July 5, 2021


by: admin


Tags: Autism, Disability, Magazine, Parenting


Categories: Special Needs Parenting

Is Autism a Incapacity? – Autism Parenting Journal

Is Autism a Disability? If it’s not a disability, what is autism? Is it a disorder? Or is it just a different way of responding to people and the world around us? These are questions that many parents ask themselves, but also people from the spectrum themselves. Unfortunately, the answers are far from easy.

Is Autism a Disability?According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is defined as a “developmental disorder” while the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) states that ASD is a “developmental disorder”.

Meanwhile, the Disability Education Act (IDEA) has 13 disability categories, and Autism Spectrum Disorder is number three on the list, calling it a developmental disability that affects “social and communication skills” as well “Influence on behavior”. “

What is a disability?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provides the legal definition of disability: “A person who has a physical or mental impairment that significantly restricts one or more important life activities, a person who has such a history or record of impairment, or a person who is perceived by others as having such an impairment. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gives the following medical definition of a disability:” any state of body or mind (impairment) that the person has the disease makes it difficult to carry out certain activities (activity restriction) and to interact with the person in the world around them (participation restrictions). “

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In order to distinguish whether or not autism is a disability, one has to look at the characteristics of autism. NIMH states that ASD is a developmental disorder, so named because symptoms usually appear during the first two years of development. It affects a child’s communication and behavior, and the types of symptoms span a wide range, some of which are more serious than others. ASD is the generic term that includes autistic disorders, pervasive developmental disorders not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) and Asperger’s syndrome.

A child with autism might have some of the following symptoms:

  • Very little eye contact
  • The child is not allowed to look at or listen to others.
  • He / she may be disinterested in other people or objects that are singled out, or he / she may be interested in others but lack the skills to interact with them
  • The child may not respond to someone trying to get their attention.
  • The child may have difficulty exchanging conversations
  • The child can talk more about a favorite topic
  • The child may have flat voices or facial expressions that do not match what they are saying
  • He / she can repeat words or sentences
  • He / she may have difficulty expressing his / her needs or feelings
  • He / she can deal with parts of something and how they work
  • He / she may be overly sensitive to sounds, lights, textures, or temperatures
  • He / she may have trouble sleeping and irritability
  • Perhaps he / she had certain skills but then lost the ability to use those skills at a later date

What Causes Autism In Children?

While there’s no clear cause, scientists agree that genetics can be a factor in some cases. A child who has a sibling with autism is at higher risk. Also, a child born prematurely, lightweight at birth, or exposed to lead may be at greater risk of developmental problems and it is believed that they should be screened for ASD.

There are a variety of developmental screenings for ASD. In some cases, a milestone checklist with input from parents, grandparents, and early childhood carers can be used. Also, the pediatrician should look for delays in visiting the child. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends behavioral and developmental screening after 9, 18 and 30 months, while specific screening for ASA is done after 18 and 24 months.

If a child has any of the aforementioned risk factors, or if a child shows signs during developmental screening, additional screening may be recommended. This could be an examination with a developmental pediatrician, child psychologist, or psychiatrist to check for brain development and behavior problems, a neuropsychologist for neurodevelopmental problems, and / or a speech pathologist to see if there are any communication difficulties.

In the case of an older child whose parents and teachers notice signs of concern, a children’s studies or special education team may conduct the tests and assessments, with the team suggesting that the child see a doctor for further assessments.

The earlier a child is diagnosed, the better, because studies show that early intervention can help with communication and life skills and at the same time builds on the already existing strong characteristics of the child.

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Is Autism a Learning Disability?

A person with autism does not necessarily have an intellectual disability. Unfortunately, children with ASD who do not communicate verbally can sometimes be assumed to have an intellectual disability. In the 1980s, 69% of people with autism were co-diagnosed with intellectual disability. As research began refining the criteria for diagnosing autism, the number of children with both diagnoses declined to 30% in 2014.

The misdiagnosis could be that the genes that cause autism also cause intellectual disabilities. While intellectual disabilities can include some social problems, autism does not necessarily include intellectual disabilities. An IQ test at the time of an autism screening would help make this distinction, but there may be a need for a non-verbal intelligence test. In a 2007 study, 38 children with autism took a non-verbal intelligence test and a test for people with “typical verbal skills”. In the non-verbal test, the children did an average of 30 points better.

Many children with Autism Spectrum Disorder are able to learn and remember details, and excel in subjects like math and science, or creative fields like music and art.

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), supports research into Autism Spectrum Disorders through the Autism Centers of Excellence (ACE) to find the causes and treatments for them . Some ACE centers study the various risks and factors that arise during pregnancy and the early stages of an infant’s life, such as genetics, neurological components of brain development and performance, physical, and even environmental issues. NINDS also uses some brain imaging studies to compare people with and without ASA to understand the differences in the nervous system and possibly find helpful approaches or treatments.

The ability to distinguish between ASD and intellectual disability when one is not coexisting with the other is important in giving a child the right kind of help and support that they need.

Can people with autism get disability benefits?

In the United States, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires a public school to provide services to a qualified child.

For a child with autism to be eligible for disability benefits, the Social Security Administration (SSA), Section 112.10 of the Disability Listing Guide, known as the Blue Book, requires Part A and Part B to be met.

Essentially, Part A states that there must be deficits in verbal and non-verbal communication as well as in social reciprocity. There should also be highly restrictive repetitive characteristics that appear in the child’s behavior or activities. These shortcomings and limitations would have to be proven medically. Part B generally calls for an “extreme limitation” of one area or a “pronounced limitation” of two cognitive areas, which include, but are not limited to, understanding, memory, social interaction, focus, and self-management. For more information on qualifications and benefits, see the Impairment List Guide.

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According to the Medicaid and CHIP (Children’s Health and Insurance Program) Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC), the number of people eligible for Medicaid because of a disability is over 10 million. Many who are entitled to these benefits are under 65 years of age but have had a disability since birth; or they developed an illness or suffered an injury or trauma that made them disabled. Some of these conditions include physical impairment, behavioral disorders, mental illness, and “intellectual or developmental disorders”. This latter category includes cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, and autism.


Whether a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder has a disorder or a disability, the most important factor is getting help and services as early as possible. With the right support, all children have the potential to offer something to the world around them.


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