Inflexibility And/or A Desire For Control
People with high functioning autism tend to have a very strong need for control over things in their life. In other words, their thinking process is often restrictive. So, their mind doesnt offer any flexibility on how things should happen. Thats why youll notice that they display rigid behavior patterns.
Even small irritations or slight changes can make it difficult for them to cope or concentrate. Until these irritants are resolved, they have a hard time moving on to something else. Examples include not finding the right pair of socks or the buzzing from a light bulb.
Stressors are extremely distracting and lead the autistic person to control their environment.
Being On The Spectrum Can Mean A Wide Variety Of Experiences
Autism is described as a spectrum of disorders for a reason. Signs of autism can present differently.
Some individuals will have significant behavior and communication challenges that make the possibility of an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis more likely.
In other cases, caregivers may notice occasional atypical behaviors but that dont immediately cause them to seek a full behavioral health evaluation.
In the latter scenario, a child may never have their autism diagnosed or addressed therapeutically. Its possible that mildly-expressed forms of ASD behavior go completely unnoticed.
But another possibility is that an undiagnosed child or their caregiver will feel frustrated by a lack of explanation for certain behavioral events. They may struggle with socialization, for instance, or they may lack commitment to extracurricular activities.
Ignoring the possibility of an autism diagnosis, especially if a child seems mostly neurotypical, can make it more difficult for them to adjust and have their needs met. For this reason, teachers and caregivers who observe subtle signs of ASD should speak with a mental health professional.
A childs parents, teachers, and others with a direct role in their life are the best observers when it comes to picking up on a possible autism spectrum disorder diagnosis. Only a licensed mental health professional can come to a full, accurate diagnosis, but you dont have to be a professional to suspect that an ASD diagnosis is possible.
Skilled In The Art Of Camouflage
As autistic girls grow up, the gap between how their condition and that of boys manifests widens. As adults, some autistic women can become highly skilled in the art of camouflage, which explains the use of the term invisible disability to describe certain types of high-functioning autism. Incidentally, this is the meaning of the title of Julie Dachezs 2016 graphic novel, The Invisible Difference .
More and more women are discovering their condition later in life and sharing their experience. Since September 2016, the Francophone Association of Autistic Women has been fighting for recognition of the specific ways autism manifests in women. A learned society on autism in women is also being created in France, bringing together the general and scientific communities, with the goal of promoting dialogue between researchers and autistic women.
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Use Your Hand As A Tool
Babies learn to use a variety of gestures from 9-16 months, like giving, reaching, raising arms, showing, waving, and pointing.
Because children with autism may have limited use of these early gestures, they may develop unusual ways to communicate, like using your hand as a tool.
If your baby is moving or pulling your hand or body part as if its a tool, this can be an early sign of autism, particularly if they are not looking at you.
What Can Mimic Autism
Developmental delays such as language, speech, or hearing problems can often be mistaken for autism. There are also a number of specific disorders that are characterized by similar behavioral symptoms to autism. According to the Autism Research Institute, Williams Syndrome, Fragile X Syndrome, and Landau-Kleffner Syndrome, are all closely related to autism.
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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.
Getting Evaluated For Autism Spectrum Disorder
Parent interview In the first phase of the diagnostic evaluation, you will give your doctor background information about your childs medical, developmental, and behavioral history. If you have been keeping a journal or taking notes on anything thats concerned you, share that information. The doctor will also want to know about your familys medical and mental health history.
Medical exam The medical evaluation includes a general physical, a neurological exam, lab tests, and genetic testing. Your child will undergo this full screening to determine the cause of their developmental problems and to identify any co-existing conditions.
Hearing test Since hearing problems can result in social and language delays, they need to be excluded before an Autism Spectrum Disorder can be diagnosed. Your child will undergo a formal audiological assessment where they are tested for any hearing impairments, as well as any other hearing issues or sound sensitivities that sometimes co-occur with autism.
Observation Developmental specialists will observe your child in a variety of settings to look for unusual behavior associated with the Autism Spectrum Disorder. They may watch your child playing or interacting with other people.
Lead screening Because lead poisoning can cause autistic-like symptoms, the National Center for Environmental Health recommends that all children with developmental delays be screened for lead poisoning.
