What Is Severe Autism
There are three main diagnosable levels of autism, a spectrum disorder. Level 1 is considered high-functioning or less severe, while Level 3 is considered low-functioning and the most severe type.
People with Level 3 autism have significant difficulties socializing and participate in negative and potentially unsafe behaviors. They often have problems speaking and difficulties with nonverbal communication. They may not be able to complete basic life tasks.
Since autism is a spectrum disorder, there is a wide range of severity and disability within the disorder.
Severe autism can often be recognized as early as infancy. Babies may struggle to make eye contact, respond to their name, or babble.
Communication, language, motor skill, and behavioral delays are common in autistic babies and toddlers. While the diagnosis is not considered to be stable until around age 2, parents and caregivers may notice the signs of autism much earlier.
Signs of severe autism can include:
- Impaired social interaction.
Severe autism often co-occurs with other disorders, most commonly fragile X syndrome, epilepsy, and tuberous sclerosis. These comorbid conditions can present additional challenges, such as further developmental delays, speech and language issues, motor skill problems, reduced cognitive abilities, seizures, and tumors.
Understanding Differences In Moderate To Severe Autism
As the parent of a child with autism, identifying the differences between moderate to severe autism assists you in understanding your child and helping him or her achieve a quality of life and the highest possible level of independence possible.
Here are some of the differences in moderate to severe autism.
First Things First: What Is Behind The Diagnosis Of Autism
Autism, or Autism Spectrum Disorder , is diagnosed and defined solely on the basis of the presence of surface symptoms. As autism is not a biological thing in itself, it therefore cannot be cured, since a behavioural label is not a disease.
It is always worth remembering that there is nothing else to an autism diagnosis, or autism itself, apart from the surface symptoms.
This begs the question: what is causing the symptoms that earn one a label of autism in each individual case? And more importantly, can those causative factors, once identified, be addressed on a case by case basis?
For example, the more the persons sensory processing is disturbed, or the more discord and delay there is in the way that their brain controls their motor function, the more severe their autism symptoms will appear.
If one is able to improve the way that the brain processes and reacts to the incoming sensory information, it is logical to expect that the person will become able to make sense of the world in a more confident and anxiety-free manner, and that some improvements in social interaction, interests and behaviours will follow. In other words, their core autism symptoms would potentially diminish.
If the persons control of their motor function can be improved, it is logical to expect also that improvements in speech will follow. In other words, the apparent symptoms of autism, as it is currently defined, could potentially be reduced.
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Are Siblings At Greater Risk For Autism Spectrum Disorder
The truth is that genetics do play a role in autism. When one child is diagnosed with ASD, the next child to come along has about a 20% greater risk of developing autism than normal. When the first two children in a family have both been diagnosed with ASD, the third child has about a 32% greater risk of developing ASD.
Signs And Symptoms In Children With Autism
Autism usually appears before a child is 3 years old. Some signs of autism may be evident as early as 10 to 12 months, and certainly by 18 months.
Varying widely, signs and symptoms in children with autism typically include:
- Impaired communication skills
- Difficulty making eye contact
- Repetitive behaviors and activities such as arm flapping, head banging, or twirling an object over and over
- Rigid behavior and difficulty with change and transitions
- Narrow range of interests and activities
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Dietary Approaches For The Treatment Of Autism
Various dietary treatments have been developed by therapists but many of them do not have a scientific support. Therefore, these are not widely recommended. An unproven treatment may help someone but not others with same problem.
Many biomedical treatments are also advised for a change in the diet. This may include making changes in certain types of foods in a childs diet and using minerals and vitamin supplements as part of the food. Some people find that such a change in the diet makes differences in how their children feel and act. But the idea of this approach is solely based on the fact that allergies to some foods and lack of vitamins may complicate the behavior and affect development of autistic child respectively. This however needs more research and scientific evidences to fully establish or reject as a treatment option.
Dont Wait For A Diagnosis
As the parent of a child with ASD or related developmental delays, the best thing you can do is to start treatment right away. Seek help as soon as you suspect somethings wrong. Dont wait to see if your child will catch up later or outgrow the problem. Dont even wait for an official diagnosis. The earlier children with autism spectrum disorder get help, the greater their chance of treatment success. Early intervention is the most effective way to speed up your childs development and reduce the symptoms of autism over the lifespan.
When your child has autism
Learn about autism. The more you know about autism spectrum disorder, the better equipped youll be to make informed decisions for your child. Educate yourself about the treatment options, ask questions, and participate in all treatment decisions.
Become an expert on your child. Figure out what triggers your kids challenging or disruptive behaviors and what elicits a positive response. What does your child find stressful or frightening? Calming? Uncomfortable? Enjoyable? If you understand what affects your child, youll be better at troubleshooting problems and preventing or modifying situations that cause difficulties.
