Autism Progress identifies Expressive and Receptive communication milestones.
We look at the act of expressing information to, and receiving information from, the world around us. Individuals with autism may have difficulties expressing their needs, a delay in the development of language, poor comprehension or contextual knowledge, and/or repetitive use of known phrases. Development in this area is observed through the application of new skills relating to the:
- Expression of information through physical function, cognitive capabilities and social awareness, e.g. fine motor control; understanding language composition and structure; or retaining attention.
- Reception of information through physical function, cognitive capabilities and social awareness, e.g. sensitivity to external stimulus; contextual knowledge and comprehension; or responding to body language or intonation.
Many individuals also have medical or cognitive conditions that affect their ability to communicate conventionally. There are a range of communication forms currently in common usage, and many new forms of augmentative and alternative communication have become commonplace due to advances in technology. We feel that focusing on the traditional areas of reading, writing, speaking and listening limited the identification of communication skills and therefore opted for the terms recorded receptive communication, recorded expressive communication, spontaneous expressive communication, and spontaneous receptive communication (respectively).
Autism Progress determines milestones relating to Independence skills, Engagement with Others and Environmental Awareness.
Within our profiling tool we look at the co-operation to connect with people and abide by agreed standards of behaviour. Individuals with autism may have difficulties applying social conventions, forming and sustaining relationships, social anxiety, and/or understanding the needs of others. Development in this area is observed through the application of new skills relating to the:
- Undertaking of personal independence activities, such as following self-care routines, e.g. knowing that they need to go to the toilet or cooking himself or herself food because they are hungry.
- Engagement of other people, such as the ability to deal with others in different situations, e.g. looking in the direction of a member of staff or helping to support others in a group.
- Looking after their environment, such as awareness of the wider world, e.g. moving to familiar music, following simple rules or recognising the effect that people have on their surroundings.
Any person can develop a fixed belief based on their experience of the world. Some individuals may require a lot of scaffolding to help them unpick some of the anxieties they feel in relation to the expectations of other people. It is important to bear in mind that a lack of social skills is not necessarily indicative of intentional social avoidance or a lack of interest in people.