FAQs about Autism

Some of the most frequently asked questions asked about Autism

Whilst there are many questions about autism, I have found these five questions to be the most prominent.

  1. What exactly is autism?
  2. Does a child with autism learn?
  3. Will my child ever speak?
  4. Will my child be able to attend a normal school?

What is autism?

Autism also known as autism spectrum disorder refers to a condition characterized by challenges with speech/language development, socializing or social communication as well as the presence of restricted or repetitive behavior pattern.  It is a neurological disorder of variable severity.  Autism is also referred to as a spectrum disorder meaning that each person diagnosed with ASD has very distinct challenges and strengths.

Does a child with autism learn?

All children learn through their senses, they learn visually through seeing things, they learn through hearing information, and they also learn through touch or through the manipulation of objects.  Most children use two or three of their senses at any given time to learn a new concept or to gain information and this is where autistic children learn differently.

For many autistic children, especially those with sensory integration difficulties – learning is done predominantly using only one sense.  Many adults with autism have spoken about their preferred method of learning and it is accepted amongst educators that the autistic child is a visual learner.

To answer the question – yes – autistic children can learn absolutely everything that any other child or rather normal developing children can learn.  They just require a different method of teaching.

Will my child ever speak?

Global research has found that most children with autism spectrum disorder will acquire language skills.  About 45% of children with severe language delays at age 4 will go on to become fluent speakers.  A further 25 – 30% will acquire the ability to speak using simple phrases or words and around 15 – 20% of all children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder will remain nonverbal.

Will my child be able to attend a normal school?

 Answering this question is very area and country dependent because different countries have different educational inclusion policies which basically means that in some instances a learner with a diagnosed autism spectrum disorder will be able to attend a normal school even if their development delays are profound.

In South Africa we do not have and inclusive education environment meaning that children on the autism spectrum that do attend normal school need to complete the same curriculum as a child that is typically developing.  The national curriculum or rather the CAPS curriculum is based on a child’s ability to speak and write.

So basically, the only way for me to answer this is to suggest you visit your school district and find out what the requirements are in your area of residence.

Will my child have autism forever (or for the rest of their lives)?

Autism is not an illness; autism is a developmental condition for which there is no cure.  The actual diagnosis of autism is however a spectrum disorder, and the severity of the developmental delays differs substantially in person to person.

Children diagnosed at a young age who receives intensive early intervention can learn how to overcome some of their challenges effectively and they will then go on to have typically social and cognitive functioning lives.

Overcoming these challenge does however not mean the autism symptom is completely gone. What it does mean is that the autistic has learned how to compensate for the challenge.

Online Autism Courses:

User Avatar
Ilse Kilian-Ross

Ilse Kilian-Ross is the owner of Amazing K, a registered ECD and Partial Care Facility in Johannesburg. Amazing K is a private adhd school, autism school and therapy centre for children from age 2 - 6 years where learners receive the best of both the schooling and therapy world. The autism school offers Individualized Education Programs, Speech- and Augmentive Alternative Communication (AAC) therapy as well as a full and adapted Academic Curriculum.