Module 2 - Autism Spectrum Disorders

Do people with autism spectrum disorders have challenging


People with autism can present with a range of behavioural symptoms which include poor sleep, problems with eating, hyperactivity, limited attention and concentration, impulsivity, self-injurious behaviour and aggression. Such behaviours can result from a wide range of causes and thorough assessment is required to ascertain whether such behaviours are longstanding and relate to core features of autism. Often the behaviours are a result of stress, particularly from changes in their routine or when new demands are made of them. Sometimes behaviour problems are due to the onset of mental illness and on occasion it can be the presentation of a medical problem. Many people with autism experience sensory stimuli differently to the rest of the population and sometimes this can lead to behavioural problems as they can have very strong reactions to some sensory experiences or fail to react at all to others. Examples can include a high pain threshold that means the person does not identify when they are hurt or ill. Poor recognition of feeling hot or cold can mean they don’t account for the temperature and they may overdress or underdress for the weather and have problems with getting too hot or cold. Other examples can include an oversensitivity to sound or touch, exaggerated responses to light or smells, fascination or idiosyncratic responses to specific sensory stimuli such as certain colours or smells. Often people with autism have a strong reaction to water and if they like it can happily spend hours in the shower.  
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