Autistic Spectrum Disorders

Jake is on the Autistic Spectrum

Jake is nearly 4 and he hears too much and puts his hands over his ears, he does not like being cuddled or touched. Jake speaks very little and when he does he repeats words or phrases inappropriately. He loves music especially nursery rhymes… read more >

Cluas Programmes

Our Cluas @ Home programmes throughout Ireland and Centre Based programmes in Dublin are provided for Children on the Autistic Spectrum.

Most parents of autistic children suspect that something is wrong by the time their child is 18 months old – and seek help by the time the child is age 2. Children with autism typically have symptoms in their communication and social difficulties. Some children with autism appear to develop normally before age 1 or 2 and then suddenly “regress” and lose language or social skills they had previously gained.

What traits or signs of Autism might you recognise in a young child?

A child may have sensory processing difficulties and be overly sensitive to sound, light or touch. He may find normal noises painful and hold hands over his ears or refuse to wear “itchy” clothes and can withdraw from physical contact because it is over-stimulating or overwhelming.

Social interaction may be impossible for some children. He does not make friends or play interactive games. He may be withdrawn and not respond to eye contact or smiles, or may avoid eye contact. He may treat others as if they are objects, showing a lack of empathy and preferring to spend time alone, rather than with others

At play a child might not imitate the actions of others, preferring solitary or ritualistic play. He can show little pretend or imaginative play. He may get stuck on a single topic or task. He may have a short attention span and very narrow interests.

Autistic children’s communication problems may include an inability to start or maintain a social conversation or communicating. They may develop language slowly – or not at all. They may not adjust their gaze to look at objects that others are looking at. They might not refer to themselves correctly and they may not point to direct others’ attention to objects.

Some children repeat words or memorized passages, such as phrases from television or use nonsense rhyming. They may get severely distressed when routines are changed. Some children can be overactive or others very passive and show aggression to others or themselves. Children may have intense ‘tantrum’ like incidents. These symptoms may vary from moderate to severe.

May 2013 – Susan told us about her son, aged 5 …

“Niall was diagnosed as being on the Autistic spectrum and having a learning disability as well as speech and language delay. Since doing the Cluas program his speech and communication has improved drastically. His understanding has also improved and his Speech and Language therapist is amazed at the rate of improvement.

His school say ‘he is a different child’ in terms of how well his speech and understanding have come on. His learning disability is now quite mild so that it has become easier for the teachers to teach Niall new things, which he is now able to grasp very quickly. His body language has changed and improved so much that a stranger would not be able to tell that he has difficulties. Things have also become less stressful at home as he is able to play more appropriately alone and with his brother.”

What is Autism?

Autistic Spectrum Disorder is a developmental disorder that appears in the first 3 years of life, and affects the normal development of social and communication skills.

Autism is sometimes called Pervasive Developmental Disorder, because it has an impact on a wide variety of abilities and restricts development across those abilities.

It is a physical condition linked to abnormal biology and chemistry in the brain. The exact causes of these abnormalities remain unknown, but this is a very active area of research. There are probably combinations of factors that lead to autism.

Genetic factors seem to be important. For example, identical twins are much more likely than fraternal twins or siblings to both have autism. Similarly, language abnormalities are more common in relatives of autistic children. Chromosomal abnormalities and other nervous system (neurological) problems are also more common in families with autism. It affects boys 3 – 4 times more often than girls.

Back to Symptoms of Autism

Jake is on the Autistic Spectrum

RTE Radio 1 Interview with a parent

Derek Mooney is joined in the studio by Eddie, father of 3 year old Tristan who was diagnosed with Autism, and has been following a programme in Cluas, for over a year … listen to the interview >

Jake hears too much and puts his hands over his ears, he does not like being cuddled or touched. Jake speaks very little and when he does he repeats words or phrases inappropriately. He loves music especially nursery rhymes. He generally wants to play alone finding it very difficult to share and play with others. He gets bored easily and does not spend long at any one activity. Jake often spins himself and flaps his hands or touches his fingers.

The vestibular system which is in the inner ear is involved with the sense of balance, coordination, muscle tone, touch and the other senses. The middle ear contains two tiny muscles called the hammer muscle and the stirrup muscle, both of these muscles are involved in filtering sounds. If these muscles are not working well, a person will hear too much and will not be able to listen to what is important. Listening Programmes at Cluas work on both the middle ear and the inner ear.

At Cluas Jake has had his own individually designed Listening program.  We use classical music over the course of the program and he has become less sensitive to sound. He now speaks in longer sentences and more appropriately. He has begun to play with the other children and be less demanding.

He now spins and flaps a lot less thanks to the work of his Cluas program using classical music to work on Jake’s vestibular system in the inner ear, which controls his balance co-ordination and muscle tone.

His mother says that he is much happier in himself and is communicating more often and more easily with his family.

Back to Symptoms of Autism

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Back to Symptoms of Autism and Jake’s Story