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.
New Symptoms That May Appear During Adolescence
Autistic children can often find adolescence very difficult. Although they have the same hormones as all other teenagers, they dont naturally develop complex relationships and arent able to interpret or engage in the more types of relationships which develop as children get older. They can be prone to isolation and low moods, which can appear very intense and be difficult to read.
Advice On Managing Behaviour In Autism For Adolescents
If you think that your teenager may be autistic, or you have an autistic child and want to know what to expect when they become a young adult, we have outlined the symptoms that can appear as an autistic child becomes an adolescent.
You will also find the steps to take if you believe that your teenager is autistic, and the strategies that can help you to manage particular behaviours.
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How Parents Can Spot The Warning Signs
As a parent, youre in the best position to spot the earliest warning signs of autism. You know your child better than anyone and observe behaviors and quirks that a pediatrician, in a quick fifteen-minute visit, might not have the chance to see. Your childs pediatrician can be a valuable partner, but dont discount the importance of your own observations and experience. The key is to educate yourself so you know whats typical and whats not.
Monitor your childs development. Autism involves a variety of developmental delays, so keeping a close eye on whenor ifyour child is hitting the key social, emotional, and cognitive milestones is an effective way to spot the problem early on. While developmental delays dont automatically point to autism, they may indicate a heightened risk.
Take action if youre concerned. Every child develops at a different pace, so you dont need to panic if your child is a little late to talk or walk. When it comes to healthy development, theres a wide range of typical. But if your child is not meeting the milestones for his or her age, or you suspect a problem, share your concerns with your childs doctor immediately. Dont wait.
Regression of any kind is a serious autism warning sign
He Rarely Gives Declarations Of Love
It isn’t that they don’t love you they just don’t understand why they need to repeat it over and over again. Besides, actions speak louder than words, and they’re sure you’d know by the way they act toward you that they love you. They’d tell you if their feelings had changed, as they have no problem being brutally honest.
“Studies have shown that people with autism can have feelings that are stronger and deeper than those without autism,” said John Elder Robison, author of Look Me in the Eye. “Yet those feelings may be invisible to outsiders because we don’t show them. Because we don’t show them or the expected response, people make the wrong assumption about our depth of feeling about other people.”
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Try To Focus On The Things He Or She Is Good At Rather Than The Things Theyre Simply Not Wired To Be Good At
One of the benefits of being in a relationship with someone with ASD is that they are exceptional at certain things, though this varies from partner to partner. My client often recollects the way that she studied English literature in college and often dreamed of a man who could recite Shakespeare without faltering and her mate had all 154 sonnets memorized. Remembering these special facets of your partner can help when you feel particularly frustrated in your relationship.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Asd
Every person with ASD is unique, so the timing and severity of the first signs and symptoms can vary widely. Some children with ASD show signs within the first few months of life. In others, symptoms may not become obvious until 24 months or later. Some children with ASD appear to develop normally until around 18 to 24 months of age and then stop gaining new skills and/or start losing skills.
During infancy , a child may show symptoms that include:
- Limited or no eye contact
- No babbling
- Playing with toys in an unusual or limited manner
- Showing more interest in objects instead of people
- Starting language skills but then stopping or losing those skills
- Showing repetitive movements with their fingers, hands, arms or head
Up to 2 years of age, there may be continuing symptoms from infancy. A child may also:
- Focus only on certain interests
- Be unable to have reciprocal social interactions
- Move in unusual ways, such as tilting their head, flexing their fingers or hands, opening their mouth or sticking out their tongue
- Have no interest in playing with other children
- Repeat words or phrases without appearing to understand them
- Have behavioural issues, including self-injury
- Have trouble controlling their emotions
- Like to have things a certain way, such as always eating the same food
Possible signs of ASD at any age:
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Is There A Test For Adult Autism
Instead, a doctor will review behaviors to make an ASD diagnosis. For adults, this usually means an in-person visit where the doctor asks questions and evaluates how you respond. They will also consider self-reported symptoms.
Many psychologists use the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, Second Edition , a diagnostic assessment when assessing adults.
Self-administered ASD questionnaires for adults are available online. These tests include the Autism Spectrum Quotient and derivatives like the AQ-10, AQ-20, and AQ-S, among others. These tests are not the same as a professional evaluation and should not be viewed as definitive.
