Last updateMon, 28 Jan 2013 9pm

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What is the Autistic Spectrum all about

Q.What are Autism Spectrum Disorders?

A. Autism Spectrum Disorders are a developmental neurological difference. You can find the diagnostic criteria in DSM IV or in ICD 10. They invove three main difficulties: those of social communication (in the diagnositc criteria as social difficulties AND language difficulties, which we think are more or less the same thing), those of inflexibility (leading to insisting on routines and some obsessions and perseverations), and those of unusual sensory perceptions (not listed in the diagnostic criteria, but referred to in the original criteria as described by Leo Kanner and Hans Asperger).



Here at Jelibean we call them ASCs or Autism Spectrum Conditions. We do not believe that ASCs are a deficit, disability or disorder. We prefer ‘difference’. But at the same time we acknowledge that this difference is not well understood and therefore not well tolerated by others, and this can often lead to those on the spectrum feeling, quite rightly, that they have been disabled by others. Yet all it would take is understanding, and some easily-accomplished changes in attitude and in environment, to accommodate the differences.

We include AD/HD and all the other associated ‘conditions’ when we refer to the autism spectrum, as it's known that because many conditions here overlap, sometimes children can be misdiagnosed as to their real position on the spectrum. AD/HD, for instance, overlaps with autism to a degree of over 50%, according to researcher Christopher Gillberg, and a diagnosis of DAMP (Deficits in Attention, Motor Control, and Perception) is often given to these children.