What Are The Signs Of Autism Spectrum Disorder
Signs of ASD range from mild to severely disabling, and every person is different. The following signs are considered to be red flags that indicate your young child may be at risk for autism. If your child shows any of the following signs, please get in touch with your childs healthcare provider to discuss a referral for an autism evaluation.
The signs include the following:
- Your child doesnt respond to their name being called at all or responds inconsistently.
- Your child doesnt smile widely or make warm, joyful expressions by the age of 6 months.
- Your child doesnt engage in smiling, making sounds and making faces with you or other people by the age of 9 months.
- Your child doesnt babble by 12 months.
- No back-and-forth gestures such as showing, pointing, reaching or waving by 12 months.
- No words by 16 months.
- No meaningful, two-word phrases by 24 months.
- Any loss of speech, babbling or social skills at any age.
Autisms Genetic Risk Factors
Research tells us that autism tends to run in families. Changes in certain genes increase the risk that a child will develop autism. If a parent carries one or more of these gene changes, they may get passed to a child . Other times, these genetic changes arise spontaneously in an early embryo or the sperm and/or egg that combine to create the embryo. Again, the majority of these gene changes do not cause autism by themselves. They simply increase risk for the disorder
What You Should Know About Autism
There are a lot of misconceptions about autism.
As the climate activist Greta Thunberg points out, autism isn’t “something you have,” nor is it a disease. Rather, the Centers for Disease Control defines autism as “a developmental disability that can cause significant social, communication, and behavioral challenges.”
While there’s much to learn about autism to shed yourself of harmful misconceptions, here are some basics to know.
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Autistic Girls Dont Fit The Model
Autism is a developmental disorder that is marked by two unusual kinds of behaviors: deficits in communication and social skills, and restricted or repetitive behaviors. Children with autism also often have sensory processing issues. But heres the hitch, according to Susan F. Epstein, PhD, a clinical neuropsychologist. The model that we have for a classic autism diagnosis has really turned out to be a male model. Thats not to say that girls dont ever fit it, but girls tend to have a quieter presentation, with not necessarily as much of the repetitive and restricted behavior, or it shows up in a different way.
Stereotypes may get in the way of recognition. So where the boys are looking at train schedules, girls might have excessive interest in horses or unicorns, which is not unexpected for girls, Dr. Epstein notes. But the level of the interest might be missed and the level of oddity can be a little more damped down. Its not quite as obvious to an untrained eye. She adds that as the spectrum has grown, its gotten harder to diagnose less-affected boys as well.
In fact, according to a 2005 study at Stanford University, autistic girls exhibit less repetitive and restricted behavior than boys do. The study also found brain differences between autistic boys and girls help explain this discrepancy.
Restricted Behavior And Play
Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder are often restricted, rigid, and even obsessive in their behaviors, activities, and interests. Symptoms may include:
- Repetitive body movements moving constantly.
- Obsessive attachment to unusual objects .
- Preoccupation with a narrow topic of interest, sometimes involving numbers or symbols .
- A strong need for sameness, order, and routines . Gets upset by change in their routine or environment.
- Clumsiness, atypical posture, or odd ways of moving.
- Fascinated by spinning objects, moving pieces, or parts of toys .
- Hyper- or hypo-reactive to sensory input .
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How Is Autism Treated
There is no cure for ASD. Therapies and behavioral interventions are designed to remedy specific symptoms and can substantially improve those symptoms. The ideal treatment plan coordinates therapies and interventions that meet the specific needs of the individual. Most health care professionals agree that the earlier the intervention, the better.
Educational/behavioral interventions: Early behavioral/educational interventions have been very successful in many children with ASD. In these interventions therapists use highly structured and intensive skill-oriented training sessions to help children develop social and language skills, such as applied behavioral analysis, which encourages positive behaviors and discourages negative ones. In addition, family counseling for the parents and siblings of children with ASD often helps families cope with the particular challenges of living with a child with ASD.
Hypnosis For Autism: Is It Beneficial
Ever since my autism diagnosis 25 years ago, doctors and therapists have been a regular part of my life. Ive run the gamut of antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs Ive seen countless therapists in my journey recovering from PTSD, social anxiety, and addiction.
Despite keeping an open mind, when I was offered a course of hypnotherapy I didnt take it lightly. I went straight to Doctor Google hoping to demystify the process.
If youre on this page you probably want to know if this is the right kind of therapy for your child. You may have the same mental image that I had of the bizarrely dressed showman coaxing his audience to do bizarre things. Terrifying, right?
