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What is Autism?

Autism is a complex developmental disorder that impacts social skills, speech and language development, and can present as repetitive behaviors.

Autism spectrum disorders are typically diagnosed in children before the age of three years old.

It is not curable, but there are many effective treatments that can allow a child with autism to live a happy and productive life.

A child who is diagnosed with autism has an impaired ability to communicate.

Special Needs Education in Phnom Penh: Autism, ADHD, dyslexia, spelling difficulty, social and slow learning.

This can be seen in the way they talk and interact socially, as well as their unusually repetitive behaviors like rocking back and forth or flapping their arms.

Autism also affects a person’s life by making it difficult for them to go outside of routines that are established- such as changes in clothing before going out into public spaces, which causes anxiety because they’re not sure what people will think about how different these children appear from others around them.

As defined by IDEA, autism refers to “a developmental disability significantly affecting verbal and nonverbal communication social interaction”; this federal definition then proceeds onto list traits commonly related: Other characteristics often associated with autism include engaging in repetitive behaviors, unusual sensory interests and specific patterns of behavior.

In this post we will discuss common traits associated with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), including communication difficulties, unusual behaviors or interests, repetitive movements or patterns of behavior and learning problems.

Special Needs Education in Phnom Penh: Autism, ADHD, dyslexia, spelling difficulty, social and slow learning.

We’ll also take an in-depth look at what it’s like for parents raising children on the autistic spectrum!

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Autism Common Traits


Difficulty understanding social interactions.


Unusual fixation (for instance, only playing with round toys)


Inability to focus without first completing a routine.


Unusual communication habits


Disruptive behavior when an ordinary schedule is interrupted.




Understanding that the phrase “autism spectrum disorder” is gaining momentum because it better captures similarities between autism and other conditions under this category, a variety of common traits can be found associated with those diagnosed.

The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY) acknowledges five subcategories: autism, Asperger syndrome, Rett syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder and Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDDNOS).

There are three major areas of focus when determining a diagnosis: social interaction, behavior and communication. NICHCY explains that a particular case’s traits determine the exact diagnosis for those aspects.

Such characteristics might include the following:

  • Unusual communication habits (from not talking at all to repeating over and over certain phrases).
  • Difficulty understanding social interactions.
  • Unusual fixation (for instance, only playing with round toys)
  • Inability to focus without first completing a routine.
  • Disruptive behavior when an ordinary schedule is interrupted.

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Autism Educational Challenges

Education is a challenging task to undertake, and when special needs are included it can become even more difficult.

Autistic students have many different struggles in the classroom: from trouble following directions or understanding what’s being said all the way down to behavioral problems that disrupt other students’ learning experience.

These barriers make for an arduous journey through school life – but thanks to incredible teachers and staff members like yourself, they’re not unbeatable!

Students with autism often face academic difficulties such as:

  • Disruptive behavioral problem
  • Hampered ability to communicate
  • Trouble following directions
  • Disinterest

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Autism, Tips for Teachers and Parents

With a few dynamic factors, children with autism can be effectively educated.

For example, if you are giving directions on how to fold paper one step at a time, starting by verbally saying the steps and then demonstrating them while repeating each instruction; don’t rush through this process; do it slowly so that students have enough time to follow along.

If they cannot get their footing after being given instructions multiple times or if certain methods aren’t working for your student try using different cues such as tactile ones (such as having the child touch an object first before touching another) or visual ones (explaining what is happening in pictures).

Assistive technology can reduce communication issues, but it often just becomes a way for students to avoid the hard work.

Teachers must balance being creative and interesting so that you grab their attention while still staying on task with your lesson plan.

For instance, if one of your student’s interests is airplanes then write word problems incorporating situations relating to them in order to keep him interested!

Teachers, getting to know a student and what calms him or her can help you avoid disruptive behavior.

Find out about your child’s interests so that when it becomes time for group work they have something in common with the other students who might otherwise be frustrated by doing tasks because of his or her inability to participate without being hassled.

Parents are an excellent resource here as well; after all no one knows their kids better than parents!

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Special Needs Education in Phnom Penh: Autism, ADHD, dyslexia, spelling difficulty, social and slow learning.

16 thoughts on “Autism Service in Cambodia, Phnom Penh”

  1. Does anyone have experience with autism worsening with age? I’ve noticed over the past few years that I’m more anxious, less focused, and more exhausted than I used to be.

    • I am going to go on a limb here and say you are in your thirties are you adhd too?
      There is something called the adhd burnout in women at thisnage….. and Man THE struggle is real!!!!! Basically the brain becomes EXHAUSTED of all the extra work it has been doing which exacerbates all symptoms.

    • Yes. As adults we’re much more prone to burn out since we have so many more responsibilities constantly and not enough time to recharge and recover from it.

  2. Hi I hope your all well I am looking for advice my girlfriend has always said I am autistic we both carers and she is doing a in-depth course on it my main signs are I observed with the Beatles really obsessed I hate crowds I freak out when in them again I observe about things for example once I thought I went through a red light I didn’t but for the next month I went back to the traffic light and check for cameras also I googled how they work so I knew actually how it works this has happened more than once I am 34 am I to old to go see a doctor also I got a brilliant memory just want some advice many thanks

