Flexibility of Thought
Autism Progress establishes abilities in Predication and Planning, Awareness and Coping, and Imagination and Exploration skills.
The profiling tool looks at the flexibility to cope with change, develop contingency plans and explore new concepts. Individuals with autism may have difficulties controlling repetitive patterns of behaviour or thought, applying known concepts to new situations, and/or accepting difference in unfamiliar situations. Development in this area is observed through the application of new skills relating to the:
- Ability to plan and predict outcomes, such as recognising patterns, e.g. knowing that tomorrow is the weekend or anticipating familiar visual cues for events.
- Application of coping strategies, such as awareness of change to the structure of the day, e.g. acknowledging a change to a familiar story or persisting with an activity when a challenge occurs.
- Exploration of imaginative and creative pursuits, such as developing an interest in the aesthetics of something, e.g. watching water as they play with it or taking pride in the presentation of their work.
Thinking flexibly enables an individual the ability to generalise their understanding of the world and apply it to new situations. This allows them to assimilate new knowledge quickly and helps them to cope with the unpredictability of life and recognise danger.
Autism Progress identifies elements of Self-Awareness, Self-Control and Self-Expression.
We look at the awareness to perceive emotions, control reactions and express our feelings. Individuals with autism may exhibit irritability, temper outbursts, aggression, self-injurious behaviours, raised levels of anxiety and distress. These can have a negative effect on an individual’s emotional wellbeing and adversely affect their quality of life. Development in this area is observed through the application of new skills relating to the:
- Awareness of self, such as understanding how they are feeling, e.g. selecting objects that they enjoy or recognising what is making them feel angry.
- Moderation and control of self, such as thinking before reacting, e.g. remaining quiet during instruction or trying to find a compromise with a peer when there is a disagreement.
- Expression of self, such as demonstrating how they are feeling about a particular situation, e.g. showing satisfaction with an activity, dancing using a variety of movements or apologising when they have been in the wrong.
Emotional regulation enables individuals to keep themselves in check and this helps them to interact appropriately with others. Knowledge of oneself and one’s feelings provides great insight into the working of their minds. This allows an individual to monitor their responses and make appropriate adjustments to their behaviour in future situations.