High Levels Of Adaptive Functioning
Having High Functioning Autism does not indicate that an individual has high levels of adaptive functioning, which are the practical skills needed to participate in everyday life.
It is important to understand that having an average/above average IQ does not correlate to having average/above average adaptive functioning.
Individuals with High Functioning Autism will still struggle with adaptive skills especially with regards to socialising, communication and self-care.
What Are The Three Types Of Autism Spectrum Disorders
Just like there is more than one type of anxiety disorder, diabetes, or developmental disorder, there is more than one type of autism. In anxiety, for example, there are five completely separate types, each with their own symptoms, some unique to the other types and some types sharing similar symptoms on a spectrum. Autism Spectrum Disorder is considered the broad term for autism, but there are actually three separate sub-types that fit within the ASD category.
When you think about a spectrum, think of seeing different shades of blue all together in one band. All of the shades are technically blue, but they range from lightest to darkest. You can also think of a rating scale with two extremes or opposite points. The term autism spectrum disorder should be viewed similarly there is a spectrum of symptoms that someone with autism can exhibit, ranging from mild to severe.
You may be one of the millions of people around the world affected by autism. Or you might know someone personally affected by the disorder or have realized its impact on people and the world. Either way, it is encouraged that you educate yourself on what autism is and what the three types of autism spectrum disorders are. In doing so, you will have a better understanding about the disorder, which can help you to interact and communicate more effectively with individuals who are on the spectrum and to put yourself in their shoes.
The three types of ASD that will be discussed are:
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.
Terminology And Distinction From Schizophrenia
As late as the mid-1970s there was little evidence of a genetic role in autism while in 2007 it was believed to be one of the most heritable psychiatric conditions. Although the rise of parent organizations and the destigmatization of childhood ASD have affected how ASD is viewed, parents continue to feel social stigma in situations where their child’s autistic behavior is perceived negatively, and many primary care physicians and medical specialists express some beliefs consistent with outdated autism research.
It took until 1980 for the DSM-III to differentiate autism from childhood schizophrenia. In 1987, the DSM-III-R provided a checklist for diagnosing autism. In May 2013, the DSM-5 was released, updating the classification for pervasive developmental disorders. The grouping of disorders, including PDD-NOS, autism, Asperger syndrome, Rett syndrome, and CDD, has been removed and replaced with the general term of Autism Spectrum Disorders. The two categories that exist are impaired social communication and/or interaction, and restricted and/or repetitive behaviors.
The Internet has helped autistic individuals bypass nonverbal cues and emotional sharing that they find difficult to deal with, and has given them a way to form online communities and work remotely.Societal and cultural aspects of autism have developed: some in the community seek a cure, while others believe that autism is simply another way of being.
Autism Is Not An Illness
Being autistic does not mean you have an illness or disease. It means your brain works in a different way from other people.
It’s something you’re born with or first appears when you’re very young.
If you’re autistic, you’re autistic your whole life.
Autism is not a medical condition with treatments or a “cure”. But some people need support to help them with certain things.
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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.
Why Is Autism Awareness Important
April 2 is World Autism Awareness Day. April has also become known as Autism Awareness Month in the United States. However, many community advocates have rightly called for the need to increase awareness about ASD year-round, and not just during 30 select days.
The Autism Society of America and other advocates have even proposed that April be designated Autism Acceptance Month instead.
Autism acceptance requires empathy and an understanding that ASD is different for everyone.
Certain therapies and approaches can work for some people but not others. Parents and caregivers can also have differing opinions on the best way to advocate for an autistic child.
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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.
What Autistic People Have To Say
Through our Stories from the Spectrum series, weve spoken to several autistic people, who have shared their thoughts on this topic, what being autistic is like for them, and some of the positive aspects of being autistic.
I just seem to see and think about people and the world in a different way. Its part of who I am. John Clark
John Clark, autistic filmmaker, told us:I just seem to see and think about people and the world in a different way. For instance, I am both confused and fascinated by idioms. Its part of who I am. I used to be very self-conscious about people liking and accepting me, but now, I just think, take me or leave me. Were all different. Some people seem to find live and let live a difficult mantra to grasp though.
Patrick Samuel, autistic artist and musician, said: My autism makes it easy for me to do things a lot of non-autistic people may struggle with. I work intensely when Im painting, writing, composing or doing anything creative. I think being autistic also contributes to my aptitude in problem solving and pattern recognition, which can help me research a highly specialised subject and give talks on it.
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Causes Of Autism Spectrum Disorder
Although the exact cause of autism spectrum disorder is not known, current research points to genetic changes that occur during a baby’s development in the womb. Autism spectrum disorder tends to run in families, and researchers are trying to identify genes that may be passed down through the generations. Special types of brain images taken of children with the condition show that certain areas of their brains develop and function differently from those of children without the condition. Autism spectrum disorder is not caused by bad parenting.
Symptoms Of Autism Spectrum Disorder
The first symptoms are usually seen at about age 3:
Obsessive interests. Children with autism spectrum disorder often become overly interested in a single object or subject and devote all their time and attention to it. They tend to learn everything they can about that one topic and talk about it constantly, sometimes sounding like a junior expert.
