When an individual experiences issues, difficulties or needs, then it is imperative that we are able to formulate a correct and accurate explanation for the issue, difficulty or need.
Failure to do so, results in the wrong support, help or intervention being given and also prevents the correct support, help or intervention from being identified.
These 3 individuals, when walking along the road all limp with their left leg.
On returning home, the partner, parent or sibling may ask for them to “nip out to the corner shop for a pint of milk”, each of them are very reticent to do so. They may say things like, “can someone else not go” or “do we really need milk, can we not just wait until tomorrow when it is delivered”.
When each of these 3 individuals sit down in front of the television in the evening, they will find relief on resting their left leg on a cushion or foot stool.
They all have similar behaviours, they are all seen to limp. They all have similar challenges and are reticent to run a small errand out of the family home. They all find the same strategy of elevating and resting their left leg to be relieving.
But they are not all experiencing the same underlying condition.
- Person A is awaiting replacement hip surgery.
- Person B has twisted his knee.
- Person C has a blister on their heel from their new shoes.
It would do person A no good to support his knee with a bandage, and no benefit would come to Person C to have surgery for a replacement hip.
If we wrongly identify someone who shares many commonalities with the autistic population, as being autistic, then the support we offer may not meet their needs.
If this person who shares many commonalities with the autistic population has a different underlying condition then we lose the opportunity to provide support appropriate to that alternative condition.
Those with undiagnosed ADHD, social anxiety, history of trauma and adverse childhood experiences share many commonalities with the autistic population.