  3. I’ve been involved in my close friend since she told me that she have autism and I’ve put whole lot of effort not for myself at all I did of for her I’m interested in her not only person even a friend I Interested in everything about her I’ve been putting an effort in learning about autism with nothing in it for me I’m doing for only her i have accepted and expect her for who she is when she told me that she has autism I accepted and expect her for who she is doesn’t matter if she haves autism because I not only care a whole lot about me I’m too interested and involved with her since she told me her about her autism I enjoy being interested and involved with my close friend because she makes me feel something I’ve never felt before like someone really cares a whole lot I’ve also been there for her when ever she needed me the most she knows that I care about her but doesn’t know the true main reason why I what i do for her I’m not only care. About her she may never know the other reason why what i willing to learn and understanding autism she has a boyfriend but won’t tell her that I care a whole lot about her and then the true main reason I interested and too much involved with her I afraid she’ll get mad at me for saying this i know she likes as a friend but I’m not only interested in her as a person and a friend I’m interested in her completely I’ve been willing give up a whole lot stuff for her like my time for her whenever she needs me the most especially when she starts to have a meltdown and a showdown and even need someone to meet her needs the most

  4. If your kids are rough on the ipad and cases like mine are, definitely look into these cases. They hold us against the dropping, throwing, stepping, rough housing… you name it. It comes in handy to keep on all the ipads so you don’t have to worry about ipad repair fees. Been there, done that. Way too expensive. It also locks so your child can’t take the ipad out of the case. My kids have been known to try to do that as well and this puts a stop to that. I thought other parents would appreciate my find so thought I’d share!

  5. So my boy is 12 and at High School. He hates it there. He started in February after we moved. He doesn’t trust any teacher even though we’ve asked for help he wasnt getting any. It’s only since September have they provided him any support! They think he has serious behaviour issues that need dealing with. Today he swore at a teacher again. Now he knows if he does this he gets excluded!!
    Has anyone else had this problem?

  6. My 4yr old non verbal daughter Lina loves chinning in all the most sensitive spots on my body she even does my funny bones. It’s a love hurt thing😅 because what feels good to her hurts the heck out of me. I tried pillows and chews but she prefers to seek the input on the ones she’s ❤️

  7. Hi everyone I want people to help me out on this I have had problems with my name for years and I want to know what name is best as I cant make my mind up I want you all to help me as it will mean a lot to me I got bullied with my old name I hated it so I changed it but now I want to change it again but I want to make me self happy again.

  8. Why do I suck at getting my needs understood? I think I ask in a clear manner but obviously not. I emailed my Support Coordinator and told her that with the new company, I’d like to know who is doing the Monday and Tuesday day time shifts, and if it’s possible to get someone else on the other days because the support worker isn’t working out. I didn’t hear back, so the same support worker came the following 2 days, I still wasn’t told who to expect on Monday and Tuesday and I was really upset so I emailed her again to ask for the day shifts to be put on hold until I am told who is coming Monday and Tuesday, and if I can get someone else Wednesday to Sunday.

    The Support Coordinator emailed the company then they responded and I was given a copy. The email to the company said “can we please put a 1 week hold on shifts?” Of course the company manager has simply put a 1 week hold on shifts and the other things are not being addressed. I’m going to be in the same position after a week, with the same support worker Wednesday to Sunday who isn’t working out, and still not knowing who is coming the other days.

    I responded to my Support Coordinator telling her I didn’t want a 1 week hold, I wanted her to find out who was coming and to find someone else the other days. I sent the last email yesterday morning and not heard back.

  9. My son 15 years old who is a nonverbal boy and has autism will be so excited to see your likes in his page for his art.
    Thank you to everyone who is supporting him ♥️🌺🌺

  10. Hi everyone – Thanks to everyone who is contributing to this page, it’s very helpful to us. My son is in spectrum and 3 and half years old,no siblings. As a mother I want to know if there are certain things I should or shouldn’t do , I should and shouldn’t encourage. Do you suggest any book that helps me to raise him without making him anxious or overwhelmed bcz of things I do.

    Example: Trying to stop when he is stimmimg.. back n forth running. Talking long sentences while interacting with him etc,
    Shouldn’t or should I be.. taking him to social gatherings or to his cousins place or to my friends place .. I feel like he is overwhelmed with excitement,not sure if it’s ok or not.
    Shouldn’t or should I buy him new toys to explore

    We are starting therapy too.

  11. Hello all!!! Hope you’re having a wonderful Tuesday. I am always appreciative of all the information and stories shared on here ❤️
    I am in need of some suggestions. Does anyone in this group go to therapy or a support group? I find the older my son gets, the more I am struggling to cope with the stress of caregiving and I feel like my outlets are limited. If you have a therapist (preferably telehealth) or support group you have joined that has been an encouragement and help to you, please share 🙂 Thank you in advance!
    Ps…. This is my joy. I love him with all my heart ❤️
    I want to be the best I can be for him and his big brother but just feel like I’ve been struggling

  12. I could use some help. Let’s see if I can explain well enough. I just started working with a sixteen year old young man at my school. I’m responsible for him all day. I will start by saying I adore him. He has autism, throughout the day he can be awesome and does exactly what’s requested, but then something changes and he refuses all instructions. We have a couch and a cot for him to take a break or a nap, we try to keep naps to only mornings as he doesn’t not sleep well at night. He speaks, just not conversational. He can read and write , but he gets obsessed with certain things, like a portable white board, where he will refuse to put it down and it’s all he wants all day. I’ve gotten him to do his school work with the promise of the white board, but then I can’t get it out of his mind to move to something else. I’m just a para educator and the teacher wants the board removed for now completely.
    I would like something for him to do during down time, for fun. I don’t know what that could be as when he enjoys it, it becomes an obsession. Is there anything I can do differently to switch his thoughts around? I feel like a bad guy taking away his board, he loves to draw houses and trains. Paper is no good as he will fill an entire notebook with a drawing of his hand in five minutes.
    I want to be better, he’s very loving and wants to do well.


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