Unusual speech. Children with autism spectrum disorder have good vocabularies but unusual ways of expressing themselves. They may talk in a monotone voice and do not recognize the need to control the volume of their voice, speaking loudly in libraries or movie theaters, for example.
Social isolation. Children with the condition have trouble making friends because they are awkward in social situations. They may stand too close or talk too loudly to others, who may see their behavior as odd or inappropriate.
Physical symptoms. They may have delayed motor skills and be clumsy when they try to ride a bike or play with others. Their body movements may seem stiff, and they may repeat motions, like rocking or spinning, again and again.
Oversensitivity. Children with the condition may be unusually upset by loud sounds, bright lights, strong smells, or being touched. They may also be easily upset by any change in schedules or routines.
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Varied Availability Of Services
Adults with autism are entitled to nothing but are likely to receive at least some level of support. If you live in some states, youâll have little trouble accessing services and funding for adults with autism.
If you live in other states, youâre out of luck. According to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services , thes states offer the least generous programs and services:
Of course, the definition of âservices and fundingâ varies depending upon need. For example, Medicaid doesnât provide vocational training or supportservices that would be particularly useful to higher functioning adults.
Medicaid may or may not be a source of funding for housing, day programs, and other services.
One excellent, updated source of information about state-by-state offerings is Easter Seals. While they do focus quite a bit on children, they also include a wide range of detailed information about resources and services for all ages.
The Flavors Of Autism
Genes can be passed directly from parent to child, but not all genetic changes, or mutations, come from parents. Children also can have mutations that occur by chance or by virtue of some environmental influence. Parents’ ages are one example of an environmental influence children born to older parents are more likely to have genetic changes that they did not inherit from their folks.7 These mutations are de novo, a Latin expression that means new.
Researchers theorize that families who have more than one member with autism are more likely to be passing down genes for autism. If that’s true, then those parents are more likely to show autistic-like characteristics than families who have only one member with autism. Scientists hope to figure out what those genes are, and how they trigger autism in their children. For example, would genes associated with rigidity or obsessiveness in parents be related to repetitive behaviors such as hand-flapping in their offspring with autism?
Some researchers believe there are different types, or flavors, of autism, and examining genetic influences can help pinpoint them.
Understanding the different types of autism, and the spectrum of traits related to autism, could lead to better and more individualized treatments, she said.
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Autism Spectrum Disorder In The Dsm
The DSM-V defines Autism Spectrum Disorder as persistent difficulties with social communication and social interaction and restricted and repetitive patterns of behaviours, activities or interests , present since early childhood, to the extent that these limit and impair everyday functioning. All these criteria must be met for a formal diagnosis of ASD. This is why people who have some but not all of the features and people who have learned to manage their autism in a familiar environment may have difficulty getting a formal diagnosis. These people will often benefit from some of the same strategies that are helpful for autistic people. For this reason, interventions should be based on an assessment of a persons strengths and difficulties rather than the diagnosis.
What Are The Symptoms Of Nonspeaking Autism
The primary symptom of nonspeaking autism is being unable to speak clearly or without interference.
Autistic people may have difficulty talking to or carrying on a conversation with another person, but those who are nonspeaking do not speak at all.
There are several reasons for this. It may be because they have , a disorder that affects certain brain pathways. It can interfere with a persons ability to say what they want correctly.
It may also be because they have not developed verbal communication skills. Some children may lose verbal skills as symptoms of the condition worsen and become more noticeable.
Some autistic kids may also have echolalia, which causes them to repeat words or phrases over and over. It can make communication difficult.
Symptoms of autism often improve with age. As children grow older, symptoms may become less severe and disruptive. Your child may also become verbal with intervention and therapy.
Researchers do not yet know what causes autism. However, they do have a better understanding of some factors that may play a role.
Vaccines do not cause autism.
In 1998, a controversial study proposed a link between autism and the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine. However, additional research debunked that report. In fact, the researchers behind the 1998 study retracted it in 2010.
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Do Symptoms Of Autism Change Over Time
For many children, symptoms improve with age and behavioral treatment. During adolescence, some children with ASD may become depressed or experience behavioral problems, and their treatment may need some modification as they transition to adulthood. People with ASD usually continue to need services and supports as they get older, but depending on severity of the disorder, people with ASD may be able to work successfully and live independently or within a supportive environment.
How Is Autism Spectrum Disorder Treated
There is no cure for autism, but treatment can make a big difference. The younger kids are when they start treatment, the better.
Doctors, therapists, and special education teachers can help kids learn to talk, play, and learn. Therapists also help kids learn about making friends, taking turns, and getting along.
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What Is Borderline Aspergers
For instance, as some authors pointed out, both BPD and Asperger Disorder are characterized by difficulty in interpersonal relationships, identity disturbance, impulsivity, suicidal behavior, gestures or threat, affective liability, difficulty controlling anger and transient, stress-related paranoid ideation .
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
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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, it’s more likely that any genetic change that contributed to that child’s 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.