The Equality Act 2010 states that a disability is a physical or a mental condition which has a long-term impact on the ability to do complete day to day activities. It also protects people who have a progressive condition such as cancer or multiple sclerosis and those people who had a disability in the past such as a mental health condition. Autism Spectrum Disorder protected under this legislation.
The Equality Act strongly promotes the idea that disabled people have rights, these rights are the same as mainstream rights with additional ones given to create an inclusive environment and stand by equality. The Act states that you must not be discriminated against if you either are disabled, look disabled (perception) or you are involved and around someone else who is disabled (association). Whilst negative discrimination such as this can be punishable under the law, positive discrimination isn’t. This means that someone who is disabled will have more rights than yourself to allow them a normal standard of living.
Autism will affect them in a variety of ways. All people on the autism spectrum learn and progress developmentally. With the right sort of support from family, services and a range of professionals. There are three types of Autism, PDD mild, Aspergers mild and Classic Autism. Classic Autism is a severe form which can presented through language, social delays.
Children who have this form of autism are sensitive to sensory input, for example: disliking physical contact, reacting to sound and light. To promote inclusion in early years and give all children a positive self image, we need to focus on what they can do, rather than what they can’t do. UNICEF and the UNCRC have been really large parts in bringing it all together.
There are two main strategies to promote inclusion and the wellbeing of children with ASD. Theory of the mind refers to the idea of many individuals not having an understanding of different points of view, attitudes, emotions and beliefs. For example they will not be able to anticipate what others will say or do. This can come across to others that they are selfish or egocentric. As practitioners, it is important to be aware and use interventions like social stories to allow them to have a better understanding. Central Coherence
Theory refers to the notion of individuals with autism having the ability to understand the bigger picture/context. This theory explains how individuals with autism have either weak or strong central coherence. For example: tend to over focus on items, objects which can prevent them from understanding the actual meaning of a particular situation. As, practitioners having an empathetic approach and allowing the individuals to explore and treating every child with autism individually to ensure the best services are available to them.
The Child Mind Institute issued the following statement regarding this topic ‘The diagnosis of ADHD to a delay of three years, on average, in the autism diagnosis. Children who had first been diagnosed with ADHD were nearly 30 times more likely to receive their autism diagnosis after age 6 than those for whom autism was their first diagnosis’. There is evidently much more we can do as a nation to promote the wellbeing of children who suffer with Autism Spectrum Disorder.