What Is Low Functioning Autism
The difference between high functioning autism and low functioning autism is behavioral. Low functioning autism causes behaviors that inhibit the ability to conduct daily life. Children with high functioning autism have similar abilities to his/her neurotypical peers.
This is especially true when the child receives early intervention therapies. Children diagnosed with low functioning autism need more support. They struggle to communicate and manage their behaviors.
Symptoms are identifiable in infancy or early childhood. Children with autism spectrum disorder will not meet neurodevelopmental benchmarks on time or at all. These children experience delays in learning how to self-soothe, forming bonds, and talking. They usually experience severe communication and behavioral challenges.
Children with low functioning autism struggle to complete activities of daily living. They generally need help with most activities. Children with severe autism are more likely to have co-morbid conditions. These include such as Fragile X syndrome, tuberous sclerosis, and epilepsy.
Level : Requiring Substantial Support
People with ASD level 2 will have more obvious problems with verbal and social communication than those diagnosed with level 1. Likewise, they will find it harder to change focus. They might, for example, get very upset when they have to move from one activity to the next or to leave school at the end of the day.
Children with level 2 tend to have very narrow interests and engage in repetitive behaviors that can make it difficult for them to function in certain situations.
A person diagnosed with ASD level 2 tends to speak in simple sentences and also struggles with nonverbal forms of communication.
Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorders
Autism is not a single disorder, but a spectrum of closely related disorders with a shared core of symptoms. Every individual on the autism spectrum has problems to some degree with social interaction, empathy, communication, and flexible behavior. But the level of disability and the combination of symptoms varies tremendously from person to person. In fact, two kids with the same diagnosis may look very different when it comes to their behaviors and abilities.
If youre a parent dealing with a child on the autism spectrum, you may hear many different terms including high-functioning autism, atypical autism, autism spectrum disorder, and pervasive developmental disorder. These terms can be confusing, not only because there are so many, but because doctors, therapists, and other parents may use them in dissimilar ways.
But no matter what doctors, teachers, and other specialists call the autism spectrum disorder, its your childs unique needs that are truly important. No diagnostic label can tell you exactly what challenges your child will have. Finding treatment that addresses your childs needs, rather than focusing on what to call the problem, is the most helpful thing you can do. You dont need a diagnosis to start getting help for your childs symptoms.
Whats in a name?
Recommended Reading: Can A Child With Autism Have Dyslexia
How Does Asd Affect Communication
The word autism has its origin in the Greek word autos, which means self. Children with ASD are often self-absorbed and seem to exist in a private world in which they have limited ability to successfully communicate and interact with others. Children with ASD may have difficulty developing language skills and understanding what others say to them. They also often have difficulty communicating nonverbally, such as through hand gestures, eye contact, and facial expressions.
The ability of children with ASD to communicate and use language depends on their intellectual and social development. Some children with ASD may not be able to communicate using speech or language, and some may have very limited speaking skills. Others may have rich vocabularies and be able to talk about specific subjects in great detail. Many have problems with the meaning and rhythm of words and sentences. They also may be unable to understand body language and the meanings of different vocal tones. Taken together, these difficulties affect the ability of children with ASD to interact with others, especially people their own age.
Below are some patterns of language use and behaviors that are often found in children with ASD.
Is Rett Syndrome Autism
Rett syndrome or Rett disorder has also been called autism-dementia-ataxia-loss of purposeful hand use syndrome.
But its not included on the autism spectrum. Its a brain disorder caused by genetic mutations.
Classic Rett syndrome usually affects girls who display typical development for the first few months. Then, symptoms start to appear, involving issues with:
- language and communication
If you think your child might have symptoms of autism, speak with their pediatrician or a primary care physician. They can refer you to the appropriate specialist, such as a:
- developmental pediatrician
- psychiatrist or psychologist
You can also request an evaluation from your states public early childhood assistance center. Its free, and you dont need a doctors referral or diagnosis. Your local public school district can also provide assistance.
Theres no one medical test to diagnose autism spectrum disorder. A doctor can make the diagnosis with a comprehensive behavior evaluation and developmental screening.
Some people on the spectrum need minimal support services. Others require a lot. Either way, early intervention is associated with long-term positive effects.
Diagnosing Autism Spectrum Disorder
In order to determine whether your child has autism spectrum disorder or another developmental condition, clinicians look carefully at the way your child interacts with others, communicates, and behaves. Diagnosis is based on the patterns of behavior that are revealed.
If you are concerned that your child has autism spectrum disorder and developmental screening confirms the risk, ask your family doctor or pediatrician to refer you immediately to an autism specialist or team of specialists for a comprehensive evaluation. Since the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder is complicated, it is essential that you meet with experts who have training and experience in this highly specialized area.
The team of specialists involved in diagnosing your child may include:
Diagnosing Autism Spectrum Disorder is not a brief process. There is no single medical test that can diagnose it definitively instead, in order to accurately pinpoint your childs problem, multiple evaluations and tests may be necessary.
