What’s It Like To Have Autism Spectrum Disorder
A kid with autism might have trouble:
- talking and learning the meaning of words
- making friends or fitting in
- dealing with changes
- dealing with loud noises, bright lights, or crowds
Kids also might move in an unusual way or do the same thing over and over .
A kid with autism may have a little trouble with these things, or a lot. Some kids need only a little bit of help, and others might need a lot of help with learning and doing everyday stuff.
Autistic People May Act In A Different Way To Other People
Autistic people may:
- find it hard to communicate and interact with other people
- find it hard to understand how other people think or feel
- find things like bright lights or loud noises overwhelming, stressful or uncomfortable
- get anxious or upset about unfamiliar situations and social events
- take longer to understand information
- do or think the same things over and over
If you think you or your child may be autistic, get advice about the signs of autism.
You Get Upset If Your Daily Routine Needs To Be Changed
If youre a routines person, with everything just so and a very specific way of getting to each of your tasks in the morning, and if you get seriously upset if those routines become obstructed, you may have a place on the autism spectrum. Routines are, for the autistic, often a way to cope with overwhelming amounts of information and sound, and a very necessary way to get through every day.
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How Does Autism Affect Kids
Autistic children may not reach the same developmental milestones as their peers, or they may demonstrate the loss of previously developed social or language skills.
For instance, a 2-year-old without autism may show interest in simple games of make-believe. A 4-year-old without autism may enjoy engaging in activities with other children. An autistic child may have trouble interacting with others or dislike it altogether.
Autistic children may also engage in repetitive behaviors, have difficulty sleeping, or compulsively eat nonfood items. They may find it hard to thrive without a structured environment or consistent routine.
If your child is autistic, you may have to work closely with their teachers to ensure they succeed in the classroom.
Many resources are available to help autistic children as well as their loved ones. Local support groups can be found through the national nonprofit the Autism Society of America.
Restricted Or Repetitive Patterns Of Behavior Or Activities
In addition to the communication and social issues mentioned above, autism also includes symptoms related to body movements and behaviors.
These can include:
- repetitive movements, like rocking, flapping their arms, spinning, or running back and forth
- lining objects, like toys, up in strict order and getting upset when that order is disturbed
- attachment to strict routines, like those around bedtime or getting to school
- repeating words or phrases they hear someone say over and over again
- getting upset over minor changes
- focusing intently on parts of objects, like the wheel of a toy truck or the hair of a doll
- unusual reactions to sensory input, like sounds, smells, and tastes
- obsessive interests
- exceptional abilities, like musical talent or memory capabilities
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How Common Is Autism
Autism is always present from birth, but it might not be recognised or diagnosed until adulthood. Early intervention, in the form of support for their individual needs, can be helpful for autistic children.
Even if you arent diagnosed until adulthood, getting a diagnosis can be very helpful for identifying your strengths and the things you struggle with, and finding support.
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What Are The Causes Of Autism
Its natural to want to know what causes autism, however it is likely that there is not one single cause. While genetic differences are known to cause some types of autism, the causes of autism are largely unknown.
We do know that autism is a neurobiological difference, meaning that the brain processes information differently for people with autism, than it does for people who do not have autism.
We also know that parenting styles do not cause a child to develop autism.
Autism is not caused by vaccinations during or before pregnancy, and the falsely-reported link between the measles-mumps-rubella immunisation and autism has been retracted from the paper it was published in, and completely discredited by the research, scientific and medical community.
For more information about the current studies being undertaken into the causes of autism, visit our what causes autism section.
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Examples Of Autism In A Sentence
autism ajcautism NBC NewsautismSan Diego Union-Tribuneautism Scientific Americanautism CNNautismchicagotribune.comautism The Salt Lake Tribuneautism Fox News
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word ‘autism.’ Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Restrictive / Repetitive Behaviors May Include:
- Repeating certain behaviors or having unusual behaviors. For example, repeating words or phrases, a behavior called echolalia
- Having a lasting intense interest in certain topics, such as numbers, details, or facts
- Having overly focused interests, such as with moving objects or parts of objects
- Getting upset by slight changes in a routine
- Being more or less sensitive than other people to sensory input, such as light, noise, clothing, or temperature
People with ASD may also experience sleep problems and irritability. Although people with ASD experience many challenges, they may also 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
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Old Words Used To Describe Autism
To help with all of the vocabularies that you might see and hear, these are many of the words used in the past to describe autism:
- Autistic disorder, autism, childhood autism, early infantile autism, Kanners syndrome, infantile psychosis.
