Special Considerations For High Functioning Students With Autism Spectrum Disorder
These days, more than half the students diagnosed with ASD function within the normal range of cognition and have acquired basic spoken language skills . These students with high functioning autism may show high achievement in some areas, but they will almost always have deficits in pragmatic aspects of language, in social skills, and peer interactions . Many high functioning students with ASD, as well, have difficulty with executive functioning and with understanding and producing narratives in which much of the plot is driven by characters internal states, plans, and goals. As SLPs, it falls within our scope of practice to work on addressing these communication difficulties.
Many of the interventions we have discussed for adolescents with LLD are appropriate for those with ASD, as well. As weve seen, students with HFA often have special difficulty with narratives . Robinson and Westby suggest work on inferencing in narrative as an approach likely to address a range of needs in this population. They suggest using inference and internal state charts as visual supports for helping students use evidence in the story to identify characters feelings and to draw conclusions about intentions underlying actions in stories. Examples can be seen in Figure 14.21.
Paige M. Ryan, … Thompson E. Davis, in, 2017
Problems Processing Physical Sensations
Many individuals with autism have sensory difficulties. They may find specific noises, tastes, smells, or feelings intolerable. Noisy public places can lead to emotional distress, as can uncomfortable clothing or unwanted touches. These issues can be disruptive and stressful, but according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, autism symptoms can improve over time;as children with mild autism learn to regulate their own behavior through work with professionals.
Please Let My Child Play With Your Child
A study done in Australia found that 42% of teens and adults on the Autism Spectrum do not feel comfortable leaving their own home because they often feel others treat them negatively. Not only is this heartbreaking for the affected individuals, it also leads to further misunderstanding and stigma about autism by the general public. Children with autism like to play with their peers, and largely benefit from being included in things like play dates and sports teams.
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Restricted And Repetitive Interests And Behavior
People with Asperger syndrome can display behavior, interests, and activities that are restricted and repetitive and are sometimes abnormally intense or focused. They may stick to inflexible routines, move in and repetitive ways, preoccupy themselves with parts of objects, or engage in compulsive behaviors like lining objects up to form patterns.
The pursuit of specific and narrow areas of interest is one of the most striking among possible features of AS. Individuals with AS may collect volumes of detailed information on a relatively narrow topic such as weather data or star names without necessarily having a genuine understanding of the broader topic. For example, a child might memorize camera model numbers while caring little about photography. This behavior is usually apparent by age 5 or 6. Although these special interests may change from time to time, they typically become more unusual and narrowly focused and often dominate social interaction so much that the entire family may become immersed. Because narrow topics often capture the interest of children, this symptom may go unrecognized.
According to the Adult Asperger Assessment diagnostic test, a lack of interest in fiction and a positive preference towards non-fiction is common among adults with AS.
How I Was Diagnosed With High
Watch from Jord Wood Watches
I was diagnosed with high-functioning Autism as an adult. It may be a surprise to some of you, but possibly;not so much for other people who know me well. You must be wondering why I havent spoken;about it before, especially after I was attacked for talking about my sons autism from a neurotypical perspective. How ironic
So, here;are the main;3 reasons why I havent talked about it before today:
Reason #1:;I attach a lot of importance in being diagnosed professionally. People can have autistic tendencies/behaviors and not be autistic. Just because someone is socially awkward and flaps his hands doesnt make him;autistic. My therapist had previously mentioned to me that I showed signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder but we didnt pursue any testing at the time. More recently I wanted;to know for sure so I decided to go through a full therapeutic assessment.
Therapeutic Assessment is a paradigm in which psychological testing is used to help people understand themselves better and find solutions to their persistent problems.It differs from traditional psychological assessment, whose main goal is to diagnose disorders, plan treatments, and evaluate the effectiveness of interventions.Therapeutic Assessment can serve all these purposes as well, but its primary goal is to facilitate positive changes in clients.
I like this excerpt from a comic;I found online. You can see the full version here.
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Where Can I Find Support
Given that women tend to be better at masking their symptoms, being a woman with autism can feel particularly isolating. For many women, its an emotional process that involves revisiting childhood behavior and social problems.
Consider reaching out to other women living with autism. The Autistic Women and Nonbinary Network is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting women and gender-nonconforming people with autism.
Even if youre not ready to interact with someone, you can find blog posts, first-person stories, and doctor recommendations online.
Awkward Interactions With Peers
Even children with high-functioning autism display problems when interacting with peers. Adults working closely with kids may notice this through their play behaviors.
These children have major deficits in communicating with those outside their limited social circle. This makes it difficult for them to form new relationships.
For toddlers, it might be that they have a problem with sharing toys. For teens, it might be difficulty completing group work assignments. This presents a challenge for peers who dont quite understand the person with autism. And when the autistic person cant explain these feelings, it intensifies the awkwardness.
