You Notice Patterns Everywhere
It’s often a special feature of the autistic brain to be able to see patterns all over the place: in letters, numbers, formations of objects, anything. A 2011 study of nearly 750 people found that the brain regions that process patterns are very active in autistic people, while the regions associated with planning and decisions were less active. If you’re able to pick out patterns nobody else can see, without even thinking, you may have one of autism’s peculiar advantages.
Is There A Test For Asd In Adults
Clinicians have developed different tests that can help diagnose ASD in adults. These include diagnostic tests such as ADOS 2 Module 4, ADI-R, and 3Di Adult.
However, it is not clear how reliable these tests are for adults. The reasons for this include:
- Researchers who look at the reliability of ASD tests often use a small number of study participants.
- Not many research studies on testing for adult ASD include enough participants from historically underserved groups, such as People of Color or people who are LGBTQIA+. This means the results of studies looking at ASD testing methods may not represent a true population of autistic adults.
- Many clinicians may not be familiar with the signs of ASD in adulthood. This is especially true if the patientâs symptoms are not severe or if the patient also has other conditions, for example, anxiety.
Autistic people may have of co-occurring conditions, such as anxiety or depression, than those in the general population.
Individuals With Asd May Present Withsome Of The Following Exceptional Characteristics:
- Non-verbal reasoning
- Exceptional memory
- Perceptual motor skills
- Computer proficiency
- Exceptional skills in creative and imaginative expression
- Visuospatial ability
The above exceptional skills may be combined with subtle characteristics in other areas of development. All individuals with the diagnosis demonstrate some of the following:
Lack of awareness
Autism is characterized by an impaired ability to engage in social relationships and can result in serious deficits in the ability to make friendships. In fact, children on the autism spectrum often behave as if other people do not exist. This is demonstrated in various ways, including failure to respond to their names when called, appearing not to listen when spoken to, an inability to display appropriate facial expressions, avoidance of eye contact, a failure to respond to affection and sometimes treating people as if they were inanimate objects. Often children will acknowledge an adult only for the purpose of getting a need gratified and will return to ignoring the adult thereafter.
If a child with autism possesses any social skills, they are characteristically rote and awkward in nature. Individuals with autism also experience problems maintaining reciprocal relationships. Additional difficulties center around an inability to take on anothers perspective , feelings and emotions, or provide or seek comfort, in conventional ways.
Unusual seeking of comfort when stressedUnusual toy play
Read Also: Can Autistic Child Become Normal
Early Signs Of Autism In Adults
Autism spectrum disorder occurs in all age groups. It is generally characterized by social and communication difficulties.
Severe forms are usually diagnosed in the first two years of a childs life. However, high-functioning individuals may not be diagnosed until later in their lives.
Here are some of the symptoms in autistic adults:
- Difficulty in regulating emotion
Early Signs Of Autism In Children
Early diagnosis means early intervention. It helps provide your child a higher quality of life through teaching life skills with therapies and games.
There are certain signs to look out for while your child is growing up. They hit developmental milestones, indicating that their social, communicative and behavioral developments are on track.
Here are some of the early signs that your child may need to be further examined and tested by your physician.
Recommended Reading: Can An Autism Diagnosis Be Removed
How Autism Is Diagnosed
If you or your pediatrician think your child is showing symptoms of autism, you’ll be referred to a specialist who treats ASD. Specialists may include child psychologists, child psychiatrists, pediatric neurologists, or developmental pediatricians.
The specialist will review your child’s medical history. Your child may be given tests to evaluate intelligence, behavior patterns, social and communication skills, and developmental history. These can include:
- An IQ test
- The Autism Diagnosis Observation Schedule
Before the DSM-5, a child had to show delays in social interaction and communication before age 3 to be diagnosed with autism. Now, there’s a little more flexibility. The symptoms just have to be present from an “early age.”
This can still be too strict for people with mild symptoms. For them, signs may not be obvious until they’re older and clearly unable to keep up socially with others their age. A later diagnosis is especially common with girls.
Girls with autism are less likely to engage in repetitive behaviors and don’t act out as much as boys. They’re more likely to be seen as shy and withdrawn, which parents and teachers may consider “expected” for girls in general, meaning they go undiagnosed longer.
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?
Don’t Miss: Does Donald Trump Have Autism
Can You Detect Autism In Newborns
Autism spectrum disorder can be identified in babies as young as two months old. Although subtle signs can be missed if not observed closely, there are certain red flags.
