Understanding the needs of individuals with Autism/DD

Virtually all current research into Autism/DD challenging behaviours is finding that they are often the result of a complex of unrecognized and therefore unmet needs. Like all of us, these individuals have been hard-wired to experience anxiety, fear or panic when these needs are not met. They sense a threat to their survival, and their freeze, flight or fight mechanism gets activated.

“Could it be that the majority of unhappiness and problematic behaviours exhibited by individuals with Autism/DD are the direct result of supporters who do not understand the unique challenges of the individual’s disability, their basic human needs and how their behavior is directly related to their own attempts to meet these needs in whatever way seems possible—even if often less-than-optimal?”

Peter Marks, CCS Handbook

Unique Needs of Individuals with Autism/DD:

  1. Energy Building and Balancing (powering up the brain to prevent the sense of being overwhelmed)
  2. Systems' Restoration - Gastrointestinal, Immune and Neurological
  3. Sensory Integration and Processing (there is an over 80% likelihood that the individual is struggling with a sensory irregularity that is producing some of his/her anxiety)
  4. Mindful, Emotional Self-regulation
  5. Management of Trauma and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Symptoms (There is a 33% likelihood of PTSD symptoms that have been caused by real abuse or neglect, or perceived abuse and neglect, or even anxiety from being so often out of control of life)
  6. Stress Reduction: According to Dr. Ratey, “All individuals with autism live in a challenging state of hyper-arousal. Many live in pre-panic states day in and day out.”

The graphic above walks you through the unfortunate process most individuals with Autism/DD fall into when confronted with unmet needs.

The chart below demonstrates how CCS successfully meets those needs.