19/07/2021

Categories: Psychology, Undergradute

Adapting Psychology to the Autistic Brain

It was over 50 years ago when Leo Kanner created his first description of classic autistic syndrome. In the years since then there has been a significant amount of research that has helped us to begin to understand more about autism.

 

It is currently estimated that there are approximately 700,000 individuals in the UK with an autism diagnosis, with one in 100 UK children being diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum. Some people who have such a diagnosis can struggle with education, while others struggle in social settings or workplaces. Psychologists can be useful in helping autistic people to get through these struggles, but psychology for neurodiverse people must be tailored to their specific needs.

What is Autism?

When you mention autism to people, some may think of the character played by Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man. However, not every person on the autistic spectrum is the same. Autism is defined as a complex neurodevelopmental disorder. It affects the way in which a person processes information. Individuals with autism can have difficulties with communication and social skills, they can struggle with emotions, and some individuals are nonverbal. If you have met and interacted with one person with autism you have not met or interacted with the wide and varied spectrum that encompasses autism as a whole. Whether you believe autism is a disability or not, it is protected under the Equality Act 2010. This means that reasonable adjustments should be made in order for any individual to receive the most appropriate support. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), is considered to be the “gold standard” in psychotherapy, and those with autism can benefit from it. However, CBT in autism may look a little different than it would for a neurotypical individual.

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