What is Autism

What is Autism

ABOUT AUTISM

Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how people perceive the world and interact with others.

Autistic people see, hear and feel the world differently to other people. If you are autistic, you are autistic for life; autism is not an illness or disease and cannot be ‘cured’. Often people feel being autistic is a fundamental aspect of their identity.

Autism is a spectrum condition. All autistic people share certain difficulties, but being autistic will affect them in different ways. All people on the autism spectrum learn and develop. With the right sort of support, all can be helped to live a more fulfilling life of their own choosing.

At present, there is no epidemiological data available on the prevalence of autism in Malaysia. However, a smaller scale study by the Ministry of Health on children between the ages 18 to 26 months showed a rate of 1.6 in 1000 children, or approximately 1 in 62512.

Given that many cases go undetected, and that additionally, practitioners in both the medical and education fields report an increase the amount of autism cases they are having to address 13,14, it is likely that the true prevalence rate of autism in Malaysia is higher.

On March 27, 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new data on the prevalence of autism in the United States. This surveillance study identified 1 in 68 children (1 in 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls) as having autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

How is Autism Diagnosed?

The characteristics of autism vary from one person to another, but in order for a diagnosis to be made, a person will usually be assessed as having had persistent difficulties with social communication and social interaction and restricted and repetitive patterns of behaviours, activities or interests since early childhood, to the extent that these “limit and impair everyday functioning”.

Social CommunicationSocial InteractionRepetitive Behaviour & RoutinesHighly-focused InterestsSensory Sensitivity
Autistic people have difficulties with interpreting both verbal and non-verbal language like gestures or tone of voice. Many have a very literal understanding of language, and think people always mean exactly what they say. They may find it difficult to use or understand:

  • facial expressions
  • tone of voice
  • jokes and sarcasm

Some may not speak, or have fairly limited speech. They will often understand more of what other people say to them than they are able to express, yet may struggle with vagueness or abstract concepts. Some autistic people benefit from using, or prefer to use, alternative means of communication, such as sign language or visual symbols. Some are able to communicate very effectively without speech.

Others have good language skills, but they may still find it hard to understand the expectations of others within conversations, perhaps repeating what the other person has just said (this is called echolalia) or talking at length about their own interests.
It often helps to speak in a clear, consistent way and to give autistic people time to process what has been said to them.

Autistic people often have difficulty ‘reading’ other people – recognising or understanding others’ feelings and intentions – and expressing their own emotions. This can make it very hard for them to navigate the social world. They may:

  • appear to be insensitive
  • seek out time alone when overloaded by other people
  • not seek comfort from other people
  • appear to behave ‘strangely’ or in a way thought to be socially inappropriate.

Autistic people may find it hard to form friendships. Some may want to interact with other people and make friends, but may be unsure how to go about it.

The world can seem a very unpredictable and confusing place to autistic people, who often prefer to have a daily routine so that they know what is going to happen every day. They may want to always travel the same way to and from school or work, or eat exactly the same food for breakfast.

The use of rules can also be important. It may be difficult for an autistic person to take a different approach to something once they have been taught the ‘right’ way to do it. People on the autism spectrum may not be comfortable with the idea of change, but may be able to cope better if they can prepare for changes in advance.

Many autistic people have intense and highly-focused interests, often from a fairly young age. These can change over time or be lifelong, and can be anything from art or music, to trains or computers. An interest may sometimes be unusual. One autistic person loved collecting rubbish, for example. With encouragement, the person developed an interest in recycling and the environment.

Many channel their interest into studying, paid work, volunteering, or other meaningful occupation. Autistic people often report that the pursuit of such interests is fundamental to their wellbeing and happiness.

Autistic people may also experience over- or under-sensitivity to sounds, touch, tastes, smells, light, colours, temperatures or pain. For example, they may find certain background sounds, which other people ignore or block out, unbearably loud or distracting. This can cause anxiety or even physical pain. Or they may be fascinated by lights or spinning objects.
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Causes and Cures of Autism

The exact cause of autism is still being investigated. Research into causes suggests that a combination of factors – genetic and environmental – may account for differences in development. Autism is not caused by a person’s upbringing, their social circumstances and is not the fault of the individual with the condition.

Is there a cure?
There is no ‘cure’ for autism. However, Autism is treatable.

Who Do I Need for Assistance and/or Assessments?

Parents/teachers should seek for an assessment by a qualified professional:

  • Pediatriacian
  • Developmental Paediatrician
  • Child Psychologist
  • Child Psychiatrist
  • Clinical Psychologist

If your child is not meeting the appropriate milestones; or present with some or all signs of Autism.
*Contact us at +03 2201 1107 for references to get your child assessed.

OUR SERVICES

  • center based
    ABA Therapy goals include speech and communication, PECS, life and independence skills,
    school readiness skills, social skills, sensory integration and behavior management. We provide an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) and individualized education and goals for each child.
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  • Home based
    ABA Therapy goals include speech and communication, PECS, life and independence skills,
    school readiness skills, social skills, sensory integration and behavior management. We provide an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) and individualized education and goals for each child.
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  • Shadow AIDE / PLA Support
    A trained ABA therapist supporting in school to assist in communication, socialisation, emotion regulation, academics, taking and following through instructions and tasks
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  • occupational therapy
    Occupational therapy is now available in ABC to support gross and fine motor skills, sensory integration and functional life skills. Sessions available on Saturdays.
    Weekday slots 8.30am, 10.30am, 1pm, 3pm, 4.30pm.
    Weekend slots 9am, 10.15am, 11.30am, 1pm.
    ALL SLOTS ARE 45 mins therapy, 10 mins feedback with parents.
    PRICE : RM150(Weekday) | RM200(Weekend)
    INITIAL ASSESSMENT : RM250 including report
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  • intensive aba therapy in mandarin
    Due to the extensive demand of families that are mandarin speaking primarily, we are now providing ABA therapy in MANDARIN.
    ABC现已提供以华语为媒介语教学方式的应用行为分析法 (ABA)。
    应用行为分析法 (ABA)的基本原则是给予正面奖励的方式。它能改善孩子的沟通和语言能力,独立能力,眼神接触,生活技能,社交能力,行为管理,情绪调节和学前预备。
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  • social skills groups
    ABC will be running daily social skills class to teach and support social skills ( social thinking, communication, turn taking, waiting, social based games).
    Daily social skills class, FREE for the first visit, RM30 per class subsequently. Siblings join for a reduced price of RM10 per sibling (ages 2-7)!
    Times: 9.30-10.15am and 1.30-2.15pm Monday to Friday.
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  • Parent and Teacher Workshops
    Our team is able to travel to you, anywhere in Malaysia to provide ABA training and behavior management support
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  • intensive holiday program
    INTENSIVE HOLIDAY PROGRAM focusing on increasing attention, play skills, speech, communication, school readiness skills and academics for children 2-6 years old.
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  • free autism screenings & autism awareness talk
    Is this a FREE service provided to push for early intervention. If you are a preschool/Montessori/ day care, contact us for more information.
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