Dont give up. Its impossible to predict the course of autism spectrum disorder. Dont jump to conclusions about what life is going to be like for your child. Like everyone else, people with autism have an entire lifetime to grow and develop their abilities.
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Feingold Diet And Autism
The Low Salicylate Diet or Feingold diet is a food elimination program created by Dr. Ben F. Feingold to treat hyperactivity. It eliminates salicylates from food sources like artificial colors, artificial flavors, aspartame, and certain petroleum-based preservatives. Salicylates are natural plant toxins found in berries, citrus fruits , some vegetables, honey, yeast extract, and almonds.
Researchers found that some people with ASD are unable to digest and process salicylates and are considered salicylate intolerant. People who do not process salicylates well are seen to exhibit attention problems, hyperactivity, mood swings, and anxiety.
Foods not allowed in the Feingold diet are:
- artificial colorings, such as red 40 and blue 2
- artificial flavorings, such as synthetic vanilla or peppermint
- artificial sweeteners, including: aspartame, sucralose, saccharin
- preservatives, such as: butylated hydroxytoluene , butylated hydroxyanisole , tert-Butylhydroquinone
- foods containing salicylates
The complete list of foods that are allowed in the Feingold diet are on its website. Some of these are bananas, beans, bean sprouts, beets, cabbage, cauliflower, dates, grapefruit, honeydew, kale, kiwi, lemons, lentils, lettuce, mangoes, mushrooms, onions, spinach, squash, pineapples, and sweet potatoes.
Autism Can Be Misdiagnosed
In some cases, a practitioner may put an “autism” label on a child because of behaviors and symptoms that fit the criteria of autism but miss other issues that underlie the behaviors. Not only are many symptoms of autism shared by other related , but some autism-like symptoms may be caused by physical issues that can be addressed. For example:
- Late or disordered speech, a classic symptom of autism, can be caused by many different issues ranging from Apraxia of Speech to hearing loss. Address the underlying issues, and typical speech may emerge.
- Sensory challenges can lead to autism-like behavior, but it is very possible to have sensory dysfunction without being autistic. Help a child to manage or avoid sensory assaults, and many of the behaviors will disappear.
- Some autism-like behaviors can result from allergies, toxins, or food intolerances. If a child is allergic to or intolerant of casein or gluten, for example, removing those items from their diet can have a tremendous positive impact on learning and behavior.
- In some cases, children are diagnosed with autism when a more appropriate diagnosis might be Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Social Anxiety, or Non-Verbal Learning Disorder. When that’s the case, it’s possible for a combination of cognitive therapy and appropriate medication to essentially eradicate the problem.
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Communication & Language For Moderate To Severe Autism
Communication and language capabilities are generally limited in children with moderate autism. They may acquire language skills later than normal and speak below their age level. In some cases, children with moderate autism are nonverbal and unable to speak words.
Depending on intellectual abilities, children with moderate autism may learn to communicate through pictures, typing, or via other communication devices.
Many children with severe autism have very limited communication and language abilities. If they can speak, they repeat words and phrases they hear others say or say only a few words that do not fit the context.
Despite serious limitations, though, children with severe autism can communicate through sounds, groans, and behaviors. Parents use observation, interaction, and speech therapy to understand their child and discover ways to improve communication and language.
Children with moderate autism may or may not interact with peers. They generally struggle to make eye contact, interpret body language and emotions, and understand figures of speech, and they may simply walk away from conversations that dont involve their favorite topics or interests.
However, children with moderate autism can play near or with peers unless their repetitive behaviors like arm flapping or rocking, limited speech capabilities, and aggression scare peers who dont understand the disorder.
Study Found Gender Differences In Autism Severity Changes
- University of California – Davis Health
- A new study found that around 30 percent of young children with autism have less severe autism symptoms at age 6 than they did at age 3, with some children losing their autism diagnoses entirely. It also found that girls tend to show greater reduction and less rise in their autism symptom severity than boys with autism. Children with higher IQs were more likely to show a reduction in their symptoms.
During early childhood, girls with autism tend to show greater reduction and less rise in their autism symptom severity than boys with autism, a UC Davis MIND Institute study has found.
Early childhood is a period of substantial brain growth with critical ability for learning and development. It also is the typical time for an initial diagnosis of autism and the best time for early intervention. In the U.S., about 1 in 54 children has been identified with autism spectrum disorder , with four times as many boys with ASD as girls.
Previous studies indicated inconsistent results in terms of changes in autism severity during childhood. The general sense was that the severity of autism at diagnosis would last a lifetime.
