Understanding Autism & Why It’s A Mental Health Condition

Autism is a complicated mental health condition, which is why there is a lot of confusion and misinformation on the topic. However, the Lizard Centre is happy to clear up some common misconceptions about Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and the people impacted by it. 

ASD is best described as being a medical condition that impacts how the person is able to interact with the world. Whether it is in social situations or just how they view the natural world, people with ASD simply view and relate with them in unique ways. This disability has a wide range of different ways it manifests with cases ranging wildly. Everybody with ASD has a different set of struggles and no two people have the same exact relationship with it. As the name suggests, ASD is on a spectrum and includes several other mental health conditions including Asperger’s Syndrome and Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified.

ASD is also quite common as one in every hundred school children have autism. It’s more commonly found in boys than girls, and many cases go undiagnosed. This is especially common for those that have more mild ASD (often called “high functioning autism” although that isn’t a medical term), which means they have many skills that have developed typically. These cases are often diagnosed when they are adults as a result. Missing a diagnosis can lead to many difficulties, so if you see any indicators with a child, they should be looked at.

Here are some common indicators that children with ASD will exhibit and you should keep an eye for:

  • * They are having difficulty learning to speak and have poor communication skills
  • * The child does not play with their imagination and find it hard to play with other
  • * Specialised interests are developed with their favorite topics and activities all involving them
  • * Rituals and routines must be kept up as it stresses the child out if the order changes
  • * The child doesn’t process smells, sounds and tastes normally; this sometimes manifests in not being able to tell temperatures    (hot or cold) 

ASD is indeed a mental health condition. As such, doctors are able to make a diagnosis on the condition by taking a look at the symptoms that are caused by it. However, there is no cure for autism, nor is there an exact understanding of what causes it. There is help, though, so people with even severe ASD are able to live a comfortable and safe life. They aren’t the only people that should retrieve support as family members (such as the parents of the child or siblings) should also have a support system in place so that they are able to deal with the difficulties that pop up in everyday life in a healthy and constructive manner. You are not in this struggle alone.

If you or others in your family need support for a child that has been diagnosed with autism, please reach out to the Lizard Centre. You can contact us today by calling 1300 752 617 and we will be happy to discuss the options available to you.


Written by Lizard Centre

The Lizard Centre is a team of professionals working together to provider best evidence based early intervention programs to children with Autism in Sydney.