You Don’t Seem To Understand Feelings
A person on the autism spectrum can understand what emotions are in theory but have a hard time putting that knowledge to work in real time. This can lead to awkward or upsetting interactions.
Dr. Marsh says, “You have successfully learned to imitate and engage in ‘small talk’ through observation, but you find yourself unable to converse about anything personal, emotional, or in-depth.”
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You Want More Friends But Don’t Know How
There’s a common misconception that people with autism don’t like people, but that’s just not the case. People with autism really want to have close friends, they just don’t know how.
Dr. Marsh says that, “If you marveled at how other kids could make friends so easily, but you didnt know how,” this could be a sign of autism.
First Signs Of Autism
The first symptoms can be difficult to spot because they start in children from a very young age but from the ages of 6-18 months is when they will begin to emerge. Some of the first characteristics that children might display are things like not making eye contact and preferring to look at you from the corner of their eye or in an indirect way like in the mirror or a window.
Other behaviours might be not really responding to your voice and also not copying your actions like pointing at things or wanting to share things with you.
A blank expression when you are trying to make them smile as well could be an indicator.
The thing to remember in general about autism is that they like to live in their own little world and dont naturally want to join in with social activities or interaction. They will do things that seem odd to us social creatures but to them they cant understand why we like interaction so much.
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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 by 15 months of age
- Does not point to show you something interesting by 18 months of age
- Does not notice when others are hurt or upset by 24 months of age
- Does not notice other children and join them in play by 36 months of age
- Does not pretend to be something else, like a teacher or superhero, during play by 48 months of age
- Does not sing, dance, or act for you by 60 months of age
Diagnosis Of Autism In Adults
There are currently no ASD diagnostic criteria specifically for adults. But the current DSM-5 criteria can be adapted and used for this age group.
Clinicians primarily diagnose adults with ASD through a series of in-person observations and interactions. They also take into consideration any symptoms the person reports experiencing.
If youre interested in being evaluated for ASD, begin with your family doctor, who will evaluate you to be certain that there is no underlying physical illness accounting for your behaviors. Your doctor may then refer you to a psychiatrist or psychologist for an in-depth assessment.
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What Are Some Signs Of High Functioning Autism
High-functioning autism refers to autism spectrum disorder where people can read, write, and handle basic skills, such as eating and getting dressed.
- However, they still have difficulties with social interaction and communication.
- They are slow to take social cues and face challenges to make friends.
Some communication challenges that a person with high-functioning autism may face include:
- Participating in conversation is difficult
- Trouble connecting with others thoughts or feelings
- Difficulty reading others body language and facial expressions well, for example, the person might be unable to comprehend if a person is happy or sad
- Unable to understand sarcastic or emotive undertones
- Usage of flat, monotone, or robotic pattern of speaking that fails to communicate their thoughts
- Inventing ones own descriptive words and phrases
- Failing to understand figures of speech and turns of phrase
- Not being comfortable looking into someones eyes while talking to them
- Using the same tone or speaking patterns at home, with friends, or at the workplace
- Like to talk about one or two favorite topics
- Difficulty building and maintaining close friendships
Some emotional and behavioral difficulties faced by people with high-functioning autism include:
Food behaviors exhibited by people with autism include:
Other signs of high-functioning autism include:
Interacting With A Child Who Has Autism Spectrum Disorder
Autism spectrum disorder is a developmental disorder. It affects how children interact and communicate with others. The disorder is called a spectrum disorder because children can be anywhere on the autism spectrum.
Children with ASD start to show symptoms at an early age. The symptoms continue during childhood and adulthood. Healthcare providers dont know why some children develop ASD. It may be a combination of genes they are born with and something in their environment that triggers those genes.
Children with ASD have trouble relating to other people. They have trouble making eye contact. They often withdraw into themselves. They may seem uninterested in relating to family members.
But some children with ASD may love to keep talking with family members, friends, and even strangers about a topic they are obsessed with. The problem is that they may talk about it too long. Or they may talk only about that one subject. This can push other people away.
If you are a parent or grandparent of a child with ASD, it can be heartbreaking if you feel like you just can’t connect with him or her. But learning more about these disorders and what has helped others can help you and your relationship.
