Section 1: Understand the experience of living with autism
Q1: Outline the potential effects of living with autism on an individual’s: (1.1)
a) Development and puberty
With hormone changes, there is also changes within the brain structures, and there are differing and new social rules and expectations that come with going through puberty and the development from a child through to adult. These rules and expectations are complex and challenging processes and can be difficult to process.
Changes within education can be hard for anyone to process but can be more challenging for those with autism. As the new year comes ahead and the individuals grow through the nursery to college, there are new expectations and rules that need to be followed which can be difficult to change to. A change of classroom and pace of work can cause disruptions to routine and can cause negative reactions.
Communication and social interactions can affect employment as delayed responses and not understanding social cues and responsibilities can cause issues with developing relationships in the workplace. Other factors that can affect employment can be Sensory Processing Disorder as too much noise or feel can cause the individual to become distressed and not fit for work. Difficulties with personal care can also affect employment as it can lead to negative representation of the individual and then the company. Employers may not be aware of the needs for those with autism and therefore they may not allow those with autism to follow needs, understand social cues or support someone who could potentially be a risk.
d) Life chances
With cuts to services and funding, regardless of how effective the current system with further education monitoring the well-being of those with autism, it could mean that employers aren’t able to give enough support and can then suffer a decline in support due to the lack of availability. Again, the lack of awareness of the needs of individuals with autism can cause them to be left out and can cause distress due to lack of support and understanding. The individual could also struggle with adapting to new scenarios and new routines that education or employment can put them through. If an individual already has a routine that they enjoy, it can be quite difficult to change or alter the routine quickly for something new.
e) Access to services and facilities
Those with autism may have a significant advantage to accessing services and support, but funding still comes to play, and due to funding cuts of local councils it can be difficult for those who are extremely vulnerable to access these. There are also some cases where some individuals families are pro-active in gaining support and winning cases, whereas other individuals may not have this support system.
Q2: Describe the impact on family members of supporting: (1.2)
a) A child or young person with autism
It can be a hard strain on parents when their child has been diagnosed with autism. Some parents may blame themselves whilst others may resent the child and find it difficult to bond with the child; especially as the child may not want the attention the parent will want to give. This can also cause anxiety within the parents as the child may not be developing in the ‘normal’ routine. As the child gets older, where more support becomes available, it can become more confusing for the parent. New
challenges, such as starting school, can cause anxiety and stress for the child or young person as they may have to attend a specialist school that could cost or family members can also experience the stress of change for their child and be unsure how to help.
b) An adult with autism
After leaving education, where they may have been given extra support, it can be hard for an adult to adapt to working life. More challenges can arise from mortgaging a house to finding a job, and even building social or even romantic relationships. Another issue can be that because the individual is stronger and bigger, it can make behaviour that challenges more dangerous and difficult for family members to handle. It can also be difficult for parents as they may not get the chance to live their own lives after their children have grown up whereas other friends may have more time for themselves.
Q3: Identify positive aspects of living with autism. (1.3)
There are positive aspects that come from living with autism that someone without it may not experience. This can include getting more enjoyment out of special interests as those with autism tend to find their interests more enjoyable and fun. Those with autism will prefer to be on their own rather than with people meaning they are less likely to get lonely. There are also opportunities available to those with autism that someone without may not have access to such as social, educational trips or
courses, or clubs.