I can assure you, its nothing like the stuff you see on TV. The practice is perfectly safe, and a good hypnotherapist will be happy to address any worries and explain how it works. Its important to let go of those preconceptions and think of this in the same way as any other treatment you may have tried.
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What Are The Causes Of Autism
The exact cause of autism is still under research, although the following factors predispose an individual to the development of autism
- Gender: Autism is four times more common in boys than in girls.
- Children born to older parents are at high risk of autism spectrum disorder .
- ASD is often seen if a parent or sibling suffers from autistic disorders.
- Genes: People suffering from genetic diseases such as fragile X syndrome or tuberous sclerosis have a higher risk of ASD.
- Medication: Certain drugs such as valproic acid and thalidomide taken by the mother during pregnancy may cause the development of autistic characteristics in the child.
It must be noted that autism is not contagious. It does not spread by playing with or having contact with an affected child. Additionally, there is no relationship between vaccinations and autism development.
- Not responding to name by 12 months
- Not pointing to distant object by 14 months
Symptoms of autism in a child around five years
Symptoms of autism in an adult
- Difficulty in interacting with other people.
- Unable to pick up on body language and emotional subtext in conversations.
- Avoid eye contact while speaking.
- Extreme anxiety in various social situations.
- They may make friends but are unable to maintain friendships or relations.
- Extreme distress at even a minor change in routine.
- Stubborn adherence to rules.
You Get Upset If Your Daily Routine Needs To Be Changed
If you’re a routines person, with everything just so and a very specific way of getting to each of your tasks in the morning, and if you get seriously upset if those routines become obstructed, you may have a place on the autism spectrum. Routines are, for the autistic, often a way to cope with overwhelming amounts of information and sound, and a very necessary way to get through every day.
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Getting To Know Yourself As An Autistic Person
Being in tune with yourself gives you a more in-depth understanding of how being autistic affects you.
Paying attention to your natural reactions to situations throughout the day can provide a clue about who you are.
You may go into an office and immediately feel eye pain from the florescent lights and the buzzing sound they make, or you may interact with someone close to you and feel lost like you are missing something and dont know what that is part of your autistic self.
Each autistic person has individual needs and wants, so what works for me might not work for you, but that is where paying close attention to yourself each day can help.
It sounds vague to say pay attention to yourself and youll figure it all out, but its still a great place to start.
Knowing How to Ask for What You Need & Want
When you know how to ask directly for what you need and want, it becomes so much easier in life to unmask.
You may be someone who needs concrete techniques and examples when learning something new, and literal and logical step-by-step instructions, especially when starting a new job.
There is nothing wrong with needing more detailed help, and some people will appreciate you taking the time to make sure you really understand what they are showing you.
Taking the time to explain to people in your life what autism means and how it affects you, can make them more receptive to providing accommodations.
How to Ask for What You Need Examples
You Are Often Focused On Small Details Rather Than The Big Picture
The autistic brain is good at certain things and not at others. It’s exceptionally detail-oriented, able to pick up on a lot of tiny information at once, but it finds it harder to put together into a big picture. A 2013 study from NYU indicated that autistic brains process information in a different way than non-autistic ones, possibly because of lower levels of oxytocin, which both influences our social bonding and helps our brains sort and prioritize information.
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They Are Not Tied To Social Expectations
If you’ve ever bought a car, played a game, or joined a club to fit in, you know how hard it can be to be true to yourself. But for people with autism, social expectations can be honestly unimportant.
Who cares if someone you’ve never met rolls their eyes when you mention your interest in Disney movies even when you’re a grown-up? What matters is true liking, shared interests, kindness, and the desire to spend time togethernot keeping up with or being as similar as possible to the Joneses.
Allow The World To Teach Them That Autism Is A Bad Thing
Right from the moment we hear about it, were instructed to believe that autism is A Bad Thing. Thats why people like me get so many messages from worried parents, asking what theyre supposed to do post-diagnosis because they dont know anything about autism.
But their worries reveal that they do know one thing about it: its supposed to be bad.
Speaking as an autistic man, my opinions differ somewhat. But I understand their panic completely. The unknown can be very scary if you feel somethings bad but you dont know why.
Now, non-autistic people seeing only the negatives is counterproductive enough. But imagine the damage that gets done when autistic people themselves are led to believe that their autism makes them deficient.
Heck, combine this point with #1 and talk about how terrible autism is right in front of them, and watch what happens to their self-esteem!
Ill give two examples that struck me greatly. First of all, theres Cadence.
For those who arent aware, and this picture below went sort-of-viral not long ago.
You may have already spotted the most tragic sentence , but Ill quote it anyway:
Grownups always say its hard being mum or dad if your kid is autism.