Check For Physical Issues
Few people with severe autism have the ability to describe physical symptoms or problems. Thus, it’s a good idea to start by checking whether a child with severe autism has physical symptoms that may be exacerbating problem behaviors.
It’s not uncommon, for example, to discover that a child’s apparently aggressive behavior is actually a response to severe gastrointestinal painpain which can be treated through dietary changes. Once the pain is gone, the person finds it much easier to relax, engage, learn, and behave appropriately.
Don’t Miss: Asd Adhd Comorbidity
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.
Mild Autism: The Most Difficult To Diagnose
Children with mild autism are less likely to show outward signs such as overtly hand-flapping, toe-walking, or spinning. They may demonstrate those behaviors but, if they do, they are likely to be diagnosed without confusion or misdiagnosis. In that respect, its difficult to miss such blatant signs. However, more often, children with mild symptoms do not demonstrate those classic signs of autism but, rather, are obsessive they tend to fixate on a particular interest, fear, need for reassurance, or change in routine. They may also be quite particular and are routine-oriented, rule-oriented, and sensory sensitive. Though they tend to be socially awkward, they can be social and have friends.
You May Like: What Does Autism Look Like In Girls
Terms For Types Of Autism That Are No Longer Used Today
When autism was categorized by types, the lines between the different types of autism could be blurry. Diagnosis was, and still is, complicated and often stressful for families.
If you or your child received a diagnosis before the DSM-5 changed, you may still be using the older terminology . Thats OK. Your doctor may continue to use those terms if they help.
Social And Communication Skills
Impairments in social skills present many challenges for individuals with ASD. Deficits in social skills may lead to problems with friendships, romantic relationships, daily living, and vocational success. One study that examined the outcomes of adults with ASD found that, compared to the general population, those with ASD were less likely to be married, but it is unclear whether this outcome was due to deficits in social skills or intellectual impairment, or some other reason.
Prior to 2013, deficits in social function and communication were considered two separate symptoms of autism. The current criteria for autism diagnosis require individuals to have deficits in three social skills: social-emotional reciprocity, nonverbal communication, and developing and sustaining relationships.
Some of the symptoms related to social reciprocity include:
- Lack of mutual sharing of interests: many children with autism prefer not to play or interact with others.
- Lack of awareness or understanding of other people’s thoughts or feelings: a child may get too close to peers without noticing that this makes them uncomfortable.
- Atypical behaviors for attention: a child may push a peer to gain attention before starting a conversation.
Symptoms related to relationships includes the following:
- Defects in developing, maintaining, and understanding relationships.
- Difficulties adjusting behavior to fit social contexts.
Recommended Reading: Can A Child With Autism Have Dyslexia
Yoga Physical Therapy And Orthotics In The Management Plan
In assessing the standing posture of patients with a development disability, it becomes clear that foot and ankle problems are often interrelatedaffecting, and being affected by, overall body posture.
Yoga. There is a role for exercises based on yoga, particularly the Iyengar method, when devising a therapeutic approach to these problems, to improve symmetry in standing posture. Iyengar yoga considers standing postures to be the foundation of other yoga asanas . Practicing standing poses, such as a tree or mountain pose, and even wide-legged standing with foot/ankle in neural position with big toe pointing forward teaches the studentpatient to engage gravity by working on awareness in active symmetrical standing with contracting muscles of lower extremities in extension, abduction, adduction, and rotation.16
Should I Get My Child Assessed
You should get your child assessed for ASD if:
- you have concerns
- you notice any signs or symptoms
- your child has a close relative with ASD
Normally, your health care provider will test your child first. You can help your health care provider understand the unusual behaviour you see by:
- taking photographs
- maintaining logs or diaries
- capturing these behaviours on video
If there are concerns, then your health care provider should refer you to a specialist for more tests. A specialist is the best person to help diagnose your child.
Don’t Miss: Is Level 2 Autism High Functioning
Do Symptoms Of Autism Change Over Time
For many children, symptoms improve with age and behavioral treatment. During adolescence, some children with ASD may become depressed or experience behavioral problems, and their treatment may need some modification as they transition to adulthood. People with ASD usually continue to need services and supports as they get older, but depending on severity of the disorder, people with ASD may be able to work successfully and live independently or within a supportive environment.
Training For Parents Families And Caregivers
Parents, family members, caregivers, teachers and peers can receive training so that they can help support a person with ASD. Many of these skills are meant to help caregivers:
- learn how to deal with self-injuring behaviours
- learn how to communicate with someone living with ASD
- recognize and deal with situations that cause upset
- learn supportive routines and behaviours that bring comfort and promote success
You May Like: Can A Child Outgrow Autism
Whats Triggering Your Childs Outbursts
Autism is not a hardwired impairment programmed into a childs genes and destined to remain fixed forever. Paying attention differently to and recording the environment around and prior to incidents can lead to an understanding of triggers for occurrences. Sensory breaks can help your child regroup and refocus.