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Characteristics Of Mild Autism
The DSM-5 details five diagnostic criteria for Autism Spectrum Disorder. Because the DSM-5 conceptualizes diagnoses as disorders and disabilities that cause functional problems, these symptoms are framed as deficits:
- Social deficits: Autistic people might approach conversations and social interactions in an abnormal way and have difficulty expressing and interpreting nonverbal cues. This can cause difficulty developing, maintaining, and understanding relationships.
- Repetitive or fixated behaviors, interests, or activities: Autistic people often repeat movements or words as a way to self-regulate, a behavior often referred to as stimming. They may also adhere to specific routines and have specific and intense interests. Finally, autistic people often have atypical reactions to sensory experiences, including being either very sensitive to touch, smell, light, or sound, or seeming to not notice these sensations.
- Early onset: Neurodivergence begins before birth. Although symptoms might not manifest until later in life , autistic people have been autistic their entire lives.
- Symptoms cause functional deficits: A clinical diagnosis of autism requires a person to experience difficulty at school, at work, in social situations, or in other settings. This is why many autistic people with low support needs might not be diagnosed until later in life.
- Symptoms are not due to another diagnosis: Some genetic conditions or trauma can cause behaviors that can look like autism.
Treatment And Support For Mild Autism
Autistic people might benefit from talk therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy.
Although Applied Behavior Analysis is sometimes thought of as a gold standard of autism treatment, the autistic community has raised concerns that this treatment can be abusive and traumatic.
Autistic individuals with low support needs might be able to live independently and work, but they might attend individual therapy to cope with stress and any comorbid diagnoses they might have.
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How Can I Spot Signs Of Autism
The earlier treatment for autism spectrum disorder begins, the more likely it is to be effective. Thatâs why knowing how to identify the signs and symptoms is so important.
Make an appointment with your childâs pediatrician if they donât meet these specific developmental milestones, or if they meet but lose them later on:
- Smiles by 6 months
- Imitates facial expressions or sounds by 9 months
- Coos or babbles by 12 months
- Gestures by 14 months
- Speaks with single words by 16 months and uses phrases of two words or more by 24 months
- Plays pretend or âmake-believeâ by 18 months
What Are Some Of The Benefits Of Getting A Diagnosis
- Getting a professional diagnosis may help you to receive any appropriate funding, support and help you might need.
- Your family, friends and work colleagues may have a better understanding of you and your needs and it may allow them to support you more effectively.
- You may have a greater sense of self-identify if you understand yourself and the spectrum better.
- You may have a better understanding of your experiences as a child or adolescent.
- You may have increased confidence knowing you are part of a larger group of adults that may be like-minded.
Some adults find that by having a better understanding of the challenges associated with autism, they can use their strengths and develop strategies to support these.
Fast fact: Did you know that people on the spectrum commonly show character strengths such as loyalty, kindness, honesty and a lack of judgement?
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What Should I Do If My Child Has Delayed Milestones
Talk to your child specialist about your concerns. While it is normal for every child to achieve milestones at their own pace, you must always be on the lookout for red flags. If the child does not smile, coo, speak, react to your affections by hugging back, or have eye contact, you must consult your doctor.
You must specifically monitor your childs growth and development if
- You were on medications like Thalidomide, Valproic acid, or antipsychotic medicines during your pregnancy.
- You or your spouse was in your late 30s when you conceived .
- You have a family member with autism.
- You suffered from viral infections during your pregnancy.
- Your baby had a low birth weight.
Wait and watch policy will not help a child with an autistic spectrum disorder. In fact, from 1 to 2 years of age, the brain is still developing. If the therapy is started at this point, most symptoms of autism can be worked upon. Though, currently, autism is not curable, early intervention during the preschool years can help the child manage the behavioral issues and teach them to cope better in social situations. Behavioral therapy involves teaching parents to reach out to their children. Children suffering from hyperactivity, convulsions, and sleep problems also need early medical management.
How Does Autism Affect A Childs Social Skills
A child with ASD has a hard time interacting with others. Problems with social skills are some of the most common signs. They might want to have close relationships but not know how.
If your child is on the spectrum, they might show some social symptoms by the time they’re 8 to 10 months old, including:
- They don’t respond to their name by their first birthday.
- Playing, sharing, or talking with other people donât interest them.
- They prefer to be alone.
- They avoid or reject physical contact, including hugging.
- They avoid eye contact.
- When theyâre upset, they donât like to be comforted.
- They donât understand emotions — their own or othersâ.
- They may not stretch out their arms to be picked up or guided with walking.
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