Frequently asked questions
What changes are there with the DSM 5?
The DSM 5 has been updated in an attempt to better characterise the symptoms and behaviours of groups of people who are currently seeking clinical help, but whose symptoms are not well defined by the DSM 4 (American Pyschiatric Association). The primary difference is instead of a 'triad' of impairments, a person with autism is now diagnosed based on a 'dyad' of impairments, which include social and communication, and thought flexibility.
What causes autism?
There is no single known cause for autism. Autism is a complex disorder and affects each individual differently. Genetics are thought to have some impact on autism, but autism may also occur spontaneously, or due to other causes.
What we do know, is that vaccinations do not cause autism, and early intervention (via a program based on evidence-based practices) can make a significant difference to a child's ability to develop vital skills and reach their maximum potential.
How do I get a diagnosis for my child?
The implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme will change how families receive an autism diagnosis for their child. However, in most Australian states you can have your child assessed by a paediatrician. To do this, you will need a referral from your general practitioner and if you do receive a diagnosis, you will need to contact your local Autism Advisor.
To access Helping Children with Autism funding, your Autism Advisor and AEIOU's early intervention service, your child must be aged under six.
In Queensland, you can find out more about the Autism Advisor Program and what you need to do to access it by using the below details:
Contact: Autism Advisors
Phone: 1800 428 847 or (07) 3273 0000
What’s it like to have autism?
Reality to a person with autism can be a confusing mix of events, people, places, sounds and sights. There seem to be no clear boundaries, order or meaning.
Social interaction and communication are fundamental components of our daily lives and influence our ability to connect with people, and function in society.
Imagine if you suddenly woke up in a foreign country, and you could not speak the language. Then imagine you had no way of effectively communicating with the people around you. Furthermore, imagine how it would be if the people around you had a different set of social rules, for example, the way they greet each other and you were unable to understand what they were doing.
How would you feel? How would you react? How would you cope?
To varying degrees, this is how people with autism experience their surroundings on a daily basis. Their initial responses are often to find unique ways of understanding and coping with the situations in which they find themselves. As a result they may behave and act in ways that may appear peculiar or even mischievous. These reactions and actions can isolate the individual from the world even further.
Autism is not a physical disability. People with an autism spectrum disorder look just like everyone else. Because there are no obvious physical attributes that exist, it can be difficult for children or people affected by the condition, and to promote an understanding of autism.
It's important to remember that when a child or person with autism experiences challenging behaviours, it is not a choice, rather it is a reaction based on their inability to communicate their needs, fears, or desires. At AEIOU we support children by teaching them vital skills, inlcuding the ability to communicate, helping to ease any frustrations.
Is there a cure for autism?
No, there is no cure for autism. However, while it is a lifelong condition, early intervention can make a big difference to a child's life. Many children can develop the ability to communicate, and learn self-help skills, develop academic skills, and improve fine and gross motor skills.
At AEIOU Foundation, studies have shown children who complete the program experience a reduction in autism symptoms. About 70% of children transition to mainstream school. Each child develops new skills and AEIOU supports every individual, moderating the program with a plan that is based on their unique needs and strengths.
Emily Perl Kinglsey wrote a poem about autism, which many parents at AEIOU Foundation feel they can relate to.