Autism Spectrum Disorder

Is Autism a Mental Health Condition?

  • May 6, 2020
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Being aware and respectful of people with autism requires everyone to be informed about the nature of the condition. Find out the key facts here.

Autism is a complex condition which is not always well understood. Because it can manifest differently in any person who has it, and because we have only recently begun to study and categorise it, the facts surrounding Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) conditions can be broad and vary from person to person. We do know that there are a vast array of conditions which fall into the umbrella of ASD, autism being one of them. Overall, ASD conditions can make it difficult for people to engage with the world around them, causing them to struggle with things such as social cues, routines, rules and patterns. Although there are common symptoms shared between people with ASD, each person’s experience of their condition will be different.

Autism Spectrum Disorder

Our societal definition of a mental health condition is any form of abnormality or deficiency in a mental process. Using this definition, it can be argued that most forms of ASD fall within this definition, however there are also some key differences which should be understood. ASD is not easily treated through medication, and therapy tends to help people with ASD cope with their symptoms rather than remove them entirely. People do not “grow out” or “get better from” ASD, but there are a variety of tried and tested strategies to help people diagnosed with autism manage their experiences, enjoy the full potential of their lives and avoid other mental health conditions which can also arise such as anxiety or depression.

People with ASD tend to exhibit some or all of the following symptoms: difficulty with language acquisition, difficulty expressing creativity through play, obsessive behaviour, a development with rituals or routines, and difficulty processing sensory experiences. Not all people with autism will have all of these symptoms, and different people will experience different severities of each indicator. In some cases, the indicators will be so mild that a case of autism may go completely undiagnosed well into adulthood.

The causes of autism are still not fully understood – it is a neuro-developmental disability which begins to show symptoms from early childhood, and is generally diagnosed through its common symptoms. There is no blood test or any other scan which can definitely prove a person has autism. For these reasons, it is not well understood what the exact causes of the condition are – however, it is scientifically proven that vaccinations have no part in the onset of autism, contrary to what some dubious sources might claim.

Autism is a mental health condition which affects a large number of people across the world. One in one hundred people of school age will be diagnosed with ASD, and because there is no cure, it is likely that it will be a condition which will need to be lived with. There are a variety of ways to help a person diagnosed with ASD, and there are different strategies which are proven to work for certain symptoms and severities. It is important that the people closest to the person with ASD are well informed and supportive, so that they are able to provide the necessary support and understand how their loved one might see the world differently.

At Lizard Centre, we are committed to providing information and support regarding ASD. Please contact us for more information if you’re looking to support a child diagnosed with ASD.