Autism, autism spectrum disorder, or ASD, is a type of neurodevelopmental disorder. This means that autism is present early in life and it is thought to be due to differences in the brain. Children with autism have difficulty with social communication and interacting with others. They also have restricted and repetitive behaviours, interests, and activities.
Without appropriate support, the characteristics associated with autism may make it harder for a child to function in social situations, at school, and/or at home. Autism is a broad spectrum, meaning that some children may require a lot more support than others. The amount and type of support that each child needs will also change as they develop.
Researchers are continually learning more about ASD, which has implications for which children are classified as having ASD. There also is a growing body of research on how to support children with ASD, however, there is still the need for much more research in this area.
Children with autism are more than capable of learning new skills and of interacting successfully with peers and adults. In some cases, they may need more support or different types of support to thrive. It is important to remember that every child with autism is different, and that no strategcy will work for every child. It is important to increase engagement and participation of children with autism, such as through hooking them with an activity or topic they particularly enjoy. Support communication and understanding through the use of pictures and visuals. It also is helpful to involve the parents.
Insights from our webinar with Hannah Waddington and Jessica Tupou on supporting autistic children in ECE settings
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