The Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) program is set up to meet the needs of individuals with autism from 0 to 19 years of age as needed- direct services, group services or consult. They do not need to have a confirmed diagnosis to access these services. If parents and caregivers are concerned about or suspect ASD, they are welcome to contact the ASD Program.
The program will assist clients in the process of assessment and diagnosis. The program also provides support with short-term respite for parents/caregivers and seasonal programming, consultation to school-age children and transitional services.
The ASD Consultant acts as one of the first points of contact for families of clients up to 19 years of age seeking ASD services. The Consultant administers initial screening, coordinates assessment, treatment and programming with the child’s individual programming team, designs and monitors personal intervention plans, and assists the family in linking to other programs and services.
ASD Support Worker
The ASD Support Worker provides direct intervention to clients under the supervision of the ASD Consultant. These services are available to all clients from birth to school transition.
Individuals with ASD show delays in communication, social interaction, and display unusual patterns of behaviors, activities and interests. Approximately 1 out of 110 children across the world has ASD. This disability usually appears during the first three years of life. Although true causes of ASDs have not been pinpointed accurately, scientists across the world are doing their best to research the actual causes. According to recent research, scientists have found a genetic basis, but there is still a lot to learn about other possible causes.
There are five known conditions under the umbrella of Autism Spectrum Disorders also called Pervasive Developmental Disabilities. They are:
- Autism (also called Autism Disorder)
- Asperger’s Syndrome (AS)
- Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS)
- Rhett Syndrome
- Childhood Disintegrative
Early indicators of ASD in an individual include:
- No babbling by 12 months of age
- No gestures (pointing, waving bye-bye etc.) by 12 months of age
- No response to their name by 12 months of age
- No single words by 16 months of age
- No two-word spontaneous phrases by 24 months of age
Individuals with autism are affected in 3 main core areas of everyday life:
1. Difficulties with social interaction
- May withdraw from others
- May not seek attention or actively engage with other people
- May not follow or try pointing to show interest in something
- May not turn to respond to their name
2. Communication problems
- Difficulties in verbal (spoken) and non-verbal (gestures, facial expression, body language) communication. This may range from no speech at all to full sentences that are odd in the way they are spoken or their meaning
- Speaking style may appear robotic or scripted from TV, repetitive or “echoing”, use of words with no obvious meaning, or use of “giant” words
- May not start talking until much later than their peers
3. Unusual behaviors, interests and activities
- May have highly specific and focused interest (e.g. obsessions with train or maps) to the exclusion of other things
- May be very rigid in routines (taking the same route to school every day, playing with a toy only one way, resisting schedule changes)
- May show repetitive actions such as hand-flapping, rocking, etc.
Criteria for Autism Spectrum Disorders Diagnosis
According to the DSM-IV-R, the person must have 6 or more items from (1), (2) and (3), with at least two from (1), and one each from (2) and (3) in order to have a diagnosis for ASD.
If you suspect ASD in your child, contact the ASD program and the ASD Consultant will complete a screening to determine your child’s level of risk for an ASD and link you to services and supports that best meet the needs of your child.
Should your child’s level of risk be high for Autism Spectrum Disorders, the ASD Consultant will make a referral for an assessment and begin development of an individual program plan for your child and family.
Autism Spectrum Disorder Program
Cypress Health Region
350 Cheadle Street West, Swift Current, SK, S9H-4G3
ASD Consultant: 306.778.5135
ASD Support Worker: 306.741-9728