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What Does It Mean To Be Autistic

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The Core Symptoms Of Autism Are:

What does it mean to be Autistic?
  • social communication challengesand

  • begin in early childhood
  • persistand
  • interfere with daily living.

Specialized healthcare providers diagnose autism using a checklist of criteria in the two categories above. They also assess autism;symptomseverity. Autisms severity scale;reflects how much support a person needs for daily function.

Many people with autism have sensory issues. These typically involve over- or under-sensitivities to sounds, lights, touch, tastes, smells, pain and other stimuli.

Autism is also associated with high rates of certain physical and mental health conditions.

Variability In Adults With Autism

Not all adults with autism are alike.

  • Some adults with autism have successful careers in demanding fields such as information technology, robotics, and video game production.
  • Some work part-time while also taking advantage of day programs and resources.
  • Some are unable to function in the workplace and spend their days in sheltered settings.
  • Some adults on the spectrum are happily married or partnered.
  • Others have romantic friendships.
  • A significant number are unable to form meaningful, reciprocal relationships with peers.

These vast differences make it just as tough to define or provide services for adults with autism as for children on the spectrum.

Not All Of Us Can Talk But We All Have Something To Say

Depending on your source, perhaps 20-30% of autistic people are estimated to be nonverbal. But talking is only one way to communicate. Some of us type. Some of us use sign language and/or AAC . Even behavior is a form of communication. So the problem isnt that autism cant speak, its that the rest of you need to learn how to listen to us.

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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.

A Mild Case Of Autism

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High Functioning Autism does not mean that a persons level of Autism is mild, and they can still do well with little support.;

Autism is a recognised disability and all people with Autism require support.; The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders , which is used in Australia to diagnose Autism Spectrum Disorder , specifies three support levels:

Level 1 Requiring Support

Level 2 Requiring Substantial Support

Level 3 Requiring Very Substantial Support

Only the ASD levels 1, 2, and 3, as diagnosed by a qualified professional, should be used as an indicator of the amount of support a person with Autism needs.

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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.

What Is The Difference Between Autism And Autism Spectrum Disorder

The term autism was changed to autism spectrum disorder in 2013 by the American Psychiatric Association. ASD is now an umbrella term that covers the following conditions:

  • Autistic disorder.
  • Pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified .
  • Asperger syndrome.

People with ASD have trouble with social interactions and with interpreting and using non-verbal and verbal communication in social contexts. Individuals with ASD may also have the following difficulties:

  • Inflexible interests.
  • Insistence on sameness in environment or routine.
  • Repetitive motor and sensory behaviors, like flapping arms or rocking.
  • Increased or decreased reactions to sensory stimuli.

How well someone with ASD can function in day-to-day life depends on the severity of their symptoms. Given that autism varies widely in severity and everyday impairment, the symptoms of some people arent always easily recognized.

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What Are Symptoms Of Autism

Symptoms of autism spectrum disorder are categorized into two general areas:;

Social communication;

  • Problems with social interaction and communication;
  • Inability to speak or understand;
  • Showing no interest in communicating
  • Difficulty with or lack of interaction with family and friends;
  • Difficulty learning to interact with others
  • Little or no interest in developing friendships
  • Children may play alone;
  • Lack of understanding of social conventions or needs of others
  • Lack of interest in sharing activities, interests, or achievements
  • Difficulty using and interpreting nonverbal behaviors such as eye contact, facial expression, gestures, and body postures
  • Babies may resist cuddling, avoid eye contact, or not spread arms in anticipation of being picked up

In patients who have mild autism social communication skills may be improved with support. Without supports in place, deficits in social communication can cause noticeable impairments.

Restricted and repetitive behavior, activities, and interests

In patients who have mild autism inflexibility of behavior can cause significant interference with functioning in one or more areas, such as problems with organization and planning.;

Other features of autism spectrum disorder include:;

  • Delayed or absent language skills
  • Ability to understand may also be impaired
  • Language is not used as a tool for communication
  • May have difficulty starting or sustaining a conversation;
  • Abnormally large head
    • Exposure to the drug valproate in utero;
    • Low birth weight

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    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.

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    Autism Symptoms In Adults At Home

    Other peoples feelings baffle you. You have a collection of figurines on your desk that must be in the same order at all times. These, and other common manifestations of ASD, may be apparent in adults at home:

    • Your family members lovingly refer to you as the eccentric professor of the family, even though you dont work in academia.
    • Youve always wanted a best friend, but never found one.
    • You often invent your own words and expressions to describe things.
    • Even when youre in a quiet place, like the library, you find yourself making involuntary noises like clearing your throat over and over.
    • You follow the same schedule every day of the week, and dont like unexpected events.
    • Expressions like, Curiosity killed the cat or Dont count your chickens before they hatch are confusing to you.
    • You are always bumping into things and tripping over your own feet.
    • In your leisure time, you prefer to play individual games and sports, like golf, where everyone works for themselves instead of working toward a common goal on a team.

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    When You Have An Interest It’s Intense And All

    Obsessions are a very common part of autistic experiences. They tend to involve learning everything possible about one particular thing or range of things, from television shows to objects to people. It can either be an entire topic or something seriously specific, too. It’s not the same as being a super-fan, though; a “special interest,” as it’s termed for the autistic, is an integral part of your identity and how you live your life, and is pursued in every avenue possible. One study calls them “intense, interfering, and idiosyncratic,” which sounds like a trio of children’s book characters. And pursuing your special interest is also deeply comforting.

