There is a saying, ‘you meet one person with autism, you meet one person with autism’. Every autistic person is different. Autism can impact on a child’s functional skills, the skills needed to carry out day-to-day activities, but this can vary from child to child.
Here are some of the basic functional skills that can be impacted by autism.
Communicating - Some children with autism struggle to communicate. For example, they might be completely non-verbal, struggle with social cues or have echolalia. Communication may or may not improve, but there are aids that you can use to support your child, such as visual aids like PECs or by breaking down your communicating so that things are easier for them to understand.
Personal hygiene - An autistic child might struggle with their personal hygiene and may need prompted or helped to wash, brush their teeth, and use things like deodorant.
Getting dressed - Some autistic children have poor fine and gross motor skills, which can make getting dressed difficult.
Toileting - Lots of children with autism are incontinent and are unable to use a toilet. Some children can use a toilet but need help.
Eating and drinking – Eating and drinking can be affected by sensory issues, which can determine what foods children are able to tolerate eating. They might have difficulty with the texture, smell or sight of some foods. Poor fine and gross motor skills might also mean that a child needs help to eat or aids to do so, such as a weighted spoon or angled cutlery.
Reading and writing – An autistic child might not be able to read or write or might do so at a lower level to their age group.
Sleeping – Lots of children with autism find it difficult to sleep and require sleeping aids, such as melatonin. Sleep deprivation in turn can impact on other functional skills.
The above are the basic functional skills that may be impacted, but other skills such as time management and organisational skills may also be affected.
All of these functional skills have a great impact on a person’s day-to-day life and the level of support that they require at home and in school.
There are strategies that can be used to help your child with their functional skills, such as identifying goals and breaking down tasks into small steps. Ideally, you should work with your child’s school so that you are both using the same techniques to help them.
If you have any concerns, please ensure that you speak to your child’s GP or paediatrician.
Leave a comment
Comments will be approved before showing up.
Also in Latest update
Many parents of young autistic children wonder does autism affect toilet training? The truth is, it can but it doesn’t always. Let’s face it, teaching any child to use the toilet can be tricky and very much depends on your child and whether or not it is the right time for them to learn to use the toilet. Toilet training a child with autism is entirely possible and in this blog we will give you some autism and potty training tips.
If you are a parent to a child with autism, you most likely have a list of foods that you avoid due to your child’s sensory needs. Perhaps they don’t like foods because of the way that they smell, feel or taste. If that’s the case, then they might already have a limited diet.
Lots of children with autism are selective about what they eat due to sensory issues. The smell, taste, texture and sight of some food can be overwhelming for them and can cause food avoidance.