Change in severity of autism symptoms and optimal outcome
“It is also true that some children appear to get worse,” Amaral said. “Unfortunately, it is not currently possible to predict who will do well and who will develop more severe autism symptoms and need different interventions.”
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How Is Autism Diagnosed
The specialist uses a set of standard tests to make a diagnosis. To be diagnosed with autism, someone must have lasting difficulties in social communication and social interaction in multiple situations, as well as restricted, repetitive patterns of behaviour, interests, or activities. These symptoms must have been evident from early life and significantly affect the persons life.
Autism is classified into different levels:
- Level 1: people requiring support
- Level 2: people requiring substantial support
- Level 3: people more severely affected and requiring very substantial support
Children can usually be diagnosed at around 2, but sometimes symptoms are subtle and children are not diagnosed until they start school or even until they become adults.
Can Autism Be Cured Or Can A Child Lose An Autism Diagnosis
Note: I may earn money or products from the companies, products, or links mentioned in this post.
I talked to a friend the other day and since I have two kids with autism, she asked me this question: Can Autism be cured?
Youre much more familiar with autism than I am so please tell me if Im totally wrong, but Ive got a friend telling me how you can basically cure autism with early intervention services. I dont agree, but wanted to know if this was true?
To be honest, this is not a new question for me. Ive had many friends and family members ask this question and Ive had just as many tell me about all the ways they think autism can be cured.
If you google, Can Autism be Cured? many different articles come up. There are stories about parents who claim they cured their childs autism and there are articles about what autism is and how it cant be cured. So which is it?
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Communicate With Your Team
Communicating with the doctor, therapist, teachers, and other healthcare providers can help make your daily tasks a lot easier.
For parents, this can mean asking for suggestions to continue practicing the skills your child is learning in therapy, which makes it easier for them to be more successful.
Treatment Can Radically Improve Symptoms
While children with autism don’t appear to just “get better” over time without intervention, most do improve over time with therapies and maturity. Some improve a great deal.
Practitioners of virtually every major autism therapy can tell stories of a child who started out with severe challenges and, over time, built significant skills. In some cases, children are described as “recovered,” or “indistinguishable from typical peers.” The reality, however, is that most children who appear to be “cured of autism” have either been cured of some physical problem which caused autism-like symptoms or learned coping techniques and behaviors that effectively mask their autism symptoms.
If a person was accurately diagnosed with autism, he will still have the same differences he had as a child. He will almost certainly need at least some support in managing the challenges of modern life. But in some cases, he may be able to “pass” as neurotypical in at least some situations.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Autism
The behaviours associated with autism fall into two broad areas: impaired social interaction and communication, and restricted and repetitive behaviours and interests.
The common signs and symptoms of autism are:
- lack of social or emotional exchanges like pointing, smiling, showing you things
- lack of non-verbal communication such as nodding and shaking head, using hand gestures
- difficulty developing and maintaining relationships appropriate to the age, such as peer play, lack of close friends
- delayed expressed speech and understanding of speech
- lack of eye contact when speaking
- loss of language skills at any age
- excessively following routines, patterns or behaviour, and becoming distressed at changes
- stereotyped or repetitive speech, movements or use of objects, such as rolling wheels before eyes, flapping hands, toe walking
- strongly reacting to sensory input such as sound, pain or textures
- restricted or fixated interests such as only playing with certain toys or discussing certain topics
- being aggressive toward other people or toward self
Speech And Communication Problems
At Therapeutic Pathways, we use the most recent and research-based findings in speech and language pathology in each childs treatment plan. Our speech, language and communication goals are integrated into our comprehensive Applied Behavior Analysis treatment plan to help children develop the skills they need to communicate their thoughts, feelings, and needs.
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Special Diets To Help Ease Autism Symptoms
Diet does not cure autismthat is a fact. However, there are also no known adverse effects of specific diets that are believed to worsen symptoms of autism. Lets review some well-known diets developed for specific dietary needs and conditions. Keep in mind that benefits are not guaranteed for every child on the spectrum.
Can Some Kids Outgrow Autism
But what does that mean for those kids? The findings suggest that the vast majority continue to face challenges and need support, said lead researcher Dr. Lisa Shulman.
Her team found that of the 38 children who “lost” their autism diagnosis, most were found to have other conditions — including learning disabilities, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and anxiety disorders.
Why did the picture change for those children?
That’s the “million-dollar question,” said Shulman, a professor of pediatrics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine/Montefiore Health System in New York City.
One possibility is that the initial diagnosis was wrong. But it’s also possible some children responded to early therapy aimed at supporting their development.
Shulman suspects both scenarios are true.
On the other hand, early behavioral therapy can help children with autism build their social and language skills, and ease behavior issues. So young kids who respond may no longer meet the criteria for autism at a certain point.
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