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
Educate Yourself About Autism
New resources for understanding and living with autism appear seemingly every day.
Talk to doctors, researchers, or speech pathologists with expertise in autism to learn:
- more about autism and how it works
- whats happening in a neurodivergent brain
- how you can advocate for your teen when others dont understand or accept who they are
Read plenty of books and visit online resources, too. Here are just a few:
How Do Girls Mask Their Asd
Often girls with traits of autism are able to hide and blend in, this is known as camouflaging or masking. The occurrence of masking in girls is due to the cultural pressure of displaying right behaviors that are often expected of them
It is inherently easier for autistic girls to mimic the behaviors of others when it comes to certain interactions, at least initially. Some examples of masking or camouflaging include: the act of mimicking facial expressions, and making intentional eye contact despite the internal discomfort or anxiety-triggering emotions this can elicit. Suppressing stimming behaviors such as flapping of hands, or giving scripted responses to questions, are additional methods of masking based on current studies and clinician experiences.
Recommended Reading: Which Vaccines Are Linked To Autism
What Are The Signs Of Autism In Babies
Autism doesnt change a babys physical appearance. The condition does affect how babies communicate and how they relate to the world around them.
Autism is described as a spectrum condition because signs, symptoms, and abilities can vary widely. If you notice any of these developmental differences, its important to talk with your childs doctor or healthcare professional about them.
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.
Also Check: How To Know If A Girl Has Autism
Accept Them For Who They Are
Regardless of the message many parents of autistic teens get from the people and organizations around them, there is nothing wrong with your teen. They dont need to be fixed.
Instead, make your teen feel loved. Include them in all your family events. Get involved in their favorite activities.
Respect their boundaries, whether by letting them have their own friends and hobbies or by giving them privacy when they ask for it.
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 .
You May Like: How Early Can You Tell If Your Child Is Autistic
What Does Autism Look Like
I was never informed that Autism has a look. I was never told that Autism can be spotted in some fashion in a way that allows me to express it as a thing. So when I ask the question what does Autism look like? I normally get responses that are mundane and confusing to me. While also being confused and frustrating to the people that are answering the question.
How can I express the difficulties of my life and understand the normal functions vs the autistic functions if I do not understand what Autism looks like? That is where I am trying to come from in this Vlog. Attempting to touch on the fact that Autism doesnt Look like anything while at the same time Autism doesnt have a defined process or way of being, I think I made my best effort.
Please enjoy my Vlog and do comment if you have any questions or comments.
Remember as always you are not your worst self. I say that to myself everyday and I am trying to change for the better through all of my difficulties, you have the same abilities.
Reduced Emotion In Facial Expressions
Facial expressions are a nonverbal way to communicate thoughts and feelings.
Research on emotional expression in autistic infants is limited, but in studies involving school-age children, researchers have found that autistic children display less emotion through facial expressions than children with nonautistic development.
That doesnt necessarily mean autistic children are feeling less emotion, just that less of it shows on their faces when they do.
Don’t Miss: How Old Does Autism Show Up
Signs Of Autism In Girls
The ratio of boys to girls diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder is 4:1. However, there is some evidence that autism is going undiagnosed in girls, particularly those who are at the higher functioning end of the spectrum.
There is discussion around whether girls and women with autism may display different symptoms to boys and men, and that the current diagnostic criteria may be biased towards boys and stereotypical male behavior. Girls and women may also be better able to mask difficulties with social interactions than boys, and this may delay a diagnosis. New diagnostic criteria may be needed to assess ASD in girls and women. Past theories, including controversies such as the extreme male brain, may have led to under-referral and under-diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder in girls and women.
Signs that a girl may have autism include:
- Difficulties with social interactions however, differences from typical autism symptoms may include:
- Better grasp of emotions and ability to make friends than boys
- May mask lack of intuitive understanding of social situations by repeating role-plays seen in real life or film/television
- May be able to make friends but find difficulty keeping them
Also Check: What Is Level 2 Autism
Advocacy Starts At The Diagnosis Of Asd
So, from the time your child initially receives a diagnosis until they reach adulthood, becoming your childs advocate is so extremely critical. Right now, no one expert has been able to confirm what causes autism, but one thing is certain: bad parenting IS NOT the cause of this impairment.
Unfortunately, you still have some people who are ready and willing to wave the idea around that a parent can inflict autism onto their child. There are a few people I know who are still quick to say that there is nothing wrong with my son and that he only needs to be disciplined.
Although such an accusation pains me deeply, I now understand that it doesnt matter who the person is or how well educated they may think they are on the subject of autism no one can truly comprehend what its like to raise an autistic child unless they are raising one themselves.
You May Like: How To Get Your Autistic Child To Talk
Social Signs Of Autism In Toddlers
Some common social signs may include:
- Little or no eye contact
- Little or no response to parents facial expressions
- Does not look at objects that parent is pointing to
- Does not point out objects to parent
- Does not display appropriate facial expressions
- Difficulty understanding what others are feeling by seeing their facial expressions
- Less likely to show empathy for others
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.
