Children with autism are not all alike. In fact they can be as different from each other as any other child. There is an ‘autistic spectrum’ and children may be on different points of it. Some children have difficulties alongside their autism, which may affect their education and their overall emotional and social development.
Other autistic children may be able to learn as well as, or even better than, children of the same age who don’t have autism. Very rarely, a child with autism may truly shine at one or two particular skills such as maths, music or art.
Autism affects the ability and desire to connect with other people, and so autism in children affects the child’s ability to form relationships with others.
Most children with autism look as ‘normal’ as any other child, though their behaviour or possibly their speech, may make them seem different. It may or may not be obvious to people outside the family that a child has autism. At first there is probably no real sign of it. In fact, some children with autism are not diagnosed for a while, as the symptoms of autism are not always clear-cut.
What children with autism do have in common, is a serious communication difficulty, and often this only becomes clear as they emerge from babyhood. A toddler can develop normally, and then he may start to ‘go backwards’, stopping learning to talk, for instance when he had been making progress.
What can you do to help children with autism?
A child with autism has problems understanding the ways of the world, and other people’s behaviour. There is no actual cure for autism, though some people do develop ways of living independently, and overcoming some of the most problematic aspects of the condition.
Some researchers and doctors have discovered that the majority of respondents said their child had other problems like ADHD, dyspraxia, mental health problems.
The very individual nature of autism is one of the reasons why treatment or therapy is such a challenge. Other conditions may be complicating the pictures as well as the fact that autism can be different in every child.
There has been cases of twins, both with autism where one was helped by therapy and the other one wasn’t. It can be very hard to evaluate therapies, and in fact, there is very little evidence base for many therapies. But absence of evidence doesn’t mean the therapy is of no value. It may mean that a detailed research hasn’t yet been done.
Research into children with autism
Research needs to improve, so treatment can be based on what is likely to help the majority of children with autism. Structured educational programmes, where the child can be helped to understand in advance what’s going to happen, are normally helpful.
Autistic children dislike change, and prefer routine. Therapies and interventions that acknowledge this are more likely to be effective.
Need help? Need to speak to someone? Or do you need to know more about autism?
5, Ang Mo Kio Avenue 10, Singapore 569739
Tel: (65) 6459 9951
Rainbow Center (Margaret Drive)
501 Margaret Drive, Singapore 149306
Tel: (65) 6472 7077
Rainbow Center (Margaret Drive)
15 Yishun Street 61, Singapore 768548
Tel: (65) 6482 2592
Singapore School for the Deaf
227 Mountbatten Road, Singapore 397998
Tel: (65) 6345 6765
St Andrew’s Autism School (7-18 years)
(Temporary) St. Andrew Community Hospital, Level 10, 8 Simei Street 3
(After 2010) 1 Eilliot Road
Tel: (65) 6586 1021
St. Clare – School for Special Needs
102B Upper Aljunied Road, Singapore 367881
Tel: (65) 6284 1909