Autistic Spectrum Disorder
Autistic Spectrum Disorder affects up to 12 children per 10,000 (Fombonne, 2003). However, The National Autistic Society has recently estimated that the prevalence rate may in fact be nearer to 1 in 100. Each child with autism or Asperger Syndrome is unique but all will have some difficulties in the realms of: communication/ language; socialisation; flexibility of thought and behaviour. Some children's development differs only slightly from that of their typically developing peers: others have more severe difficulties and find any interaction challenging.
Autistic Spectrum Disorder is a life-long condition that cannot be cured. However, children can be helped to learn the sorts of skills that will enable them to reach their potential. Early intensive intervention helps children on the autistic spectrum to learn and to develop.
Ref: Fombonne, E 2003 Epidemiological surveys of autism and other pervasive developmental disorders: an update. Journal of Autism and Developments Disorders. 33: 365-382
One would expect to see a year on year improvement in the child's functioning. The graph below shows verbal IQ and expressive language functioning from a group of children following an intensive behavioural intervention programme.
Ref: Sallows, G and Graupner, T 2005 Intensive behavioural treatment for children with autism: four year outcome and predictors. American Journal on Mental Retardation Vol 110 (6) 417-438
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