Here at Running Deer we have a number of students whom have a diagnosis of ASD. I just wanted to share some of what I understand about the condition.
Autism Spectrum Disorder
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a lifelong condition which consists of two main areas of impairment; social communication/interactions and restrictive, repetitive patterns of behaviour (5th ed.; DSM-5; American Psychiatric Association, 2013).
It is thought that there are around 700,000 people in the United Kingdom who have a diagnosis of ASD, which amounts to more than 1 in 100 (The National Autistic society, 2016). When families are considered, it is thought that more than 2.8 million people in the United Kingdom alone are affected (The National Autistic society, 2016).
The condition was first diagnosed by Kanner (1943) and there have been varying debates about the nature of the condition.
It has typically been seen to include two core features: impairment in socio-communicative situations, with restricted, repetitive behaviours also common. However, there have been debates about whether they are distinct conditions within autism and one suggestion had been that there is a condition labelled Asperger syndrome, in which people do not show delay in speech acquisition.
People with an Asperger diagnosis were often referred to as having ‘high functioning autism’ and were placed at the opposite end of the spectrum to those with classic autism (Kamp-Becker et al, 2010).
This concept has been displaced in DSM5 due to it being too variable and the conceptualisation is now of autism as a spectrum condition ranging from severe – mild – moderate.
It is still not understood what the cause of autism is with many different ideas put forward, but what is known is that it is not because of any vaccines and it is certainly not down to down to ‘bad parenting’.