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Support Needs Approach

A Spectrum is usually represented by a flat line with different values on each end. With autism spectrum, the values have typically been labels such as “low-functioning” and “high-functioning”, more autistic and less autistic, or in levels 3, 2, or 1. These functioning labels simplify the autistic experience and can be damaging to people’s perception and understanding of autism. These labels often fail to recognize the unique strengths and weaknesses of an autistic individual. People who are considered “low-functioning” can have their strengths overlooked and underdeveloped, be dismissed, and denied opportunities, self-determination, and autonomy, while those considered “high-functioning” may have their challenges minimized or overlooked and be denied support services they need.For instance, someone who is a non-speaker may have less difficulty with social situations or sensory sensitivities than a highly verbal individual with above average intelligence. A circular pie-chart of autism traits and support needs is a more in-depth and accurate representation of what strengths and weaknesses an individual has and their unique complexities. This pie-chart features a collection of potential autistic traits, such as sensory sensitivities, executive functioning challenges, anxiety, social challenges and each area is scored individually. This way educational programming and targeted therapies can be truly individualized, thus creating a more direct and rapid avenue for reaching an individual’s full potential.

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