What Are Emotional Outbursts
Emotional outbursts, also known as emotional lability, refer to rapid changes in emotional expression where strong or exaggerated feelings and emotions occur.
This neurological condition often affects people who already have a pre-existing condition or have suffered brain injuries in the past.
Some people with mental health conditions, like borderline personality disorder , also experience labile emotions, but for different reasons than neurological conditions.
Examples of these types of unregulated outbursts include:
- sudden irritability
- fits of crying or laughter
- feeling angry, but not knowing why
- angry outbursts
People whove had a stroke can also have emotional lability.
The following symptoms are signs that a person should seek medical treatment:
- feeling like life is no longer worth living
- feeling like you want to hurt yourself
- hearing voices or seeing things others tell you are not there
- losing consciousness or feeling as if you are going to faint
Signs And Symptoms Of Autism Spectrum Disorders
Autism spectrum disorder is a developmental disability caused by differences in the brain. Some people with ASD have a known difference, such as a genetic condition. Other causes are not yet known. Scientists believe there are multiple causes of ASD that act together to change the most common ways people develop. We still have much to learn about these causes and how they impact people with ASD.
There is often nothing about how people with ASD look that sets them apart from other people. They may behave, communicate, interact, and learn in ways that are different from most other people. The abilities of people with ASD can vary significantly. For example, some people with ASD may have advanced conversation skills whereas others may be nonverbal. Some people with ASD need a lot of help in their daily lives others can work and live with little to no support.
ASD begins before the age of 3 years and can last throughout a persons life, although symptoms may improve over time. Some children show ASD symptoms within the first 12 months of life. In others, symptoms may not show up until 24 months or later. Some children with ASD gain new skills and meet developmental milestones, until around 18 to 24 months of age and then they stop gaining new skills, or they lose the skills they once had.
Regressive Autism Why It Occurs
By Amy KD Tobik
May 16, 2021
Has your talkative, engaged, and very energetic child suddenly become quiet and uninterested? Does your child exhibit new, unusual habits? Have you noticed speech regression? If you answered yes, then he/she may have whats called regressive autism.
Based on data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , one in every 68 children in the US has autism, including regressive autism. The US federal government spends more than $238 billion a year to help families treat autism.
In this article, we will discuss some facts about regressive autism, its signs and symptoms, and possible treatments. Well also lay out the steps parents can take if they observe these signs in their children.
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Rates Are On The Rise
An estimated 1 in 40 children in this country have autism to some degree, according to a recent study from Pediatrics based on 2016 data. That’s about 1.5 million children between the ages 3 to 17. Nationwide, autism strikes three to four times more boys than girls the rates are about the same for kids of all races.
Although there seems to be an autism epidemic, the Pediatrics study attributes the increasing prevalence to more inclusive reporting. The definition of autism has been expanded in the past decade to include a wider spectrum of problems with communication and social interaction. “Ten years ago, many children with mild autism were simply not diagnosed,” says Adrian Sandler, M.D., a developmental-behavioral pediatrician at Mission Children’s Hospital, in Asheville, North Carolina, and chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ committee on children with disabilities. Plus, there are more state and federal programs for autistic kids, giving doctors an incentive to diagnose and refer them. However, there may be additional, unknown reasons for the spike in autism rates, and researchers are investigating everything from environmental toxins to viruses to food allergies.
Age Limit For Autism Development
Older children, teens, and adults do not develop autism. In fact, to qualify for an autism spectrum diagnosis, you must have symptoms that appear during early childhood .
Thus, if you know an adult or older child who has suddenly, out of the blue, developed behavioral or social communication issues, you are not seeing someone who has acquired autism after a period of normal development.
People who appear to suddenly behave in an “autistic” manner may have developed any one of a number of other mental health issues, some of which do most commonly appear in early adulthood.
Autism-like behaviors may result from a wide range of disorders from social phobia to generalized anxiety to obsessive-compulsive disorder. These are serious disorders that have a significant impact on an individuals’ ability to function effectively, make or keep friends, or hold a job, and they should be treated. But they are not autism.
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Signs Of Autism In Adults
Autism spectrum disorder is a lifelong condition and some people with autism spectrum disorder are not diagnosed until they are adults. This could be because they fall into the higher functioning range of the autism spectrum and their symptoms are less severe, or because they were misdiagnosed with a condition such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or obsessive compulsive disorder.
Although treatment can improve some outward symptoms, people with autism will always process sensations such as sound, sight, touch and smell in different ways.
