Autism Level 3 is the most profound expression of the autism spectrum, characterised by significant challenges in various aspects of life. As part of the three-tiered classification system outlined in the DSM-5, people with level 3 autism are defined as having “very substantial support needs”.
Learn more about autism Level 3, its characteristic traits and behaviours, and discover the best avenues for securing the necessary support and resources.
What is Autism Level 3?
Level 3 is the final of the recognised levels of autism. This classification system is intended to provide insight into the unique ways people with autism experience the world around them.
According to the current levels within the DSM-5 diagnostic manual, each level describes the amount of support required by the individual:
- Level 1: Requires Support
- Level 2: Requires Substantial Support
- Level 3: Requires Very Substantial Support
People with Level 3 autism need the most personalised support to live fulfilling and purposeful lives. Level 3 autism causes substantial impairments to day-to-day living encompassing communication, social interaction, and behaviour. Their need for comprehensive support spans across various domains of life, including education, employment, self-care, and beyond.
Level 3 autism poses considerable challenges in social interaction, often rendering communication significantly limited or absent. Repetitive behaviours, both distinct and pronounced, can considerably influence their engagement in day-to-day life.
Given the scope of the support required, people with Level 3 autism often depend on a number of support systems and assistive technologies. These could include communication aids, sensory accommodations, and round-the-clock support and guidance. Since forming connections and friendships can be challenging, the social interactions of people with Level 3 autism might primarily occur within the circle of dedicated caregivers and professionals.
Autism Level 3 Symptoms & Behaviours
Although every individual with autism is unique and experiences their own distinct set of traits and behaviours, these are some of the behaviours typically associated with level 3 autism:
- Challenges in Social Interaction: Engaging in conversations and cultivating close friendships can be notably challenging.
- Restricted Interests: Demonstrating repetitive behaviours or displaying intense focus on specific subjects or activities.
- Routine Emphasis: Preferring structured routines and experiencing heightened distress in the face of unexpected changes.
- Unconventional Approaches: Adopting distinctive methods for tasks and activities, often favouring unique and individualised approaches.
- Substantial Support: Generally requiring significant support for daily activities and routines.
- Communication Complexity: Encountering difficulties in actively participating in social interactions and conversations.
- Navigating Social Bonds: Possessing the capacity to form social connections, though struggling considerably in initiating and sustaining friendships.
How is Autism Level 3 Diagnosed?
In the UK, diagnosing Level 3 autism involves a thorough assessment that considers various aspects of a person’s behaviour, communication, and social interactions. This process is conducted by professionals with expertise in autism diagnosis and understanding.
Here’s a glimpse into how a typical diagnosis might unfold:
- Initial Evaluation: The process often starts with a discussion with a GP or paediatrician. Concerns are evaluated, and if necessary, a referral is made for a comprehensive assessment.
- Expert Assessment: Qualified specialists, such as developmental paediatricians or child psychologists, take the lead. This in-depth evaluation encompasses developmental history, behaviour, communication nuances, and interactions.
- Diagnostic Tools: Standardised diagnostic tool like the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) are often used. Developmental history, social communication, repetitive behaviours, and interactions are all evaluated.
- Communication Patterns: The way an individual engages in conversations, comprehends language, and responds to social cues is carefully examined.
- Social Interactions: Specialists observe how the individual interacts with others, forming insights into their social skills and abilities.
- Feedback and Diagnosis: Based on the assessment outcomes, the specialist provides feedback and discusses the diagnosis with the individual or their caregivers.
- Individualised Support: Post-diagnosis, individuals are often directed towards appropriate.
What Support is Available for Autism Level 3?
Here are some autism support services and resources available in the UK for people with autism and their families:
- Early Intervention Services: Early support is critical. Services like speech therapy, occupational therapy, and behavioural interventions are available to help children develop essential skills during their formative years.
- The NHS provides a wealth of services, including speech and language therapy, which aids in communication development. Learn more about getting an autism diagnosis from the NHS.
- Educational Support: Schools can collaborate with families to create Individual Education Plans (IEPs) that tailor education to the unique needs of children with autism.
- Social Skills Programmes: Various organisations offer social skills training and groups that help individuals with autism improve their social interactions and navigate social situations. You can find many useful resources here.
- Therapies: Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA), a well-established therapy, and other therapies like sensory integration therapy are accessible to provide specialised assistance.
- Support Groups: Numerous support groups, both in-person and online, connect individuals and families, fostering a sense of community and sharing experiences. The National Autistic Society is a good place to start.
- Advocacy Organisations: Various charities and advocacy groups are dedicated to raising awareness, providing information, and lobbying for policy changes to enhance autism support. Choices Advocacy offers free independent advocacy services.
- Residential and Independent Living Support: For adults, services range from supported living accommodations to assistance in developing skills required for independence. Learn more about Liaise specialist autism support services.
Specialist Support for Autism
At Liaise, we don’t just provide specialist care and support, we empower people to live richer lives. Through our residential care and supported living services, we create positive and structured environments where people with autism can live with joy and purpose.
Our community-based homes are much more than just a place to live. We provide 24/7 support and specialist care to ensure every individual has the support they need to live a fulfilling life.
In these inclusive communities, people with autism live life on their own terms while knowing a helping hand is always available. We offer a range of thoughtful services and activities that promote not only self-confidence and independence but fun and joyfulness as well.
We are here to support you and your family. If you would like to learn more about our autism care and support services, do not hesitate to contact us. We look forward to hearing from you.