- Aspergers, Asperger syndrome, Asperger Disorder, High functioning autism.
- Pervasive Developmental Disorder sometimes abbreviated to PDD also called atypical autism.
- Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, also known as Hellers syndrome, disintegrative psychosis, regressive autism.
Is Retts Disorder related to autism? No, it is not. It was grouped with autism in the past but no longer is. Therefore, Retts Disorder is separate and distinct from autism.
How Is Asd Diagnosed
ASD symptoms can vary greatly from person to person depending on the severity of the disorder. Symptoms may even go unrecognized for young children who have mild ASD or less debilitating handicaps.
Autism spectrum disorder is diagnosed by clinicians based on symptoms, signs, and testing according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-V, a guide created by the American Psychiatric Association used to diagnose mental disorders. Children should be screened for developmental delays during periodic checkups and specifically for autism at 18- and 24-month well-child visits.
Very early indicators that require evaluation by an expert include:
- no babbling or pointing by age 1
- no single words by age 16 months or two-word phrases by age 2
- no response to name
- excessive lining up of toys or objects
- no smiling or social responsiveness
Later indicators include:
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Different Questionnaires Different Results
One recent study by Dr. Peters, Dr. Goin-Kochel and others illustrated the difficulty in assessing the BAP.11 The study involved the Simons Simplex Collection, which includes 1,650 families who have just one child with autism. When autism strikes a family out of the blue, as it did in the SSC families, its more likely that any genetic change that contributed to that childs autism was not inherited from a parent. The researchers used three different assessment tools. They found that a small percentage of the parents had the BAP, but how many parents depended on the tool used. The percentage of parents with the BAP ranged from almost none to 12 percent, depending on the test.
What explains these differences between assessment tools? It may be that each one measures a different concept of the BAP. Another explanation may be found in the way each assessment was conducted. One assessment was completed by the parent herself, another by her partner, and the third by a researcher. Folks sometimes see themselves differently than their partners do, and often they behave differently in different contexts, which is why we felt it was important to examine BAP from these different perspectives, said Dr. Goin-Kochel.
What Does Sensory Autism Mean
What does sensory autism mean? A sensory disorder is commonly associated with autism. However, it is important to know that sensory disorders and autism are not the same thing. Additionally, sensory autism is not a type of autism.
This article explains more about sensory and autism and in particular, how they overlap. It is important to understand why sensory links with autism as well as how they are different.
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Broadening The Spectrum Of Diagnosis
This broader definition coupled with the fact that the Americans with Disabilities Act required an official diagnosis to receive therapy or accommodations in school, contributed to the increase in diagnosis.
But what was actually happening had a lot more to do with a community in great need of services and accommodations getting the diagnoses they required in order for health insurance companies to sign off on paying for these supports as a result of the ADA.
What Is The Prevalence Of Autism
The exact prevalence of autism in Australia and internationally is unknown.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics reports that there were 205,200 Australians with autism in 2018, which is around 1% of the population or 1 in 100.
Internationally this rate varies significantly, from 1 person in every 59 people in the USA, to the average prevalence across Asia, Europe, and North America is between one and two percent.
Statistics also show that:
- the number of Australians diagnosed with autism increased by 42% between 2012 and 2015
- three out of four people diagnosed with autism are young people, aged between 5 and 24 years and
- 1-2 out of 4 Australians diagnosed with autism are female.
While the reported prevalence of autism varies around the world, there has been a clear increase in the number of people diagnosed on the autism spectrum in recent years, but this doesnt necessarily suggest that there are more autistic people in the world than there were ten or twenty years ago.
Evidence suggests that the increase is the result of a number of cultural and clinical factors, including social influences driving greater awareness of autism, and improved diagnostic procedures and changes in diagnostic criteria allowing more people to access a diagnosis.
According to Professor Whitehouse, from Australias Autism CRC, research shows the majority of the increase in autism prevalence over this period was due to an increase in diagnosing children with less severe behaviours.
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What If My Friend Has Autism Spectrum Disorder
Some people with ASD do not feel that they have a disorder and don’t want to change. They’re proud of who they are and they want to be accepted, even though they may have different strengths and weaknesses than most other people.
All people deserve respect. But kids with ASD may be teased, bullied, or left out because they’re different. Bullying and teasing are never the right way to treat other people, but it may be hard to be a friend with someone who has ASD.
Kids with ASD often don’t understand playful jokes. You may need to be very clear when you communicate with someone who has ASD.