Autism is a spectrum condition, which means that adults will have different experiences of day-to-day living. An adult with mild symptoms, who is towards the higher functioning range of the autism spectrum, may:
- Have difficulties with social interactions
- Avoid making eye contact
- Not understand nonverbal facial or body gestures, such as frowning or shrugging
- Not understand changes in tone of voice, such as sarcasm
- Be comforted by rules and routine
- Get upset at changes to routines
- Be under- or over-sensitive to loud noises, strong smells or tastes
- Engage in repetitive behaviors, such as pacing or hand flapping
- Have a narrow range of interests
- Have a good memory and recall of facts
An adult who is towards the lower functioning range of the autism spectrum may:
One common sign of autism spectrum disorder in adults is anxiety. Signs of anxiety can include:
Language Communication And Autism
Many autistic children develop language skills at a different rate and in a different order from typically developing children. This means they might not understand what you say to them or might have difficulty following instructions. Some autistic children can find it difficult to use spoken language to ask for things, or tell other people what theyre thinking or feeling.
Differences in communication can make social situations like playing with other children a little more difficult.
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Interaction Joint Attention And Autism
Autistic children might interact with people in a different way from typically developing children.
For example, autistic children might not respond to their own names, smile when someone smiles at them, or notice facial expressions. But they often develop their own way of letting their parents know what they want, although they might not use the gestures that typically developing children use. For example, they might lead their parents by the hand rather than pointing to show their carers something interesting.
Autistic children often have difficulty with joint attention, which is using eye contact and gestures to share experiences with others. These difficulties can make it harder for autistic children to develop communication and language skills. For example, if a parent is pointing to a picture of a dog, but the child is interested in another part of the picture, it might be harder for the child to learn the link between the picture of a dog and the word dog.
Attention is a skill that develops over time. Our article on learning to pay attention explains how you can use play to help your autistic child build this skill.
What Is A Spectrum Disorder
Autism is a spectrum disorder, which means that people can experience a wide range of symptoms and of varying severities. For example, a person with autism who is towards the high functioning range of the spectrum will have a good grasp of language, but a person towards the low functioning range of the spectrum may not speak at all.
As such, it is important to note that a person with autism spectrum disorder will not display all symptoms and symptoms will vary in severity. However, a person with ASD will display several of these behaviors and signs.
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Rarely Shares Their Interests With You
Babies are eager to share their interests with you, first with gestures like showing and pointing, and then with sounds and words.
Notice what your baby is paying attention to to figure out what theyre interested in.
If your baby rarely their interests with you, this can be an early sign of autism.
Can A Person Develop Autism After Early Childhood
Steven Gans, MD, is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital.
There is no official diagnosis called “late-onset autism.” In fact, the DSM-5, which lists and describes all developmental and mental disorders states that the onset of symptoms is in the early developmental period.
Still, there are plenty of articles out there about children who appear to regress after developing normally throughout their earliest years. And there are plenty of people who seem to develop autistic symptoms as teens or even adults.
So does regressive or late-onset autism actually exist? What do we know about it so far?
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Early Signs Of Autism In A 5 Year Old
Once your toddler grows up, certain signs can be missed or confused with signs of growing up. You may want to consult your childs doctor if you see the following signs, which may mean your child has a developmental delay:
- Shows extreme behaviors like unusually aggressive, shy, or sad
- Doesnt show a wide range of emotions
- Usually isnt active
- Has trouble focusing on one activity for extended periods of time
- Doesnt respond to people
- Cant understand the difference between real and make-believe
- Doesnt play with peers
- Doesnt use grammar correctly
- Doesnt talk about daily activities
- Loses skills they once had
About Early Signs Of Autism
Some early signs of autism usually appear in the first 1-2 years of life.
Early signs of autism are listed below. Some children have many early signs, whereas others have only a few. The number of signs autistic children have varies according to their age and the effect that autism has on their everyday lives.
Sometimes early signs of autism change over time. For example, children might lose or stop using social-communication or language skills, or signs might become clearer as children get older.
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What To Do If Youre Concerned
If youre wondering whether some aspect of a childs development may be delayed, you have several options.
First, talk to your childs pediatrician and ask for a developmental screening. The screening tools used by doctors are more thorough than online checklists, and they may give you more reliable information about your childs abilities and progress.
You can also ask your pediatrician for a referral to a developmental specialist like a pediatric neurologist, occupational therapist, speech/language therapist, or a psychologist who specializes in evaluating children.
If your child is under the age of 3, you can reach out to the early intervention program in your state.
If your child is 3 or older, you can speak to the special education director at the public school near your home to ask for a developmental evaluation. Make sure you write down the date and directors name so you can follow up if necessary.
Its really important that you act right away if you suspect a developmental delay or disorder, because many developmental issues can be addressed more effectively with early intervention.
