What is Autism?

ASD / Autism resources

There are so many misunderstandings about autism and there are many different opinions.  Over the past couple of years I have read a significant amount of material, been on courses and spoken to people about autism and I have now pulled together my thoughts on what autism is.

I have been reluctant to list typical traits related to people with autism, because every person with autism is an individual and presents very differently to the next .  Having said that I know when the first professional mentioned that my son may be autistic I found all the information very overwhelming, so I want to try and pull together the more helpful information I have found.  The last thing I want to do is offend anyone and I would welcome your comments if there is anything unclear or unhelpful here.

So here we go …

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Specialist Education Provision for children under 16 in the West of England

When I started to look at local specialist schools my local authority were very helpful but I soon realised that there was also many suitable schools in neighbouring local authorities which they were not able to provide information on.  I soon found this was a similar struggle for other parents.

So I have pulled together the information I have on schools and resource bases for children with disabilities and additional educational needs in the West of England, Continue reading “Specialist Education Provision for children under 16 in the West of England”

PECs – Picture Exchange Communication System (Phase One)

My son is almost four years old and I would class him as non-verbal. Unfortunately we have seen a number of regressions in relation to speech, we have periods where he has used a few single words but generally there is no speech.  At 2.5 he was diagnosed with autism but it was aged 2 that we started to engage with speech and language as it was clear he was delayed.

Our speech and language therapist was great (we were lucky), she explained that our son needed an alternative method of communication as it may be some time before his speech develops (assuming he will eventually speak).  The two most commonly used methods for children with autism are PECs and Makaton: Continue reading “PECs – Picture Exchange Communication System (Phase One)”

Social Stories

Social Stories are a fantastic tool for you to exchange information with a child, it provides a mechanism to introduce or discuss social interaction.

What are Social Stories?

A social story is a description (often with visual aids) about everyday activities or events that detail specific information relating to the situation and what to expect.  They were devised by Carol Gray to assist people with autism to understand and improve social skills. Social stories accurately describe a context, skill or achievement and are tailored specifically for the audience.  The purpose is to model appropriate social interaction- there are many social skills that most of us take for granted that are particularly difficult for people with autism to understand, social stories are one tool that can be helpful.  Continue reading “Social Stories”

Our Sleep Routine

Sleep is an area I have really struggled with, any new parent learns very quickly why sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture.  There are children and adults who sleep well and those who don’t, if your child is one who struggles with sleep then I feel your pain.  Unfortunately there are no magic answers to getting your child to sleep, having said that consistency and routine will help enormously along with lots of patience too.  Continue reading “Our Sleep Routine”

The Autism Show

17th June 2017, ExCel London

My first Autism Show! Not long after my son was diagnosed with autism last year I saw adverts for the 2016 Autism Show.  I have been to several shows like this before for work and for pleasure (e.g. the Good Food Show) but I decided that the Autism Show must be more geared to professionals. Looking back I think I was still processing the diagnosis and what autism was and so wasn’t ready to attend the show then.

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Top 7 Messy Play Activities

Most kids find messy play impossible to resist.  If you really can’t stand the thought of messy play in your house, do it in the garden or bathroom. If that is still too much keep an eye out for local playgroups or even messy play groups so the kids get to enjoy it but you don’t have to clean up.

Some kids will need a bit more encouragement and may need a bit of time before they want to get stuck in, some are more sensitive than others and some won’t like touching new things that feel odd while others will dive right in (literally).

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The Common Assessment Framework (CAF)

What is a Common Assessment Framework / CAF?

The Common Assessment Framework (CAF), it is a standardised document / assessment that is used across various agencies to identify a young child’s needs and plan a co-ordinated approach to meet those needs.

A CAF is usually used when a child requires additional support.  It can be driven by the parent or anyone working with the child, in our case it was suggested by our health visitor, she also completed the assessment and form.

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Speech and Language

Speech and language has become a huge part of my life over the last couple of years, my son is now three and a half and is non-verbal, he has started to speak three times but each time has regressed and we are currently back to no speech again.  My son has Autism and has complex speech and language delay, we currently use Picture Exchange Communication (PECs) as our main form of communication. My youngest son (one) is now starting to speak and all the skills I have learnt over the last couple of years are helpful for him too.  I plan to write many posts about speech and language but let’s start with some of the basics of speech and language and communication in autism. Continue reading “Speech and Language”