Looking at their page, it becomes obvious that Mum and Dad are doing a sterling job as parents. But other people- the TV, and perhaps even society itself- have led Cadence to believe that a large part of her personality is A Bad Thing. Which is absolutely not fair.
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What Happens During Hypnosis For Autism
Dont panic your kid will NOT be in an hour-long trance! An important part of the therapy is to equip the client with better self-awareness and knowledge of how the brain is functioning. By learning behavioral techniques the person can practice at home, they could overcome difficulties that have held them back in the past.
/5 Star Review By Bookstagrammer The Feminist Nook
Reading this book was one of those experiences where you feel glued to the pages and being away from it without finishing it painful. Once I started, I couldn’t stop. I devoured it. Why? Because it is so rare that there is a book about autism, or a book featuring an autistic character, that is actually written by someone who is autistic. Best of all, there is so much reality and truth packed into this book, that it is one of those especially rare occasions where this book is not only authentic, but is a book where at many times it felt like I was reading about myself.
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Development Of Repetitive Or Restrictive Habits
Repetitive habits are another sign of high-functioning autism. Those habits could interfere with the persons ability to do what they need to do or what others want them to do. One type of repetitive habit might be related to movement. The individual might have to tie and untie their shoes multiple times before they are satisfied and are able to start walking or leave the house. Some people develop restrictive habits that interfere with socially accepted living. For example, an individual might refuse to wear any other kind of shirt than a tee shirt. This could impact their health and well-being if they live in a place with cold weather.
I Have Not Been Diagnosed With Autism What Next
You may feel frustrated by going through the assessment process and not getting a diagnosis, you may feel relieved by the results. Or you may feel confused and not know what to do next.
The professional conducting the autism assessment will be able to provide information about why you did not meet the criteria to be diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder either face-to-face or over the phone, and may also provide you with a written report.
The assessing professional may be able to provide further information, any other assessments that might be beneficial, or refer you to other supports and services.
Professionals conducting autism assessments are guided by a very specific criteria, and must adhere to professional standards of practice. They need to ensure these are upheld when conducting an autism assessment and generally take considerable time reviewing all the information before making a decision.
If you disagree with the outcome, it is best to discuss this with the professional who made the assessment, and listen to the reasons why this was the case.
If you still disagree, you have the right to get another autism assessment completed with a different professional.
by Deborah Rudacille / 8 September 2011
Early intervention has the potential to alter this trajectory, say experts. But until todays children with autism reach maturity, it will be hard to say how much behavioral intervention at a young age can alter the course of their lives.
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What Is Autistic Burnout
Autistic burnout can happen at any age, but it usually occurs at major transition points in life, such as toddlerhood, puberty, or young adulthood. Any period in which a person experiences lots of changes or stress can prompt an episode of burnout.
Very young children with burnout often lose language skills. Some children may forget a chunk of their vocabulary but still retain a few words. Others may stop making sound entirely and resort to physical gestures to communicate. Autistic children may also quit early social behaviors such as responding to their own name or looking at caregivers faces.
Older autistic people are able to communicate their experiences with burnout in a way toddlers cant. Adults have reported symptoms such as:
- Increased sensitivity to sensory stimuli, such as fluorescent lights or scratchy clothing. The person may need to stim more often to compensate.
- Emotional and physical exhaustion. This can keep people from engaging in self-care tasks such as meal preparation.
- Difficulty making decisions, switching between tasks, and other executive functioning skills.
- Speech issues: these can range from forgetting words to being unable to speak at all.
- Reduced social skills. As an individuals cognitive resources are stretched thin, they may display more stereotypical autistic body language or speech patterns.
- General memory issues.
You Have Specific And Niche Interests
We all have our own interests and hobbies, and people with autism have them too, but they are intensely focused on them, usually to the exclusion of everything else. Common examples can be anything from a fascination with 1970s Italian furniture makers to being an expert on all things train-related.
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Research Question : Does Camouflaging Predict Mental Health Difficulties While Controlling For Age And Autistic Traits
Results of three linear regressions predicting generalised anxiety, depression, and social anxiety from age, autistic traits, and camouflaging are reported in Table .
In all three models, camouflaging significantly predicted the mental health outcome, beyond the significant contributions of age and autistic traits. Greater camouflaging scores predicted greater generalised anxiety, depression, and social anxiety. The unique contribution of camouflaging was relatively small, but was greatest in Models 1 and 3 .
People With Autism Are Passionate
Many people on the spectrum are truly passionate about the things, ideas, and people in their lives. They spend the time, energy, and imagination necessary to truly master their area of interest, and they stick with it even when it’s difficult, frustrating, or “uncool.” How many “typical” people can say the same?
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