What is autism?



Autism was first described by Leo Kanner in 1943 and Hans Asperger in 1944 and since then there has been significant research and many theories that have been proposed to explain or describe autism.

Research suggests that ‘despite the increasing sophistication of research in autism, there remains no definitive autism theory, only a range of growing theoretical evidence that tries to fully explain it’.

In terms of the diagnostic label itself, there is no single way of describing autism that is universally accepted and at Blue Sky Learning we acknowledge that individual preferences vary widely depending on a number of factors, including a person’s relation with/connection to autism and the model of disability to which they subscribe.

Leatherland’s (2017) definition of autism:

‘Autistic individuals share a neurological type, which is qualitatively different to that of non-autistics, and which will necessarily impact, both positively and negatively, on aspects of their thinking and learning; sensory processing; social relational experiences and communicative style, abilities and preferences. An autistic persons experience of and ability to be successful in the world will be dependent on the closeness of compatibility, between their individual profile of skills and requirements and their physical and social environment. Levels of sensitivity to environmental factors vary between individuals, and within the same individual overtime that the presentation of autism is ever changing. A person’s neurological type, however, remains constant, and being autistic is a lifelong identity’.

Here at Blue Sky Learning we understand the unique impact autism has on each individual, and as a school strive to accept the autistic child and develop an understanding from their perspective making adjustment to meet education, care and health needs.