A recent release of the Diagnostic Statistics Manual Five (or DSM V) has hopefully changed the way that Autism Spectrum Disorder is being viewed and handled by professionals.
A major shift in theory recently has placed emphasis on the fluidity of the symptoms and sliding scale that is ASD. Instead of simply assessing and diagnosing a child or individual based on static a static grouping of symptoms, there are new measures for reassessment available to help the individual and their team remain on top of any changing symptoms.
By recognizing that someone’s symptoms of ASD change over time (whether in severity, or a different expression), so much more can be done in terms of planning and implementing treatment paths that will help lead to the lessening of symptoms. Through careful observation, and testing the individual’s symptoms periodically, and making note of their progression in communicating with others (including peers, adults etc.), their behaviours (repeated and/or stereotyped), and the way and which they socialize, a plan can be devised to strengthen areas that need to be worked on, and praise for areas that they excel in
What needs to be remembered is that a child with ASD is still growing and developing just like any other child, but their development is different. And just like any child, they will change, and grow and allow their environment to begin to shape them- even if it takes a little more time, effort, and patience. Just as a child’s personality, behaviour, and communication and social skills all evolve with their age and experience, so too will a child with ASD.
In our day and age, science and various studies are making it easier to understand how fluid ASD really is, and how it’s true that no two cases are the same.
By Sydney Chasty, Carleton University