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Transitions In Autism

Welcome

My name is Tina Hedges and I am an Autism Specialist who has worked in the field of autism for almost 20 years. 

I believe that although autism is characterised by difficulties in the areas of social interaction, communication and rigidity in thought and behaviour, the presentation of these difficulties is highly individualised and therefore the supports required in each area also need to be highly individualised. This in no way means that these difficulties cannot be addressed. They can through carrying out in-depth assessment of WHY the difficulties are arising and HOW to enable the individual and their family to overcome these difficulties.  By digging down into the causes an understanding can be gained and then solutions can be identified. 

To address all of the complexities around autism it is vital to look at the environments the individual lives in.  By environment I mean not just the physical environment but family members, work colleagues, teachers or any other significant people in their lives.  How a person with autism interacts, communicates and behaves is also dependant on how we interact, communicate and behave towards them.  It is not always about asking the individual with autism to adjust themselves.  Often, we as a society, workplace or school have to look at ourselves and our role in the lives of people with autism. 

There are many changes that occur in everyday life and they all involve transition,  whether it is changing the activity an individual is engaging with or changing the environment. The rigidity of thought processes, sensory processing issues and communication difficulties experienced by people with autism mean transitions, however small they may seem,  can require careful and systematic planning.  I believe people with an autism spectrum disorder experience difficulty developing transitional skills, however,  if the individual is prepared, allowed time to process the information and given the opportunity to communicate their thoughts and expectations transitions do not need to cause stress or anxiety.

Through research our understanding of the different presentations of autism has grown and it has been possible to think of new ways to support the needs of people with autism.  This individualised support has lead to more people on the autism spectrum achieving adult independence. A person with autism is an individual first with his or her own personality.  It is therefore essential that knowledge and understanding of the individual is gained to develop relevant and meaningful supports for them.  This is the philosophy of transitions in autism - learn about each individual, their personality, their thinking style, their emotional resilience and their family then together find supports that they can take ownership of.

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