What Conditions Are Considered Spectrum Disorders
Until recently, experts talked about different types of autism, such as autistic disorder, Aspergerâs syndrome, pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified . But now they are all called âautism spectrum disorders.â
If you still hear people use some of the older terms, youâll want to know what they mean:
Asperger’s syndrome. This is on the milder end of the autism spectrum. A person with Asperger’s may be very intelligent and able to handle their daily life. They may be really focused on topics that interest them and discuss them nonstop. But they have a much harder time socially.
Pervasive developmental disorder, not otherwise specified . This mouthful of a diagnosis included most children whose autism was more severe than Asperger’s syndrome, but not as severe as autistic disorder.
Autistic disorder. This older term is further along the autism spectrum than Aspergerâs and PDD-NOS. It includes the same types of symptoms, but at a more intense level.
Childhood disintegrative disorder. This was the rarest and most severe part of the spectrum. It described children who develop normally and then quickly lose many social, language, and mental skills, usually between ages 2 and 4. Often, these children also developed a seizure disorder.
Recommended Reading: Autistic Life Span
Foods That Can Make Autism Worse
Autism, or autism spectrum disorder , is diagnosed in 1 in 54 children, according to the CDC. The condition is associated with an array of challenges, including abnormal social skills, developmental delays, communication problems, and behavioral issues.
According to research, over 70% of children with autism have at least one co-existing physical or mental health condition, and 40% have two or more of them. Among children with autism:
- 30-61% have ADHD
- Over 50% have chronic sleep problems
- 32% are overweight
- 16% are obese
In addition, kids with autism are 8 times more likely to have gastrointestinal issues compared to those who dont have the condition. And among adults with ASD, 26% have depression and 4-35% have schizophrenia .
All of these challenges and symptoms can range from mild to severe. And food can have an impact on severity.
Autistic People May Act In A Different Way To Other People
Autistic people may:
- find it hard to communicate and interact with other people
- find it hard to understand how other people think or feel
- find things like bright lights or loud noises overwhelming, stressful or uncomfortable
- get anxious or upset about unfamiliar situations and social events
- take longer to understand information
- do or think the same things over and over
If you think you or your child may be autistic, get advice about the signs of autism.
Don’t Miss: Puzzle Piece Autism Meaning
What Are The 5 Types Of Autism
Autism refers to a wide range of neurodevelopmental disorders. If your child is living with autism, it is important for you to understand the various types of autism and the symptoms presented by each.
Understanding the unique challenges presented by each type of autism will guide you in helping your child cope with the disorder. There are five major types of autism which include Aspergers syndrome, Rett syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, Kanners syndrome, and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified.
Why This Terminology Is No Longer Used By Doctors
The spectrum illustrates a broad range of developmental delays and symptom severity.
ASD includes people who have a few mild autistic traits to those who need help with day-to-day functioning. It represents every intelligence level, as well as varying degrees of communication and social abilities.
The differences between one type and another type can be subtle and difficult to determine.
Read Also: High Vs Low Functioning Autism
What Research Is Being Done
The mission of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke is to seek fundamental knowledge about the brain and nervous system and to use that knowledge to reduce the burden of neurological disease. The NINDS is a component of the National Institutes of Health , the leading supporter of biomedical research in the world. NINDS and several other NIH Institutes and Centers support research on autism spectrum disorder.
Nearly 20 years ago the NIH formed the Autism Coordinating Committee to enhance the quality, pace, and coordination of efforts at the NIH to find a cure for autism. The NIH/ACC has been instrumental in promoting research to understand and advance ASD. The NIH/ACC also participates in the broader Federal Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee , composed of representatives from various U.S. Department of Health and Human Services agencies, the Department of Education, and other governmental organizations, as well as public members, including individuals with ASD and representatives of patient advocacy organizations. One responsibility of the IACC is to develop a strategic plan for ASD research, which guides research programs supported by NIH and other participating organizations.
Autism Symptoms In Adults At Work
Symptoms of ASD vary greatly from person to person based on the severity of the condition. These or similar manifestations of ASD may be apparent at work:
- When youre having a conversation with your boss, you prefer to look at the wall, her shoes, or anywhere but directly into her eyes.
- Your co-workers say that you speak like a robot.
- Each item on your desk has a special place, and you dont like when the cleaning company rearranges it to dust.
- You are really good at math, or software coding, but struggle to succeed in other areas.
- You talk to your co-workers the same way you talk with your family and friends.
- During meetings, you find yourself making involuntary noises, like clearing your throat over and over.
- When talking with your boss, you have difficulty telling if he is happy with your performance or mad at you.
In addition, individuals with ASD may exhibit extraordinary talents in visual skills, music, math, and art. And roughly 40 percent of individuals with ASD have average or above-average intelligence.
If you experience these or similar symptoms of ASD, consult a doctor or mental-health professional for a formal autism evaluation and learn more about treatment options for autism symptoms in adults.
Recommended Reading: Can A Child With Autism Have Dyslexia