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Little Pointing Or Gesturing
Babies usually learn to gesture before they learn to talk. In fact, gesturing is one of the earliest forms of communication. Autistic children generally point and gesture much less than children with nonautistic development. Less pointing can sometimes indicate the possibility of a language delay.
Another indicator of a developmental difference is when an infants gaze doesnt follow you when youre pointing at something. This skill is sometimes called joint attention. Joint attention is often decreased in autistic children.
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He May Become Distant
People with autism sometimes need a break from constantly being on around you. They also wont want you to see these breaks and so they may become distant and spend time away from you randomly.
Its not your fault. Its just something that he has to do.
Intuitive Facilitator Joseph Stasaitis says, I have found autistic folks to be quite empathetic. They may not express or exhibit their emotions freely, but this can be misinterpreted as not caring. The autistic person may then very well withdraw to keep safe. Although craving love and intimacy they tend to lack the ability to pick up on social cues.
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Learning Accounting By Herself At Home
Sophies wish is granted: the interviewer asks her instead about her time at university. Relieved, she happily launches into an explanation of her masters thesis on meteorological modelling, but he cuts her off abruptly, clearly irritated. He wants to know why she is applying for a temporary job as an accounting assistant when she has no experience or training. Although her heart is racing wildly, Sophie manages to keep her composure, explaining that she taught herself accounting at home in the evenings. She describes the excellent MOOC she found on the website of the French Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers, and tells him how one of the questions she asked the teacher on the forum led to a fascinating debate on the concept of depreciation expenses.
Sophie is not good at guessing what people are thinking, but she understands from the way the man is staring at her that he believes she is lying. Overwhelmed, she feels weaker by the minute. She watches his lips move but does not understand what hes saying. Ten minutes later shes in the street, with no memory of how the interview ended. She is shaking and holding back tears. She curses herself, wondering how anyone could be so stupid and pathetic.
Diagnosis Of Autism In Adults
There are currently no standard diagnostic criteria for adults with suspected ASD, but they are in development.
In the meantime, 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 isnt an underlying physical illness accounting for your behaviors. Your doctor may then refer you to a psychiatrist or psychologist for in-depth assessment.
The clinician will want to talk with you about any issues you have regarding communication, emotions, behavioral patterns, range of interests, and more. Youll answer questions about your childhood, and your clinician might request to speak with your parents or other older family members to gain their perspectives about your lifelong behavior patterns.
If the diagnostic criteria for children are being used for reference, your clinician can ask your parent questions from that list, relying on their memories of you as a child for further information.
If your clinician determines that you didnt display symptoms of ASD in childhood, but instead began experiencing symptoms as a teen or adult, you may be evaluated for other possible mental health or affective disorders.
Because most autism diagnoses are made in children, it could be a challenge to find a provider who will diagnose adults.
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Develops Rituals And May Get Upset Over Change
Babies learn morning and nighttime routines with your help. Making activities predictable can provide opportunities for learning.
Babies usually flow with changes in routines such as ending an activity early or adding a new step.
Children with autism may develop rituals and be unwilling to complete a series of behaviors a different way.
If your child insists on certain things being the same and gets very upset over unexpected change, this may be an early sign of autism.
Signs Of Autism In Young Children
Symptoms of autism spectrum disorder are usually clear by two or three years old. The range of behaviors and skills covered here may become apparent between two years old and five years old.
Some signs that a child has autism spectrum disorder may include:
- Not expressing emotion or only a limited range of emotions
- Difficulty interpreting different emotions in others
- Not seeming attached to parents
- Lacking interest in playing social games or the company of other children
- Interest in playing with one particular toy or object
- Echolalia, repeating other peopleÃ¢â¬â¢s words or phrases
- Repeating own words over and over
- Using formal language and expressions, rather than the slang of their peers
- Not developing language skills at all
- Difficulty toilet training
- Challenging behaviour, such as banging head on wall or picking at skin
- Engages in behavior such as flapping hands, rocking or twirling
Children with autism spectrum disorder have difficulty interpreting what other people are thinking and feeling, and often miss social cues. A child with autism may not be able to tell the difference between an adult who says Ã¢â¬Åcome hereÃ¢â¬ï¿½ while happy and smiling, and an adult who says Ã¢â¬Åcome hereÃ¢â¬ï¿½ while angry and frowning. This can be confusing and creates the impression the child is not connecting with people.
