and try to avoid physical contact.
- Talk clearly, simplify your language and explain specifically what it is you want.
- Try to keep things as calm as possible.
- Protect them from noisy and crowded area and try to arrange for them to be in quiet surroundings.
- Try to ensure that they have familiar people deal with them.
Ryan says he is not different from anybody else, he simply has a unique mindset.