Social Communication And Interaction Skills
Social communication and interaction skills can be challenging for people with ASD.
Examples of social communication and social interaction characteristics related to ASD can include:
- Avoids or does not keep eye contact
- Does not respond to name by 9 months of age
- Does not show facial expressions like happy, sad, angry, and surprised by 9 months of age
- Does not play simple interactive games like pat-a-cake by 12 months of age
- Uses few or no gestures by 12 months of age
- Does not share interests with others
- Does not point or look at what you point to by 18 months of age
- Does not notice when others are hurt or sad by 24 months of age
- Does not pretend in play
- Shows little interest in peers
- Has trouble understanding other peoples feelings or talking about own feelings at 36 months of age or older
- Does not play games with turn taking by 60 months of age
We Dont Always Follow The Rules
There are many rules in life which we have to learn that are never taught. For example, we say thank you for a gift regardless of whether we like it, or asking if someone else wants the last slice of anything . The problem is, these subtle social guidelines are everywhere and, more often than not, autistic people break them without a second thought.
Obviously, it is not an autistic persons intention to break these rules, its just that, as the autistic mind works on absolutes , it can be a challenge to understand many of these acts wherein nearly all cases they go against how they would seem i.e. if someone asks how are you? they dont always actually want to hear how you are, they just want you to say fine and then you can move on.
Nevertheless, whilst autistic people arent great at getting the message when the message hasnt been made clear, we are incredible at memorizing what we are told and are brilliant at following instructions to the letter. Therefore, if theres some kind of rule that an autistic person doesnt seem to be following, just tell us. its not like we want to be naïve to this and, whats more, if you know we struggle and arent doing anything about it, well that, my friend, is perhaps more rude than anything we do.
Signs Of Asperger Syndrome
People with Asperger syndrome are generally considered to be on the higher functioning end of the autism spectrum. It is still a form of autism and is a lifelong condition.
Signs and symptoms that are typical of people with Asperger syndrome include:
- Very narrow and highly focused interests
- Great importance on rules and routines
- High standard of language skills, potentially very formal in expression
- Monotonous or repetitive speech
- Making the same noise repeatedly
These behaviors provide the person with a form of sensory input that the person finds appealing or helpful. There are various reasons why someone could be engaging in self-stimulatory behavior:
- They find it enjoyable
- It provides something to focus on, thereby reducing the effects of other, nearby stimuli
- It is soothing and helps with anxiety
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Autism Symptoms In Adults At Home
Other peoples feelings baffle you. You have a collection of figurines on your desk that must be in the same order at all times. These, and other common manifestations of ASD, may be apparent in adults at home:
- Your family members lovingly refer to you as the eccentric professor of the family, even though you dont work in academia.
- Youve always wanted a best friend, but never found one.
- You often invent your own words and expressions to describe things.
- Even when youre in a quiet place, like the library, you find yourself making involuntary noises like clearing your throat over and over.
- You follow the same schedule every day of the week, and dont like unexpected events.
- Expressions like, Curiosity killed the cat or Dont count your chickens before they hatch are confusing to you.
- You are always bumping into things and tripping over your own feet.
- In your leisure time, you prefer to play individual games and sports, like golf, where everyone works for themselves instead of working toward a common goal on a team.
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Ways To Build Relationships And Rapport
- Be patient while having a conversation, giving the person time to answer.
- Always strive to be encouraging and compassionate.
- Learn about their favorite interests, games or hobbies and try to find common ones.
- Be aware of the tendency by people with ASD to speak at length about their favorite topics which may require some gentle prompting or redirection.
- Sustaining conversation can also be challenging. You can support them by offering choices, suggesting topics or bridging the conversation to a topic you know they can discuss.
- Offer concise directions or clear choices. For example, Would you like to take a walk or ride our bikes?
- Provide specific praise such as I liked the way you waited for me before leaving the room instead of a vague good job so they understand what behavior you are seeking from them.
- To make your own communication clearer, share with the individual what you want them to do rather than what you don’t want them to do
- Dont be offended by lack of eye contact, motor tics or a lack of understanding personal boundaries. These are common challenges for someone with ASD.
- Understand that people with ASD like routines and schedules.
- People with autism tend to think literally, so it is best to avoid idioms and slang.
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High Functioning Autism Symptoms
- Fixation on Particular Subjects or Ideas
- Linguistic Oddities
- Development of Repetitive or Restrictive Habits
- Dislike of Change
- Focus on Self
- Unusual Movement Patterns
Diagnosis rates for autism continue to rise, especially as parents and professionals become more familiar with the symptoms of high-functioning autism. Many patients are getting the assistance they need to live full, productive lives because their unusual behaviors are no longer seen as simple social awkwardness or eccentricity. As more caring medical and mental health professionals learn to recognize the most common symptoms of autism, the number of interventions available to people with autism will rise.