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Ners Of Autistic People
Some autistic people will successfully maintain relationships. However, like most relationships, there are challenges.
An adults diagnosis of autism often follows their childs diagnosis of autism or that of another relative. This double whammy can be extremely distressing to the partner who has to cope simultaneously with both diagnoses. Counselling, or joining a support group where they can talk with other people who face the same challenges, can be helpful.
An autistic partner, like any partner, will have strengths and weaknesses when it comes to relationships. A non-autistic partner may find that there are communication breakdowns, such as misunderstandings or finding that your partner is not able to predict your feelings. An autistic partner may need routine, order and time to pursue their hobbies.
Relationship counselling with a counsellor or psychologist experienced at working with autistic people can assist couples to develop strategies and to communicate more effectively with each other.
What Are The Causes And Risk Factors For Asd
Researchers dont know the exact causes of ASD, but studies suggest that genes can act together with influences from the environment to affect development in ways that lead to ASD. Although scientists are still trying to understand why some people develop ASD and others dont, some factors that increase the risk of developing ASD include:
- Having a sibling with ASD
- Having older parents
- Having certain genetic conditions
- Being born with a very low birth weight
Not everyone who has these risk factors develops ASD.
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Are Siblings At Greater Risk For Autism Spectrum Disorder
The truth is that genetics do play a role in autism. When one child is diagnosed with ASD, the next child to come along has about a 20% greater risk of developing autism than normal. When the first two children in a family have both been diagnosed with ASD, the third child has about a 32% greater risk of developing ASD.
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
You Find It Difficult To Socially Read People
Autism is, in its many forms, often about looking at the world very literally. And that means social situations can seem extremely weird, because there are a lot of unspoken rules, assumptions, communications, and other messages in any social situation, many of which may pass the autistic person by. If you feel perpetually as if you’re getting it wrong in social situations and don’t know why, you may simply be “socially deaf” to these kinds of cues.
Signs Of Autism In Adults
Autism spectrum disorder is a lifelong condition and some people with autism spectrum disorder are not diagnosed until they are adults. This could be because they fall into the higher functioning range of the autism spectrum and their symptoms are less severe, or because they were misdiagnosed with a condition such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or obsessive compulsive disorder.
Although treatment can improve some outward symptoms, people with autism will always process sensations such as sound, sight, touch and smell in different ways.
Autism is a spectrum condition, which means that adults will have different experiences of day-to-day living. An adult with mild symptoms, who is towards the higher functioning range of the autism spectrum, may:
- Have difficulties with social interactions
- Avoid making eye contact
- Not understand nonverbal facial or body gestures, such as frowning or shrugging
- Not understand changes in tone of voice, such as sarcasm
- Be comforted by rules and routine
- Get upset at changes to routines
- Be under- or over-sensitive to loud noises, strong smells or tastes
- Engage in repetitive behaviors, such as pacing or hand flapping
- Have a narrow range of interests
- Have a good memory and recall of facts
An adult who is towards the lower functioning range of the autism spectrum may:
One common sign of autism spectrum disorder in adults is . Signs of anxiety can include:
Adults with autism spectrum disorder may also experience meltdowns.
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You Don’t Recognize Sarcasm
Much like the inability to understand a colloquialism, a person on the spectrum may not understand jokes or sarcasm. They require a level of out-of-the-box thinking that is hard for a person on the spectrum to process in real time.
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.
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Is There A Cure For Autism
No, currently autism has no cure. Early intervention during the preschool years can help the child manage their behavioral issues.
Treatment options include
- Behavioral therapy: This focuses on reducing problem behaviors. Children are taught how to behave in social situations and communicate better with others. It also involves counseling the parents and teaching them ways to reach out to their child.
- Educational therapies: Children with autism spectrum disorder respond well to highly structured educational programs. Successful programs consist of various activities to improve social skills, communication and behavior. Speech therapy to improve communication skills, occupational therapy to teach activities of daily living and physical therapy to improve movement and balance may be beneficial.
- Medications: Specific medications can help control symptoms such as hyperactivity, extreme anxiety and severe behavioral issues. Some kids may also have medical issues, such as epilepsy, poor sleep and constipation that need medical management.