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ASD面临的众多挑战之一是诊断,这就需要认识到上述每个领域的困难。Worth(2005)指出ASD是普遍存在的(它对个人生活的各个方面都有影响),发展性的(从婴儿期开始,影响每个发展领域),并且是终生的。对这种情况的研究(Szatari, 2003)表明有多种因素会影响它,比如特定的基因(Foster, 2007;《自闭症之声》(2015a)尽管人们认为没有确切的原因。自上世纪后期有增加数量的人被诊断出患有自闭症,但它是一个有争议的问题是否这是更大的广度在其分类的结果或增加医护人员的意识和意愿进行早期诊断(鲍威尔et al .,2000)。患有这种疾病的人面临的另一个挑战是,他们对这种疾病如何影响自己的生活存在误解。ASD可以以不同的方式展示自己——一些人有学习问题,而另一些人则展示可以利用的才能和天赋(西西里-基拉,2013);他的才能包括“……听觉记忆、良好的‘程序性’记忆(也就是说,能够描绘如何做事)、视觉特殊理解和视觉运动协调能力”(Siegel, 2003,第78页)。《自闭症之声》(2015a)指出,大约40%的自闭症患者的智力水平在平均水平至高于平均水平之间,而另一些人则存在重大问题,这意味着他们需要不断接受监督。目前,还没有一种医学测试可以用来诊断自闭症,尽管受过专门训练的医生能够进行针对自闭症的行为评估。通常情况下,这些研究是针对三岁以下的儿童进行的,在这些儿童中,父母和早期从业人员认为他们发育不全。然而,一些患有ASD的人在以后的生活中才会因为学习、情感和/或社会问题而被确认。


One of the many challenges for ASD is its diagnosis, which necessitates the recognition of difficulties in each of the areas listed above. Worth (2005) makes the point that ASD is pervasive (it has an effect on all aspects of an individual’s life), developmental (begins in infancy and affects every area of development) and it is lifelong. Research into the condition (Szatari, 2003) indicates that there are a variety of factors which could influence it, such as specific genes (Foster, 2007; Autism Speaks, 2015a) although it is recognised that there is no one, definitive cause. Since the latter part of the last century there have been increased numbers of individuals who have been diagnosed with ASD but it is a matter of debate as to whether this is the result of a greater breadth within its classification or increased awareness and willingness on the part of medical practitioners to make an early diagnosis (Powell et al., 2000). Another challenge which those with the condition face are the misconceptions about how it can affect their lives. ASD can show itself in different ways – some have learning issues whereas others display talents and gifts which can be utilised (Sicile-Kira, 2013); talents include “… auditory memory, good ‘procedural’ memory (that is, being able to picture how to do things), visual special understanding, and visual motor co-ordination” (Siegel, 2003, p. 78). Autism Speaks (2015a) state that approximate 40% of those on the spectrum have average to above average intellectual ability, whilst others have significant issues which mean that they need to be supervised constantly. Currently, there is no medical test which can be used in order to diagnose autism, although specifically trained medical practitioners are able to conduct behavioural evaluations which are specific to autism. Typically, these are conducted with children below the age of three where children have been identified by parents and Early Years practitioners as lacking in their development. However, some individuals who have ASD are only identified later in life as a result of learning, emotional and/or social issues.


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