You May Like: Nyc Autism Charter Schools
Education For Moderate To Severe Autism
Although children with moderate autism may have some intellectual or learning disabilities, they can often attend school. Because a mainstream classroom is usually overwhelming, children with moderate autism may enroll in an autism support classroom in a traditional school setting or attend a school specifically designed for students with autism.
Special accommodations in the Individualized Education Program provide beneficial supports that help the children maximize strengths, improve weaknesses, and gain valuable academic, social, emotional, and life skills.
Some children with severe autism have intellectual challenges that make learning difficult. A traditional school setting is impossible to navigate and even an autistic support classroom may be overwhelming.
However, small, therapeutic settings in a traditional or autism specific school can provide an environment that helps children with severe autism learn and grow. Here, educators follow a specialized and individualized plan for each child. With these supports, children with severe autism learn valuable skills.
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 You Grow Out Of Autism
How Can An Asd Diagnosis Help A Girl With Autism
Just as with their male counterparts, women and girls with autism benefit from early intervention. An early diagnosis can mean earlier access to therapies and resources. It can also mean more time for the girl and her family to learn how to manage an ASD diagnosis. Early intervention is key, but a diagnosis later in life is better than no diagnosis at all.
According to Dr. Susan F. Epstein, a clinical neuropsychologist, girls with autism can often end up wondering whats wrong with them and suffer from poor self-esteem, depression, and can become vulnerable to bullying.
Young and adult women who are diagnosed with autism might have to play catch-up on social skills and coping mechanisms. However, after an adjustment period, most women and girls find relief from receiving their diagnosis. After a diagnosis, you and/or your child can meet with autism experts, occupational therapists, psychiatrists, or other professionals who can answer questions and help long-term.
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.
You May Like: How Wide Is The Autism Spectrum
Masking: The Reason Girls Are Missed For Asd Diagnosis
Some research suggests the reason girls are typically under diagnosed for autism spectrum disorder is that the current diagnostic criteria does not meet the expression of autism in girls.
Current studies cite that at least three males receive an autism diagnosis for every one female. Two current arguments suggest an explanation the first argues the reason for this occurrence is that girls have an inherent trait that protects them from the likelihood of developing autism. While the second argument is that more girls are likely to develop autism than current data estimates, the limiting factor is that diagnostic bias and variations in the expression of autism in girls limit the positive diagnosis.
Out of these two arguments, the second is much more favored than the other. The main issue with the current diagnostic criteria is that behavioral maskers that are used as criteria for diagnosing autism are based on pre-existing conceptions of what autism looks like. These are predominantly based on male population samples previously diagnosed with autism.
Girls are often able to mask their autism traits and the behavioral maskers used as diagnosis criteria are therefore not so apparent but what does this mean?
What Are The Common Signs Of Autism In Teenagers
The outward signs of ASD arent the same from person to person.
But the signs of autism in teens arent all that different from those in children or adults.
Heres a brief summary of the diagnostic criteria for autism according to the DSM-5:
- having difficulty with social interactions and communication, such as having conversations or misunderstanding gestures
- having intensely focused or restricted patterns of behavior, such as repetitive motor functions like hand-flapping, or a strict adherence to a daily routine to the extent of feeling distressed if these patterns are disrupted
- outward signs of autism are identifiable early in development, even if theyre not easy to spot, as they may become more apparent when the child gets older
- autism signs result in noticeable challenges adjusting to functions expected in social or workplace norms
- autism signs arent more clearly part of a different intellectual disability or developmental disorder diagnosis
These signs are also diagnosed according to their severity.
Some autistic people may show only mild forms of these signs. But others may experience severe forms that disrupt their ability to adjust to neurotypical social and communication norms.
This is why many people think its critical to get a diagnosis and get treated as early as possible.
You May Like: Can Autistic People Play Sports
Restricted Repetitive Patterns Of Behavior Interests Or Activities Include:
Many parents, caregivers, and educators report that children with ASD exhibit behavioral challenges such as tantrum behavior, aggressive behavior, self-injurious behavior, property destruction, and noncompliance. Challenging behaviors should be addressed promptly at home and at school.
Recognizing behavioral strengths of children with ASD is equally important, as it is those strengths that can be expanded to increase adaptive behavior. Just like neurotypical children, those with ASD have a wide range of talents. A child with ASD may be able to play a song on the piano without sheet music, but will avoid interaction with peers. At school, that childs piano-playing skills may be incorporated in the classroom to help increase communication with peers. For example, a teacher could make a game of name that tune, encourage turn-taking at the piano, have the child teach peers about the piano, etc. Teachers could also make use of the vast knowledge a student with ASD may have on a particular topic. For example, if a student is xated on train routes, a teacher could have that student develop a presentation with peers regarding specic routes, draw a wall-size map of routes, and incorporate routes in lesson plans regarding transportation, communities, or history. These activities are often benecial to the student with ASD and his or her peers!