Try to be patient and kind. Remember how hard it might be for the person with ASD to understand how to be a friend. Stand up for classmates who are bullied. Tell adults, so they can help protect kids who are bullied.
Social Communication And Social Interaction Challenges
Autistic people have difficulties with interpreting both verbal and non-verbal language like gestures or tone of voice. Some autistic people are unable to speak or have limited speech while other autistic people have very good language skills but struggle to understand sarcasm or tone of voice. Other challenges include:
- taking things literally and not understanding abstract concepts
- needing extra time to process information or answer questions
- repeating what others say to them
Autistic people often have difficulty ‘reading’ other people – recognising or understanding others’ feelings and intentions – and expressing their own emotions. This can make it very hard to navigate the social world. Autistic people may:
- appear to be insensitive
- seek out time alone when overloaded by other people
- not seek comfort from other people
- appear to behave ‘strangely’ or in a way thought to be socially inappropriate
- find it hard to form friendships.
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Signs In Developmental Period
- In order to be diagnosed with autism, symptoms must have been present in the early developmental period of a persons life. It can be difficult to pick up on signs and characteristics of autism for many parents, as raising a child in something that is very new to most people. For parents that already have a child diagnosed with autism, they may be more aware of the signs of autism so they pick up on these earlier. Or for other parents that have an older child that is typically developing, they also may pick up on the signs of autism earlier as they have a child to compare development with. See our signs and checklist for children with autism page for more information.
- For many adults, they many only become aware of the signs or characteristics of autism in relation to their own behaviours later in life. When they then think back over their life they may start to identify how autism may have impacted their life at different moments such as realising that others seemed to know what others were thinking when they found it difficult to read peoples emotions. Many adults with autism have learnt strategies to support their challenges throughout their lifetime. It is therefore important to think about what signs or characteristics were present at a young age when seeking a diagnosis as an adult. See our signs and checklist for adults with autism page for more information.
Sensory Autism Is Not A Type Of Autism
There are no longer types of autism. Furthermore, sensory autism was never one of the types, although it is commonly uses. Autism is a range, called a spectrum disorder. Nonetheless, it is important to know that sensory differences and sensory issues are often part of autism. In fact, the diagnostic criteria for autism include mention of two sensory impairments. Specifically, hypersensitivity and hyposensitivity. However, not all people with autism have one of these two types of sensory issues. In addition, sensory issues are more complex than just these two. So, lets dive into sensory autism.
As with autism, there are many different words to describe sensory. Furthermore, there are more than five senses. Those five senses are what you see, hear, taste, touch, and smell. However, you have more than five senses. The less known sense include your sense of movement , your sense of balance and your sense of internal organs . Examples of interoception include your sense of hunger, thirst, or the need to go to the bathroom.
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Signs Of Autism In Children
The signs of autism can change as children grow babies and toddlers show different signs of autism than children aged 4 and older.
Babies and toddlers
Signs of autism in babies and toddlers can include a number of things that affect different parts of their life and behaviour.
Autistic babies and toddlers might:
- start talking later than most children
- seem less aware of others around them for example, they might not respond to their name being called
- make repetitive movements when excited or upset – for example flapping their hands, rocking back and forth, or making the same noise repeatedly
Autistic babies and toddlers might not:
- smile back when you smile at them
- point to show when they want something
- point to show you something they find interesting
Autistic babies and toddlers might:
- spend a long time setting up toys in a certain way, and set them up the same way every time
- enjoy lining toys up in order, or watching parts of them move
Autistic babies and toddlers might not:
- seem interested in playing with other children their age
- seem to use their toys to make up stories or pretend they might also start pretend play at a later age than most children
Autistic babies and toddlers might:
- react strongly to sounds, smells, touch, tastes, or things they can see for example, if they like the way a stuffed toy feels, they want to spend a lot of time stroking the toy
- become upset if given something to eat or drink thats new to them
- eat a limited range of foods
What Is Autism Spectrum Disorder
Autism spectrum disorder is a developmental disability that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges. There is often nothing about how people with ASD look that sets them apart from other people, but people with ASD may communicate, interact, behave, and learn in ways that are different from most other people. The learning, thinking, and problem-solving abilities of people with ASD can range from gifted to severely challenged. Some people with ASD need a lot of help in their daily lives others need less.
A diagnosis of ASD now includes several conditions that used to be diagnosed separately: autistic disorder, pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified , and Asperger syndrome. These conditions are now all called autism spectrum disorder.
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