Last updateMon, 28 Jan 2013 9pm

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How do I find out if my child is on the spectrum?

Q. So how can I find out if my child is on the spectrum?

A. The first port of call usually is the family physician/medical advisor. This should result in a referral to a specialist in ASC’s. Sadly as the diagnosis is relatively young, there are few specialists around so you could have a bit of a wait on your hands. Our advice is to do your research first and find out who in your local area may be able to help.

How do you get Autism?

Q. So how do you get it? Can you catch it or did I do something wrong when my child was a baby? I blame myself.

A. No you cannot catch ASC’s or can you contaminate your child with mercury or any other chemical! The MMR vaccination has been the subject of much controversy in the United Kingdom specifically but much of that research has been found to be flawed and the doctor responsible for the report is currently under investigation by the United Kingdoms professional body for Doctors. Here at Jelibean we recommend strongly that every child is protected by this vaccine.  It is Jelibean’s belief based on much academic research that being on the spectrum is genetic. So look around you …who else has always been ‘different’ in your family…or maybe it is you! If so WELCOME!

What is AUTISTIC SPECTRUM DISORDER in one paragraph!

Q.What are Autism Spectrum Disorders?

A. Autism Spectrum Conditions, for short ASC’s (we don’t like ‘disorders’) are a developmental neurological difference. Here at Jelibean we do not believe that ASC’s are a deficit, disability or disorder, we prefer ‘difference’. Many professionals will refer to Aspergers Syndrome or Autism as being ASD’s. But here at Jelibean we embrace all those with developmental neurological differences. We include ADD, ADHD and all the other associated ‘conditions’.

Is Autism scary? Superpowers?

Q. Autism sounds scary, does everyone have  a superpowers?

A. Don’t be scared! Being different also means being special. Being on the spectrum gives us a few super powers as well as difficulties! Many will have very specific special interests that they become experts in (I know everything there is to know now about Marshall Amps!). Attention to detail is second to none, we don’t miss a trick!  Jelibeans rarely lie (Check out Oppositional Defiance Disorder) often getting very upset if they are blamed for something they didn’t do! Jelibeans also have very hyper and hypo sensory issues which go unnotices. My son’s hearing could pick up the super high frequency of a bat yet he can’t hear his teacher telling him to concentrate! He loves tomato ketchup but hates the texture of tomatoes in his mouth.  Communicating is a bit of a problem sometimes too! We say things we don’t mean, repeat ourselves, look blankly into space sometimes and blurt out inappropriate words at inappropriate times! It is all part of being a jelibean! But you won’t find anyone harder working, more eager to please or keen to try, we may not be the easiest people to deal with sometimes but if you give us a chance we often rise to the challenge the best way we can.

What does HIGH FUNCTION mean?

The Autism world is full of the word 'FUNCTION'. So what does that mean in everyday terms. We hear both terms

Low function Autism

High Function Autism

Sadly there are still some that measure IQ to determine function. The magic 70 normally the fine line - above 70 = HIGH FUNCTION whilst below 70 = LOW FUNCTION.

It is our experience that the IQ is irrelevant often. A child or person with an IQ of 130 is just as likely to struggle as a person with an IQ of 68. There are many that Jelibean are in contact with who are unable to leave their houses or cope with independant living, managing their money, and generally surviving yet they have a very high IQ. Autism has no part in determining or affecting intellect.

Within many areas in the UK determining IQ will determine whether your child gets a place within a mainstream school or a special school. Function is a word Jelibean try to steer away from. Our view is that a child who cannot get out of bed without help or encouragement or, maybe is struggling to cope with school, suffering from regular anxiety attacks/meltdowns cannot be said to be 'functioning'. A child at a special school although with a lower IQ may be going through exactly the same.

Recently Jelibean met with a young man diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome. His IQ clearly 140+,  he was at university in his first year. Sadly 3months later he had to return home. He couldn't get himself to his lectures on his own. He struggled to look after himself, in fact he neglected himself, ending up holed up in his room alone. He quit university and has since returned home to his mum where he feels safe. If this young man had an IQ of 68 would he have easier access to supported living and support? It is highly likely that he would.