Caregivers should observe the developmental milestones of their children to be able to detect early signs of autism. Parents should be aware of the eye contact of the newborns and follow the development.
From birth, all babies will look more at the eye part of faces. According to studies conducted with babies with eye-tracking technology, lack of eye contact is one of the signs that the newborn may have autism.
The following are some of the other signs seen in newborns as they grow older.
Why Is The Term High
The main reason the term high-functioning is controversial within the autism community is because of its lack of accuracy.
Generally, high-functioning autism is thought to refer to an autistic person who doesnt have an intellectual disability.
However, studies including one from 2019 have revealed that theres a weak correlation between IQ and adaptive behaviors like eating, getting dressed, tying shoelaces, and so forth.
What is considered high-functioning, therefore, is more complicated than mere intelligence quotients.
In other words, there are too many categories for functioning in society to label an autistic person as either high- or low-functioning, such as:
- communication abilities
- motor skills
- and more
These categories affect all autistic people differently. An autistic person with a high IQ, for instance, would generally be categorized as high-functioning yet could still score low in all social and communication categories.
The term completely disregards the difficulties these individuals have on a day-to-day basis, explains Andrew Whitehouse, PhD, professor of autism research at the Telethon Kids Institute and the University of Western Australia in Perth, Australia.
The concern is that those who are labeled as high-functioning will not be able to receive the care and services they need.
Although high-functioning can manifest in many different ways within autistic individuals, there are several common symptoms to look out for.
Recommended Reading: Is Aspergers Autism Spectrum Disorder
You Often Find Sarcasm Puns And Irony Difficult To Understand
People with autism sometimes don’t quite “get” jokes and humor of certain kinds, partially because of social difficulty. A 2014 study of high school students, some of whom had autism, found that autistic teens respond far better to certain types of humor than others: nonsense jokes and aggressive humor. They didn’t have the same ease with stuff like puns or self-defeating humor. You may also have a bit of difficulty with sarcasm, irony, or weird idioms.
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.
Don’t Miss: Are You Born With Autism Or Can You Develop It
What Are Some Possible Signs Of Mild Autism
ASD encompasses a broad range of behavioral patterns and experiences.
Inconsistency from one ASD case to the next can make it more difficult for caregivers to fully connect the dots.
Even so, there are many common behaviors that could point to a possible ASD diagnosis. Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , these may include:
Some children with ASD may appear to have a learning disability or other form of behavior disorder. They may also have co-occurring medical challenges, such as gastrointestinal discomfort, trouble sleeping, or seizures. Many individuals with autism may also have mental health disorders, such as anxiety, depression, or an attention deficit disorder.
In The 2010s And Through Today
A new version of The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders was published in 2013. This is the manual doctors use today.
Asperger’s syndrome is no longer a diagnosis in the DSM-5. Instead, the manual provides just one diagnosis for all people with autism symptoms: autism spectrum disorder .
People with ASD have problems with social communication. They may resist changes in routine and be hypersensitive to noise, smell, touch, and other types of sensory experiences. These problems can range from mild to extreme.
People with mild symptoms and those with severe speech delays or sensory issues are all diagnosed with ASD.
The DSM-5 does identify the “level of support” a person with autism might need. These functional levels range from 1 to 3 based on the severity of one’s autism, with 1 describing people who need the least support because their symptoms are mild.
However, few people outside of the medical community refer to someone as having level 1 autism. Often, the terms Asperger’s syndrome or mild autism are still used.
Recommended Reading: Can Chiari Malformation Cause Autism
Inspecting Toys Rather Than Playing With Them
Most young kids will inspect a toy before playing with it. But a child with autism may not move past the inspection phase, Pandey says. So while a child without autism will race a car along the floor, or fly an airplane through the air, a child with autism might continue to spin the cars tires or examine the bottom of the plane. Their interest is in the parts of the object rather than the whole, she says.
If another child tries to interact or play with him, a child with autism may not know how to react.
Early Signs Of Autism In Babies
A lifelong condition, autism spectrum disorder can be diagnosed before the child turns two. Early diagnosis can make an enormous difference in their quality of life later on.
There are certain early signs that can be observed in a newborn if your child is on the spectrum. You can detect the first signs in your infant really early in their life.
Read Also: Whats The Difference In Add And Adhd
Difficulty Picking Up On Small Social Cues
Deciphering nonverbal, subtle social cues can be hard for adults with autism spectrum disorder, so they may feel lost in conversation.
Adults on the autism spectrum typically may interpret nonverbal communicationincluding facial expressions, eye-rolling, and hand gesturesdifferently than neurotypical people.