Caring For An Autistic Child
Caring for an autistic child can present challenges, and the following strategies may help improve the quality of life for the child and their caregivers:
- Creating a safe zone: Autistic children may need extra support to feel safe and secure in their homes. Healthcare providers who know the child can suggest specific ways to create a safe home environment.
- Providing consistency: Structure and routine are important and can help support the childs learning and development. It may help to develop a strict daily schedule for various activities.
- Helping anticipate change: Give the child advance warning of any changes to their routine. Using photographs or drawings can help communicate these upcoming changes.
- Providing positive reinforcement: Reward the child for positive behavior and progress, even if the progress seems small.
- Avoiding sensory overload: Some autistic children are overwhelmed by loud noises, bright colors, or flashing lights, and it can help to avoid anything that inundates the childs senses.
- Being flexible with communication: If the child has difficulty communicating their feelings or intentions, it can help to work with the child to develop gestures or facial expressions for communicating things such as Help! or Im stressed.
- Getting outside: At first, it can be difficult to get an autistic child to visit new places, but working at this can help build their confidence and improve the childs quality of life.
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May Exhibit Difficulty Recognizing Facial Expressions And Making Eye Contact
From an early age, children learn to make eye contact with their parents, smile when they are being smiled at, and point or wave at things they find interesting, such as an animal at the zoo or a favorite toy.
Children on the autism spectrum have a harder time recognizing emotion in facial expressions and may show little to no emotion themselves. When something startling occurs , its actually normal for a child to look to their parent and in seconds process their facial expression to identify what emotion is being conveyed. This is done as a way to verify if they too need to be concerned with what just happened. With an autistic child, however, there is often no reaction at all, which for a parent, can be very puzzling and concerning.
Older children with ASD will often look at the ground or let their eyes wander when an adult is speaking to them making eye contact is often a key struggle for children with ASD.
Because children on the spectrum have trouble reading facial expressions, they may fail to react or even react inappropriately when a parent or sibling is expressing joy, anger, or sorrow.
Signs Of Autism At 1 Year Old
The National Institute of Mental Health notes that that the differences between an infant with autism and an infant without the disorder become apparent between 12 and 36 months of age 2. When autism is caught early, intensive treatment may be able reverse some of the symptoms or lessen the severity of the disorder, explains HelpGuide.org 3. However, since the signs of autism consist of the absence of normal behavior rather than the presence of specific signs, parents can miss some of the early warning signs 3. Parents who learn more about what the average one year old can do may better understand when their baby may be at risk of having this disorder.
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Early Signs Of Autism In Boys
Autism is seen more prevalently in boys than in girls. Therefore, the core symptoms mostly coincide with the symptoms we have mentioned to be seen in children with autism in all ages.
Here are some of the early symptoms in autistic boys:
- Doesnt make eye contact
- Has repetitive behaviors
- Doesnt like physical contact
What Causes Aspergers Syndrome
The causes of Aspergers Syndrome are unknown. Genetics and brain abnormalities may be involved.
We do know that Aspergers Syndrome is NOT the result of a childs upbringing or poor parenting. Aspergers Syndrome is a neurobiological disorder, meaning it is just a part of the childs brain development, whose causes are not fully understood.
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May Be Easily Startled By Sounds Or Agitated By Background Noise
Although all children may exhibit adverse reactions to loud sounds, children with ASD have a particularly strong aversion to loud noises that may cause them to react by grimacing or wincing, rather than showing surprise or a normal wide-eyed curiosity.
It may be symptomatic of autism if you see your child convey their strongest emotions in the form of an adverse reaction to the music or TV being turned up too loud or if adults in the room are having a loud and animated conversation or if other children are playing nearby are making loud sounds or even when you run the vacuum cleaner.
This is something worth paying close attention to.
Because children with autism process the world around them differently, they may have trouble filtering out irrelevant sounds coming from the microwave or washing machine sounds that would disappear as white noise in the background for neorotypical children.
These reactions may result in fits, crying, anger, or even physically aggressive behaviorthe reaction differs based on the child and the severity of their sensitivity to noise.
Inflexibility Signs Of Autism In Children
Autistic children are often restricted in their behaviors and movements. They are inflexible, and even obsessive in terms of their activities, behaviors and interests.
- Inflexibility, to an extent, can be an indication of ASD. The following are the signs of inflexibility
- Strict routines – insisting on taking the same route to school every day
- Limited topic of interest – memorizing the train schedules
- Repeating the same actions – flapping hands, rocking back and forth these are also known as stimming, self stimulatory behavior
- Unusual attachments to objects – obsessively lining the trucks or arranging them in a certain order
- Difficulty in adapting to change – getting upset when their routines are interrupted