Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder is a condition that affects 1 in 44 people worldwide. Autism is often said to be on a spectrum, meaning that the severity or non-severity of symptoms differs from one person to another – indeed everybody with autism with different. It is not a disease, so there is no “cure”. People diagnosed with autism can go on to have full, happy lives provided they get the support they need. Read on to better understand what autism is, where to get assessments done, and any resources and support you may need, in Hong Kong.
Generally, you cannot formally diagnose autism before the age of two, although parents can usually sport the signs before then. It is more prevalent in males than females and usually co-occurs with other conditions like ADHD, dyslexia, anxiety, depression and epilepsy. Signs of autism in young children may include:
In older children, signs of autism may include seemingly not being able to understand other people's feelings or thoughts, repetitive speech, having a strict routine and schedule (and getting very upset should those change), and difficulty making friends. For more details click here.
Sometimes, autistic children can be physically or verbally abusive to others and it is important to then understand the root and cause of those behaviors and reactions.
ATEC (Autism Treatment Evaluation Checklist) is an at-home toolkit you can use as a starting point - however bear in mind that results are not completely accurate.
People diagnosed with autism can live full lives given the proper support. They might just need extra support with some aspects of their lives such as for example making and maintaining friendships and their schooling. For day-to-day life, and living with a child with autism, it is important to first help your child communicate their needs and also make sure that you are easily understood in return by keeping the language simple and clear and using other verbal and non-verbal cues.
When dealing with behavioral troubles or "meltdowns" it is important to then understand the cause of it to better prepare for next time. Many of these stem from anxiety and not knowing how to deal with that anxiety. For more information, please click here. Applied Behavior Analysis therapy or ABA can help children break down certain behaviors and skills into components that are simpler, and positive reinforcement is then used with correct responses and reactions (click here for more information).
Autism Government Assessments In Hong Kong:
Other Key Autism Resources In Hong Kong:
There are a number of forward-thinking schools to choose from in Hong Kong that support neurodiversity and provide extra support where needed.
For kids on the autism spectrum who may prefer a safer environment that is specifically adapted to neurodivergent brains, smaller class sizes, and higher levels of support, there are a number of options to choose from.
Here we've compiled a helpful list of online and local resources to guide you through your journey.
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