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Autism labels and language

If you are the parent of a child that you think may be on the autistic spectrum, you will almost definitely get asked the question: ‘But why would you want to give him or her a label?’ There are different kinds of labels, where autism is concerned – firstly, let's...

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Autistic burnout – what it it and how can we prevent it? (Autism / Asperger’s / ASC)

Autistic burnout is when the candle is being burned at both ends without enough replenishment to counteract the areas in which AN autistic individual especially struggles, or uses up the most energy units – e.g. social, communication and sensory. Everyone, no matter what their neurology, experiences low mood, tiredness and potentially has the capability to burn out – but autistic burnout is slightly different, in that it usually relates to the autist’s deficits and challenges.

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What’s echolalia; and is it an early sign of autism or Asperger’s?

Is echolalia an early sign of autism? Autism clincians describe both immediate echolalia and delayed echolalia; here, we discuss the speech pattern in more detail. Spotting autistic signs is about seeing patterns and frequencies; looking at the other elements of the child’s vocabulary; noticing how their peers talk in the same situation; and noticing whether echolalia is being used to help the child process language. Experts indicate that echolalia, as part of typical language development, has generally decreased drastically by the age of three, for typically developing children.

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The elephant in the room – it’s time to write about environmental toxins and autism; & how they may affect autistic individuals (written with a healthy dose of cynicism)

Environmental toxins and autism; & how they may affect autistic individuals. This article lists several studies that found sound links to environmental toxins and autism. We acknowledge that, with science advancing, there is every possibility that new studies will come out that do conclusively link toxins to autism. But in our option, there are far better things for people interested in learning more about autism to read and learn about, than detoxing children (without their consent!!!) from toxic heavy metal overload; for example, SEND support in schools, the male / female divide in autism, and the process of referral and diagnosis for autistic children in the local authority system.

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Judgements from families and educators, towards parents of undiagnosed autists: “I wouldn’t worry – we’re all a little bit autistic, aren’t we?” – and other stock-phrases

This article isn’t designed to belittle anyone for their lack of knowledge about autism. For example, outside of psychiatry circles, no-one had much awareness of autism until at least the 1990s; and the Government’s teacher training framework (that taught educators how to support children with special educational needs, especially autistic children), wasn’t rolled out until 2016. (Meaning many teaching or support staff members still lack some experience in the field.)

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The autism filter – and how it relates to an autistic child, and any challenging behaviour

For an autistic child, when we see challenging behaviour – such as impulsivity, irrationality and demand avoidance – it’s tempting to see all of these behaviours as choices. As if the child were able to add or remove their ‘autisticness’, and their ‘true self’ made poor decisions. On days when they appear ‘less autistic’ – e.g. more relaxed, aware of the effect of their behaviours, and less panicked about making choices – it may seem as if this is the real individual, and that autism is their alter-ego or shadow. Or that autism over-shadows them.

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