Update on Autism and Temperament


In February of this year I wrote a post about Autism and Temperament, looking at a chart review of my practice over 2 years.  Now I came across a study published in February 2012, looking at the  temperament traits and sensory issues in a population with autism spectrum disorder compared to a group with developmental delays.  The questionnaire group was the control group. autism and temperament graph

It was fascinating and exciting to see that my population had the same profile tendencies, which in the study demonstrated that those with ASD were significantly different from the control group for 8 out of the 9 traits. In the study, the autism spectrum group were significantly different from the developmentally delayed group for only 2 straits, approachability and distractibility with the ASD group being much more withdrawal and much more hyperfocused.

It is important to realize that there is a more common profile of temperament that has to be taken into consideration when working with children within the autism spectrum.  These are hard-wired hows of behavioral response. For example, as my graph showed, individuals with an ASD have significant problem with feeling time move around them (Rhythmicity).  This leads to inconsistent sleep, wake, and hunger cycles.  It leads to significant problems with organization and time management.  Most of these individuals have significant problems visualizing what they need to do and how it will unfold, in order to get work done.

Next time you get frustrated with a child with an ASD, just remember that he is doing the best he can with how he is wired.  Take the time to observe beyond the surface, to understand, and to respond with patience, love, and acceptance. You will both be better for the effort.

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