What is Autism?
Autism is a lifelong neuro psychological condition, affecting how a person communicates and relates with other people, it also affects how they perceive the world. Autism is a spectrum condition, meaning that whilst all autistic people share certain difficulties, their condition affects them in different ways. The three main areas of difficulty which all people with autism share are; difficulty with social communication, difficulty with social interaction and difficulty with social imagination.
‘Autism’ comes from the Greek word “autos,” meaning “self.” The term describes conditions in which a person is removed from social interaction – hence, an isolated self. Currently there is no known cause of autism. It is a complex condition, and may occur as a result of genetic predisposition, environmental or unknown factors. There is no known ‘cure’ for autism. This does not mean, however, that nothing can be done to help a person with autism. Astonishingly 70% of adults on the spectrum are unable to live independently, of these individuals, 49% live with family members. This can place huge strain on families and has established a need for day care establishments, to provide care for adults with additional needs. These establishments can provide these individuals with a range of skills and activities needed for a more enriching life whilst doing so in a safe, empowering environment. They also give other members of the families opportunities to partake in activities many would consider the ‘norm’, such as employment or taking non affected siblings out. On the 29th and 30th of March I have been given the opportunity to visit one such establishment, which I hope will give an insight into the challenges of caring for someone on the spectrum.