Sufferers of Autism Spectrum Disorders often become very agitated when faced with emotions and other events in their daily lives.
The UMCG is to study the effect of a method to help them cope with this. The key to this method is that the patients learn to cope with external stimuli better, avoid becoming overstimulated and know what to do if problems arise anyway. An important research question is what effect the method has on the quality of life of people with autism.
There has been a recent increase in the number of people diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder, both among children, adolescents and adults. According to the Health Council of the Netherlands, slightly less than 1% of the population have this diagnosis. The group is typically over-sensitive to external stimuli, which can manifest itself in a number of different ways: fatigue and tiredness, difficulty concentrating, difficulty thinking, slow responses or unresponsiveness, fear or panic, headaches, migraines, crying (emotional behaviour) and easily becoming angry or irritated. This in turn can lead to problems such as tantrums, heavy fatigue, aggression and rebellious behaviour.
The treatment programme to help patients cope with this is being conducted by R95, a reintegration agency and care institution combined. R95 uses a method that helps people with autism to cope better with overstimulation. The participants are given information on how sensory processing works in autism, and together with a trainer/coach, they examine how they themselves process external stimuli and which problems they face.
The UMCG’s health scientists want to ascertain whether the method will lead to fewer health problems among participants, and whether they become more socially active as a result. The research will involve asking participants to complete a questionnaire before, during and after the treatment. People close to the participants will also be sent a questionnaire.
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