When To Seek Medical Advice
Early intervention is very important in children with autism spectrum disorder. Services such as speech therapy and behavioral and skills training are more effective if begun when a child is young.
For this reason, it is helpful to receive a diagnosis as early as possible. However, many children remain undiagnosed until they are in school. Some people are not diagnosed until they are adults.
If you suspect someone has autism, including yourself, contact a medical professional as soon as possible.
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Prenatal Factors That May Contribute To Autism
Taking antidepressants during pregnancy, especially in the first 3 months.
Nutritional deficiencies early in pregnancy, particularly not getting enough folic acid.
The age of the mother and father
Complications at or shortly after birth, including very low birth weight and neonatal anemia
Maternal infections during pregnancy.
Exposure to chemical pollutants, such as metals and pesticides, while pregnant.
More research on these prenatal risk factors is needed, but if youre pregnant or trying to conceive, it cant hurt to take steps now to reduce your babys risk of autism.
Reducing the risk of autism: Tips for expectant mothers
Take a multivitamin. Taking 400 micrograms of folic acid daily helps prevent birth defects such as spina bifida. Its not clear whether this will also help reduce risk of autism, but taking the vitamins cant hurt.
Ask about SSRIs. Women who are taking an SSRI should talk with a clinician about all the risks and benefits of these drugs. Untreated depression in a mother can also affect her childs well-being later on, so this is not a simple decision to make.
Practice prenatal care. Eating nutritious food, trying to avoid infections, and seeing a clinician for regular check-ups can increase the chances of giving birth to a healthy child.
Source: Harvard Health Publications
Autism And Understanding The Emotions Of Other People
An autistic person may find it hard to understand the emotions of other people. Emotions are interpreted by subtle messages sent by facial expression, eye contact and body language. These are often missed or misinterpreted by an autistic person. Because of this, autistic people might be mistakenly perceived as being rude or unfeeling. Autistic people may find it difficult to understand how others perceive their behaviour.
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How Does Your Son Feel About This Behavior Does It Make Him Feel Better Or More Anxious
Its possible that your son is processing his emotions and daytime experiences. That is, he might be re-living conversations that hes had the previous day. Or, he might be rehearsing conversations for future use. If this is the case, his night talking and walking may be an important coping mechanism or a compensatory skill. In other words, this behavior may actually help him interact with his peers during the day.
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How To Begin A Diagnosis Process
Adults who suspect they or a loved one might be autistic can do a self-assessment test for adults. A person can find these tests online. While they cannot give a diagnosis, the tests are a good starting point.
A person seeking a diagnosis can take the results of such a test to a primary care doctor who will try to determine whether ASD may be present by:
- enquiring about the symptoms, both current and during childhood
- observing and interacting with the person
- speaking to a loved one
- checking for other physical or mental health conditions that may be causing symptoms
If no underlying physical condition can explain the symptoms, the doctor may refer the person to a psychiatrist or a psychologist to make an ASD diagnosis.
If symptoms are not present in childhood but begin in adolescence or adulthood, this may indicate a cognitive or mental health condition other than ASD.
It may be difficult to find a specialist who can diagnose ASD in adults. Individuals who would like a diagnosis for themselves or a loved one may need to do research to find a provider with experience diagnosing autistic adults.
Another option is to speak to a developmental pediatrician or child psychiatrist who is willing to see adult clients.
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Autism Includes Sensory Processing Challenges Which Impact Behavior
Posted June 5, 2011
Sensory challenges are the root cause of many of the non-typical behaviors you may see a child, teen, or adult on the spectrum exhibiting. Autism and sensory challenges can result in behaviors that are not always controllable. Most parents work very hard to help their children self-regulate, but it is a learning process for the child that takes time.
Here are some behaviors you may see and what they could mean:
Aba Is A Part To Full
When my sons neurodevelopmental pediatrician recommended ABA, she said 20-40 hours would do, but we couldnt go below 20.
We didnt do any hours, but I couldnt wrap my brain around that
We dont even make children do forty hours of school each week, why in the world would they need forty hours of therapy?
Or twenty hours of therapy on top of school?
I started digging to find out why it was thought that autistics needed so much time to learn to act neurotypical and found this, from Lovaass book
The ideal teaching team probably numbers between four and eight people, each working about four to eight hours per week. If your child gets from 20 to 60 hours of one-on-one teaching per week, he will probably get as much instruction as he can handle.
So parents and teachers should only be able to handle four to eight hours a week to avoid burn out, but autistic children should get 20-60 hours a week and handle it fine?
Lets be real ABA therapy is hard work for autistic children. You have to be on all the time, even if its play-based.
You have someone challenging you mentally, physically, and constantly pushing you to improve.
For forty hours a week?