Hfa Vs Asperger’s Syndrome
Until 2013, many people who might be said to have high-functioning autism were diagnosed with either Asperger’s syndrome or PDD-NOS;.;
But, there are differences that set those two diagnoses apart:
- Asperger’s syndrome was a distinct diagnosis which described a person of average or higher-than-average intelligence and age-appropriate language skills who also had significant social and communication challenges.
- PDD-NOS was a catch-all diagnosis. Often understood to mean the same thing as “high-functioning autistic,” it really incorporated individuals at all functional;levels whose symptoms didn’t fully correlate with classic autism.
Perhaps more significantly, people with Asperger’s syndrome often had different symptoms than people with higher IQs and autism. For example, anxiety was often a symptom of Asperger’s syndrome but not one shared by everyone who might be described as having HFA.
As of 2013, with the publication of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition , neither PDD-NOS nor Asperger’s syndrome is an official diagnostic category in the United States. Both are now included under the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder . Those on the higher-functioning end of the spectrum are said to have “Level 1 ASD.”
Sex Biases In Clinical Conditions
Many clinical conditions occur in males more often than females, including autism, dyslexia, specific language impairment, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder , and early-onset persistent antisocial behavior . Depression, anorexia, and anxiety disorders tend to show a female bias in sex ratio, raising the question of whether there are sex-linked or sex-limiting factors involved in the etiology of conditions that do exhibit a sex bias.
Autism, high-functioning autism, Asperger syndrome, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder are here referred to as Autism Spectrum Conditions 1, and are considered to lie on the same continuum. Individuals with an ASC diagnosis are impaired in reciprocal social interaction and communication, and show strongly repetitive behaviors and unusually narrow interests . The prevalence of ASC in children is estimated to be 116.1 per 10,000 and 94 per 10,000 in two British populations. A large multi-center regional study in North America has estimated the prevalence of ASC to be approximately 91 per 10,000 . There is also a clear male to female ratio in ASC, estimated at 4:1 for classic autism and as high as 10.8:1 in individuals with Asperger Syndrome .
Georgia A. DeGangi, in, 2017
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Your Autism Is What Makes You Unique
First, an ASD diagnosis in no way changes who you are. It does not make you any less amazing than you were before. Your neurodiversity is just one characteristic of yourself that sets you apart from everyone else. Its what makes you UNIQUE. Unfortunately, many neurodiverse individuals experience a variety of different microaggressions or traumas throughout their life. They are often bullied or taken advantage of. Often, their sensitivities or challenges are dismissed. This makes them feel very othered and different. Perhaps, you longed to fit in so you tried to hide these parts of yourself and conform to the world around you. So, you may have felt shame over not quite fitting in with your peers.
Comorbidities And Developmental Trajectories
According to recent literature , in the present study, both males and females presented a high percentage of co-occurring conditions . The most frequent comorbidity in both groups was ADHD, co-occurring in about 70% of cases, without significant differences between males and females. This evidence differs from previous literature in which ADHD comorbidity appeared more common in males . In accordance with other authors, we hypothesized that the diagnosis of ADHD was underrated in females since females with ADHD have different, more hidden, symptomatology, showing inattentive rather than hyperactive manifestations . Concerning internalizing disorders, our findings were different from previous literature reporting a statistically significant prevalence of internalizing disorders in females, in that we rather found a non-significant trend for anxiety, depressive, and eating disorders in the female group . The mean age of the sample could justify these findings since internalizing and feeding disorders often occur in adolescence or adulthood. In this study we found that caregivers ask for a first specialist medical consultation at different ages and for different reasons: females were referred later to clinical services, particularly for level 1 ASD . This finding fits with previous literature , also showing how females who received an early diagnosis of ASD often have intellectual impairment.
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Build A Support Network
Remember, youre not alone. Build up a support network. This could include a;support or social skills group, an autistic friend, a friend or family member who learns about autism with you, an individual therapist who specializes in neurodiversity and can help you process your autism identity. Also, they can help you process any other challenges, such as social anxiety or trauma, and help you reduce the distress in your life. Ultimately, getting this support and learning these skills will improve your quality of life.
Research Into Use Of Biomarkers For Diagnosis
Reviews of ADHD have noted that platelet expression, urinary , urinary , and urinary levels consistently differ between ADHD individuals and healthy controls. These measurements could potentially serve as diagnostic biomarkers for ADHD, but more research is needed to establish their diagnostic utility. Urinary and phenethylamine concentrations are lower in ADHD individuals relative to controls and the two most commonly prescribed drugs for ADHD, and , increase phenethylamine in treatment-responsive individuals with ADHD. Lower urinary phenethylamine concentrations are also associated with symptoms of inattentiveness in ADHD individuals. is not accurate enough to make an ADHD diagnosis.
How Has Our Understanding Of Asperger Syndrome Evolved
1944: Austrian pediatrician Hans Asperger described four strikingly similar young patients. They had normal to high intelligence. But they lacked social skills and had extremely narrow interests. The children also shared a tendency to be clumsy.
