What To Do In Singapore If You Feel Your Child Might Have Autism

How can you tell if your child is on the spectrum? What support exists in SG? Find answers here.
04 April 2018

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What is Autism?

“It’s a brain disorder that results in behaviour disorders,” says Dr. Joseph E. Morrow, Professor Emeritus and professor of psychology and behaviour analysis at the California State University in Sacramento, USA. Autism is a wide spectrum disorder – which means that the symptoms and severity vary greatly.

“Some children may be non-verbal even till they enter late childhood, while others may have language skills but lack appropriate communication because the language may be odd or inappropriate. Some children may have reduced eye contact; others not at all,” explains Dr. Chong Shang Chee, head and consultant at the Child Development Unit of the University Children’s Medical Institute at National University Hospital (NUH). “Generally, learning can be affected to various degrees, and some  can have low cognitive (intellectual) function, while others maintain average – or may even have above average – cognitive abilities.”

Then, there’s Asperger’s Syndrome, which Dr. Morrow terms “high functioning autism”. These kids have normal IQ and may have very rich vocabularies when it comes to their favourite topics, but have poor social skills. For instance, they may interpret what you say too literally and respond in a manner you don’t expect. Many have talents in a specific area, adds Dr. Chong. Asperger’s itself is a wide spectrum disorder. Only 5 to 10 percent of people living with autism are “savants” with exceptional skills, like the character in the movie Rain Man.

 

By Stephanie Yeo + Sara Lyle Bow, The Finder Kids Vol. 22Some text adapted from Young Parents

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More on The Finder:

Why Singapore’s Autism Rate In Children Is Higher Than The Global Average

A Day In The Life Of An Autistic Student At This Singapore International School

True Story: At Seven, My Son Finally Called Me Mommy For The First Time

 

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