Children should not work forty hours a week, in any capacity.
People With Autism Might Not Express Emotion In The Way Others Expect
Autistic people may communicate their emotions differently or react unexpectedly to events because of other things they are dealing with.
For example, Alis says that when she got good A level results and a place at university, everyone expected her to be happy. But actually she felt worried because it meant leaving home and changing her routine.
Sometimes autistic people feel things especially strongly, and they may struggle to find the words to express their emotions. Pictures and clear questions can help.
Social Communication / Interaction Behaviors May Include:
- Making little or inconsistent eye contact
- Tending not to look at or listen to people
- Rarely sharing enjoyment of objects or activities by pointing or showing things to others
- Failing to, or being slow to, respond to someone calling their name or to other verbal attempts to gain attention
- Having difficulties with the back and forth of conversation
- Often talking at length about a favorite subject without noticing that others are not interested or without giving others a chance to respond
- Having facial expressions, movements, and gestures that do not match what is being said
- Having an unusual tone of voice that may sound sing-song or flat and robot-like
- Having trouble understanding another persons point of view or being unable to predict or understand other peoples actions
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Joint Attention Language And Theory Of Mind Deficits
Joint attention, language, and social communication skills are common challenges faced by individuals with ASD, which can lead to difficulties in social relationships and relating to peers. Generally, individuals with ASD are not proficient in using language as a tool for guiding behavior and emotional regulation , which may lead to uncomfortable or awkward social situations when interacting with others, and consequentially cause ineffective social communication in this population. Additionally, individuals with ASD have difficulty perceiving emotional states and considering plausible causal factors, initiating and maintaining conversational exchanges, understanding the interests of others and previous knowledge others hold , which may cause misconceptions about others. Furthermore, poor social problem solving skills suggests they cannot recognize and repair breakdowns in these exchanges , or appropriately perceive emotional reactions of others .
Every Autistic Person Is Different But They May Share Similar Challenges
Around one in 100 people in the UK has autism, a condition that affects the way they see, hear, feel and interact with the world around them. It can make it hard to talk to others or interpret social cues, and often causes anxiety.
Many autistic people find it hard to filter out background noise in busy environments.
Autism manifests differently in different people, and some are more affected by it than others. Just like in the wider population, some autistic people will be very loud and sociable, while others are more shy and withdrawn. Some may be unable to speak at all and prefer to communicate through gestures or symbols.
So, although all autistic people tend to face similar challenges, the ways in which they affect them and their lives can be very different.
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Fascinating Images Reveal How People With Autism See The World
People with autism see the world differently.
They typically dont look at faces as closely they can be more easily overwhelmed by too many stimuli and they may fixate intensely on one thing at a time.
Previous research found these and other differences, but a new study helps you see the world how many people with autism spectrum disorder might.
The study, published in October in the journal Neuron, tracked 39 participants eyes as they looked at 700 different images. Half of the participants had been officially diagnosed with ASD, and the other half were neurotypical, meaning they didnt meet enough diagnostic criteria to be considered autistic.
Among other findings, our work shows that the story is not as simple as saying people with ASD dont look normally at faces. They dont look at most things in a typical way, study co-author Ralph Adolphs, a neuroscientist at CalTech, said in a press release.
These images show what participants eyes gravitated toward, with the reddish areas showing the most looked-at spots. In every image, the participants with autism are on the left and the neurotypical participants are on the right.
[slidepermalink=/#in-the-study-people-with-autism-tended-to-focus-on-the-center-of-images-even-when-other-objects-were-in-a-photo-1title=In the study, people with autism tended to focus on the center of images, even when other objects were in a photo.content=
For Those Who Are More Impacted On The Spectrum Nonverbal Or Need Extra Assistance
With people who are more impacted, they will have higher needs in areas such as communication and sensory issues and will need more extensive support in daily living. However, being nonverbal does not necessarily mean higher impacted. Dont presume a persons intellectual capacity based on their being low-verbal or nonverbal.
- Pause after giving directions to allow the person to process the verbal information.
- Offer to provide simply worded written directions or a checklist for routine or novel tasks.
- Give the person choices in the conversation .
- Questions should be worded to only provide acceptable options when possible. For example, if a boss says, “Would you like to join us in this meeting?” the individual with ASD saying “no” and returning to their desk is a potential response. This is because a command is being worded as a question. In this case, instead, say, Please come with us for a meeting in the conference room at 10:00 am.
- Have the person repeat important information to confirm understanding .
- Use pictures or drawings to help the person communicate .
- Visual schedules in which you provide a photo or graphic to designate different activities planned can also be helpful.
- Although some people can carry on conversations that last for hours, some individuals may only be able to answer a single question, or engage in in a conversation for 5 minutes. In these situations, building in breaks for the individual can be productive and help them stay calmer and more focused.
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