1981: British psychiatrist Lorna Wing published a series of similar case studies. In it, she coined the term Asperger syndrome.
1994: Asperger syndrome listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders .
2013: Asperger syndrome and other previously separate types of autism folded into one umbrella diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder in DSM-5.
Diagnosis In Older Children And Adolescents
ASD symptoms in older children and adolescents who attend school are often first recognized by parents and teachers and then evaluated by the schools special education team. The schools team may perform an initial evaluation and then recommend these children visit their primary health care doctor or doctors who specialize in ASD for additional testing.
Parents may talk with these specialists about their childs social difficulties including problems with subtle communication. These subtle communication issues may include problems understanding tone of voice, facial expressions, or body language. Older children and adolescents may have trouble understanding figures of speech, humor, or sarcasm. Parents may also find that their child has trouble forming friendships with peers.
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Who Is This Childhood Asperger Syndrome Quiz For
Below is a list of questions that relate to life experiences common among children with Asperger syndrome , a less severe form of autism spectrum disorder . Children or teenagers with Aspergers have difficulties relating to others socially and understanding social situations and subtle forms of communication like body language. This quiz is designed to be taken by parents who are concerned that their child might have Aspergers.
Please read each question carefully, and indicate how often your child has experienced the same or similar challenges in the past few months. Please be aware that some behaviors are developmentally appropriate for young children and not signs of autism.
Limitation And Future Direction
This study has two levels of limitations: the lack of a female-male neurotypical control group and the wide age range.
The absence of a control group might overrate some sex/gender differences as specific to ASD instead of normative sex differences. One of these could be females’ better communicative development with respect to males, which is also common in the neurotypical population.
Having a wide age range , the sample does not allow consideration of sex/gender differences in infancy and adolescence. Previous findings show that sex/gender differences are less evident in toddlerhood and more evident in adolescence, both in core features and in comorbidities . In our study, these age-related differences are just mentioned but not examined in depth. For these reasons, drawing sums on a limited sample of patients can be speculative.
Future directions should involve enrolling a larger sample, exploring sex/gender differences matching with TD subjects, and differentiating for age. Moreover, it could be useful to develop and test measures that capture female as well as male manifestations of ASD.
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Related Signs And Symptoms Of Autism Spectrum Disorder
While not part of autisms official diagnostic criteria, children with autism spectrum disorders often suffer from one or more of the following problems:
Sensory problems Many children with autism spectrum disorders either underreact or overreact to sensory stimuli. At times they may ignore people speaking to them, even to the point of appearing deaf. However, at other times they may be disturbed by even the softest sounds. Sudden noises such as a ringing telephone can be upsetting, and they may respond by covering their ears and making repetitive noises to drown out the offending sound. Children on the autism spectrum also tend to be highly sensitive to touch and to texture. They may cringe at a pat on the back or the feel of certain fabric against their skin.
Emotional difficulties Children with autism spectrum disorders may have difficulty regulating their emotions or expressing them appropriately. For instance, your child may start to yell, cry, or laugh hysterically for no apparent reason. When stressed, they may exhibit disruptive or even aggressive behavior . The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities also notes that kids with ASD may be unfazed by real dangers like moving vehicles or heights, yet be terrified of harmless objects such as a stuffed animal.
Savant skills in autism spectrum disorder
Signs And Symptoms Of High Functioning Autism
HFA is partly characterized by anobsession with a particular subject;or activity. If you have noticed your child cannot get enough of a particular subject, it could be more than just a normal childhood love for dinosaurs or dogs.
The obsession can be positive in that it improves your childs understanding of a particular academic subject or art. The increased interest in a specific field and subsequent excellence in the area has led to many scientific and mathematical inventions. Additionally, it can be a means of finding similarly minded children to encourage social engagement and activities.
However, these obsessions can cause a negative impact as well. If the obsession is interfering with social interactions or quality of life, support services can help them use their ability to hyperfocus in more effective ways.
2. Emotional sensitivity
Individuals living with High Functioning Autism are also prone to high levels of emotional sensitivity. Slight provocations such as;your use of language, noise, or even competition from siblings can ruin the whole day.
Insufficient;autism awareness coupled with the fact that High Functioning Autism is challenging to detect can make many children suffer extreme emotional sensitivity. This can also lead to intense sorrow and isolation after a trauma.
If your child is easily angered by small things and unable to let it go, it may be time to see a doctor.
3. Social problems
4. Language peculiarities
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Can A Person Have Mild Aspergers
The milder the symptoms, the more chance that Aspergers will be diagnosed later rather than sooner, says John Carosso, PsyD, a child psychologist and certified school psychologist at Community Psychiatric Centers at the Autism Center of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This is why you have teenagers and adults who have not been diagnosed, he says.
Often, children with Aspergers are very high-functioning, with good verbal skills, says Eric Hollander, MD, director of the Autism and Obsessive-Compulsive Spectrum Program in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City. They can be considered gifted children with great verbal skills, yet they may have a relative deficiency in the non-verbal skills area.