Restrictive / Repetitive Behaviors May Include:
- Repeating certain behaviors or having unusual behaviors, such as repeating words or phrases
- Having a lasting intense interest in specific topics, such as numbers, details, or facts
- Showing overly focused interests, such as with moving objects or parts of objects
- Becoming upset by slight changes in a routine and having difficulty with transitions
- Being more sensitive or less sensitive than other people to sensory input, such as light, sound, clothing, or temperature
People with ASD may also experience sleep problems and irritability.
People on the autism spectrum also may have many strengths, including:
- Being able to learn things in detail and remember information for long periods of time
- Being strong visual and auditory learners
- Excelling in math, science, music, or art
You May Like: How To Talk To Autistic Teenager
About Early Signs Of Autism
Some early signs of autism usually appear in the first 1-2 years of life.
Early signs of autism are listed below. Some children have many early signs, whereas others have only a few. The number of signs autistic children have varies according to their age and the effect that autism has on their everyday lives.
Sometimes early signs of autism change over time. For example, children might lose or stop using social-communication or language skills, or signs might become clearer as children get older.
Communication Signs Of Autism In Children
We learned about my sons autism after begging our pediatrician for a speech therapy referral.
We knew he wasnt communicating like a typical child would, and we wanted to help him communicate to lower his frustrations.
See, autistic children often have significant communication struggles and delays, sometimes to the point of not speaking at all.
The first thing most people notice in autistic children is that they may not meet typical language milestones.
You may notice that your child often repeats quotes from books, songs, or movies that they have seen or heard.
My son used to quote the Tinkerbell Pirate Fairy movie constantly.
An autistic child may also struggle to begin or keep up with conversations.
Beginning a conversation takes several expressive language skills that many autistic kids struggle with, and keeping up with a 2-way conversation can be overwhelming and exhausting.
You might also notice that an autistic child may not respond to their name.
Sometimes this is because they are so engrossed in an activity that they block out other noises, and sometimes its because autistic children dont develop the same familiarity with their name that other children do.
Another common communication sign of autism in children is that they may seem completely unaware of the volume of their own voice.
A-Man is often yelling or whispering without realizing that hes doing it, or realizing how those different volumes affect those around him.
Recommended Reading: Why Is Autism Considered A Disability
What Causes Autism In Women
Experts arent sure what causes autism. Given the wide range of symptoms and severity, autism is likely caused by several factors, including genetics and environmental factors.
While theres no evidence that the exact cause of autism is different between the sexes, some experts suggest that boys are at a higher chance of developing it.
For example, investigators believe that girls might be born with genetic protective factors that reduce their chance of autism.
Theres also an emerging theory called the extreme male brain theory. Its based on the idea that fetal exposure to high levels of male hormones in the uterus might affect brain development.
As a result, a childs mind might focus more on understanding and categorizing objects, traits that are generally associated with the male brain. This is in contrast to empathizing and socializing, which are more often associated with female brains.
The effect of hormones on brain development isnt well known yet, giving this theory some major limitations. Still, its a start toward understanding how autism develops and why it appears more in boys than girls.
Signs And Symptoms Of Asd
People with ASD have difficulty with social communication and interaction, restricted interests, and repetitive behaviors. The list below gives some examples of common types of behaviors in people diagnosed with ASD. Not all people with ASD will have all behaviors, but most will have several of the behaviors listed below.
Read Also: Are Autism And Tourette’s Related
What Are The Causes Of Autism
Experts donât fully understand all of the causes of autism spectrum disorder. It seems to be genetic, but things such as parental age and prescription medications taken during pregnancy may be involved.
- A person is more likely to be on the spectrum if a brother, sister, or parent is. But it doesnât always run in families.
- About 10% of kids with ASD have a form of genetic disorder such as Down syndrome and fragile X syndrome.
- A large Danish study found a link between ASD and advanced parental age of either parent.
- Women prescribed opioids just before pregnancy are likelier to have a child with ASD.
Some children who are on the spectrum start showing signs as young as a few months old. Others seem to have normal development for the first few months or years of their lives and then they start showing symptoms.
But up to half of parents of children with ASD noticed issues by the time their child reached 12 months, and between 80% and 90% noticed problems by 2 years. Children with ASD will have symptoms throughout their lives, but itâs possible for them to get better as they get older.
The autism spectrum is very wide. Some people might have very noticeable issues, others might not. The common thread is differences in social skills, communication, and behavior compared with people who arenât on the spectrum.