What is Autism
Autism is a lifelong disability that affects a person’s social and communication abilities.
People with autism may repeat actions such as lining up objects or have specific interests or thoughts that can dominate their lives.
Some people with autism find their sensory world unusual and occasionally anxiety provoking.
Autism can come with a range of challenges in making sense of the world but it can also give people advantages, such as in memory or in concentrating on tasks.
The autism spectrum is broad. Some people have no language, intellectual difficulties and not communicate with others. Other people on the autism spectrum may have very good or even advanced language skills but find social behaviour hard to figure out.
Some people who have autism may have additional medical conditions such as epilepsy, sleep difficulties and mental health problems.
What professionals might support children with these conditions and how might they help the child?
Behaviour support team - The teams support families by assessing a child's challenging behaviour and introducing a behaviour management programme. To access a behaviour support team, you will often need a referral from your GP.
Counsellors and psychotherapists - Counsellors and psychotherapists are able to talk through various issues with individuals and families. Counselling can be accessed on the NHS.
Educational psychologist - Educational psychologists are involved in assessing children's educational needs. They are usually employed by local education authorities.
GP – Your GP or family doctor can make referrals to relevant professionals for you.
Occupational therapist – Occupational therapists are often concerned with the difficulties people have in carrying out everyday activities. They can help with therapeutic techniques, adaptations to the environment, and specialist equipment.
Paediatrician - They are experts in the health and development of children, particularly those with developmental disorders. Paediatricians are often involved in the initial diagnosis of autism and offer follow-up support in some cases
Psychiatrist – Psychiatrists are able to make a diagnosis of autism and may offer a follow-up service. Psychiatrists are often involved where there are behavioural issues or mental health difficulties, and are able to prescribe and monitor medication.
Speech and language therapist – Speech and language therapists assess speech, language and communication abilities. They can carry out therapy to assist with specific difficulties, and may also be involved in implementing alternative communication. Speech and language therapists are often involved in the diagnosis of autism, working as part of a team.
What might happen if they are not identified or supported correctly
If these children are undiagnosed or not supported properly they will miss out on leading a normal life as early intervention has proven that if supported and treated properly children with autism can lead normal lives.
They will also miss out on learning the communication skills that lead to a more normal functioning social life.
Children with additional needs
What is Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy is the most common motor disability in childhood. This condition is caused by injury or lack of development to the child’s brain during pregnancy or shortly after birth. Cerebral palsy is a non-progressive condition. The injury stays the same and the symptoms do not worsen with age.
A child with cerebral palsy may require the use of a walker or wheelchair, and might favour one side of their body over the other, resulting in delays in crawling and walking.
Cerebral palsy can also cause impaired movement, involuntary movements, and abnormal posture. A child with cerebral palsy might also have vision and hearing problems. All of these physical limitations and challenges can cause a child to reach developmental milestones