ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) is a term that encompasses the various subgroups that effect sufferers of autism. Although variations exist within each of the subgroup categories, ASD sufferers share a common group of impairments. These entail difficulties in grasping nonverbal and verbal communication methods, understanding social behaviour and thinking and acting in a flexible manner. ASD support workers work with ASD sufferers to develop their social and emotional abilities.
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People suffering from an ASD find it hard to interpret the words and body language of others. They also struggle to express themselves, with many experiencing impaired language development and some not learning to speak at all. An ASD support worker teaches autistic individuals the role played by communication in social and educational settings. An ASD support worker offers intensive support to autistic sufferers, educating them on the meaning of photographs, physical gestures, speech and literature, to instil a broad sense of the range and meaning of communication methods.
Sufferers of ASD find it difficult to interpret the social cues inherent in other people's behaviour. They also find it hard to behave in ways appropriate to the situation at hand, often becoming upset or hysterical in seemingly nonthreatening situations. They may also struggle to understand the social, practical context of language and find it hard to consider the views or needs of others when acting, as stated on the Medicine Net website. Children with an ASD are often misinterpreted by adults as being disruptive children. An ASD support worker helps those who suffer from autism to develop their emotional range so they can react appropriately to a given situation. This may involve behavioural therapy, in which ASD sufferers are given practical strategies to alter their actions and thinking patterns. They are also taught to incorporate viewpoints other than their own into their habits of thinking by learning that a social situation involves many people who possess a range of feelings.
Children who suffer from ASD typically play with toys in an unusual manner and in isolation from other children. Rather than engaging with a train or car, and mimicking its actions, an ASD child might incessantly spin or hit a part of the toy, as stated on the Teacher Net website. Other children develop an interest in a play activity to the point where it becomes habit-forming and obsessive. Adult sufferers of autism may go on to have similarly obsessive habits in their daily routines. An ASD support worker helps ASD sufferers develop a more general set of skills that can be adapted to the situation at hand. Rather than indulging in repetitive, routine behaviours, an ASD worker teaches sufferers to be flexible in their thinking and capable of selecting appropriate emotional responses.
Some sufferers of ASD are oversensitive to particular images or sounds. Others demonstrate a lack of sensitivity. These deficiencies can have severe effects on social development. It is also one of the reasons why children with ASD exhibit unusual eye contact patterns when communicating, being unable to make eye contact or staring for too long at others. ASD support workers focus on teaching the combined skills of looking and talking to someone at the same time. This improves sufferers' ability to interact socially and helps them read the cues in facial expressions to better understand the mood and intention of others. However, the Teacher Net website reports that some children with autism are unable to master the combined skills of looking and talking to someone at the same time.
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