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    Neurodiverse Or A ‘disorder’

    What is important to be mindful of as well is those who use the term Autistic for themselves may be comfortable with embracing themselves as disabled.

    Others may deviate from that label and prefer to be considered as differently-abled and neurodiverse, specifically that their Autism does not mean they are unable to do, but more just do ‘differently.’

    How Is Autism Diagnosed

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    Doctors diagnose children as autistic by observing them at play and interacting with others.

    There are specific developmental milestones that most children reach by the time theyre 4 years old, such as having a conversation or telling a story.

    If your 4-year-old has signs of autism, your doctor may refer you to a specialist for a more thorough examination. A specialist will observe your child while they play, learn, and communicate. Theyll also interview you about behaviors youve noticed at home and may request input from your childs teachers or other adults who interact with your child.

    While the ideal age to diagnose and treat the symptoms of autism is 3 years old or younger, the sooner your child receives treatment, the better.

    Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act , all states and Washington, D. C., are required to provide an adequate education to school-age children with developmental issues. Contact your local school district to find out what resources are available for preschool-age children in your area.

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    What Does It Mean To Be Neurodiverse

    We have heard the term neurodiverse being used in association with the diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder as well as other neurodevelopmental diagnoses, but what do they truly mean and more importantly, what do they mean to those with these diagnostic labels as well as the people in their life who care for them?

    The term neurodiverse was first coined in the 1990s by Judy Singer, a Sociologist diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

    Her proposed theory was that people with Autism Spectrum Disorder were not, in fact, ‘disabled’ but instead saw and interacted differently with the world.

    Neurodiverse has been used to advocate for people who have ASD who do not wish to be seen as disabled, but rather ‘differently-abled,’ who can lead happy, fulfilling lives just like neurotypical folks may, but with adjustments as needed on an individual basis.

    Clinical Development And Diagnoses

    Leo Kannerearly infantile autism

    The word autism first took its modern sense in 1938 when Hans Asperger of the Vienna University Hospital adopted Bleuler’s terminology autistic psychopaths in a lecture in German about child psychology. Asperger was investigating an ASD now known as Asperger syndrome, though for various reasons it was not widely recognized as a separate diagnosis until 1981.Leo Kanner of the Johns Hopkins Hospital first used autism in its modern sense in English when he introduced the label early infantile autism in a 1943 report of 11 children with striking behavioral similarities. Almost all the characteristics described in Kanner’s first paper on the subject, notably “autistic aloneness” and “insistence on sameness”, are still regarded as typical of the autistic spectrum of disorders. It is not known whether Kanner derived the term independently of Asperger.

    Kanner’s reuse of autism led to decades of confused terminology like infantile schizophrenia, and child psychiatry’s focus on maternal deprivation led to misconceptions of autism as an infant’s response to “refrigerator mothers“. Starting in the late 1960s autism was established as a separate syndrome.

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    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

    What Is The Difference Between Autism And Adhd

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    Autism and ADHD are sometimes confused with one another.

    Children with an ADHD diagnosis consistently have issues with fidgeting, concentrating, and maintaining eye contact with others. These symptoms are also seen in some autistic people.

    Despite some similarities, ADHD isnt considered a spectrum disorder. One major difference between the two is that people with ADHD dont tend to lack socio-communicative skills.

    If you think your child may be hyperactive, talk with their doctor about possible ADHD testing. Getting a clear diagnosis is essential to ensure that your child is receiving the right treatment.

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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.

    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, you’ll have little trouble accessing services and funding for adults with autism.

    If you live in other states, you’re out of luck. According to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services , thes states offer the least generous programs and services:

    • Idaho
    • Colorado
    • Vermont

    Of course, the definition of “services and funding” varies depending upon need. For example, Medicaid doesn’t 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.

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    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.

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    (PDF) What Does it Mean to be Autistic? Inter

    Autism spectrum disorder is;a developmental disorder. It affects how children interact and communicate with others. The disorder;is called a spectrum disorder because;children can be anywhere on the autism spectrum.

    Children with ASD start to show symptoms at an early age. The symptoms continue during childhood and adulthood. Healthcare providers;dont know why some children develop ASD. It may be a combination of genes they are born with and something in their environment that triggers those genes.

    Children with ASD have trouble relating to other people. They have trouble making eye contact. They often withdraw into themselves. They may seem uninterested in relating to family members.

    But some children with ASD may love to keep talking with family members, friends, and even strangers about a topic they are obsessed with. The problem is that they may talk about it too long. Or they may talk only about that one subject. This can push other people away.

    If you are a parent or grandparent of a child with ASD, it can be heartbreaking if you feel like you just can’t connect with him or her. But learning more about these disorders and what has helped others can help you and your relationship.

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    You Find It Much Easier To Be Alone

    Autism in many forms is distinguished by feelings of social difficulty: not quite understanding, integrating, keeping up, or doing the “right thing” in social situations. Many autistics feel, obviously, that being on their own is a much easier option. Interestingly, some scientists believe that autistics could actually have originally been early “solitary foragers,”who survived in the wild on the strength of their attention to detail and ability to see patterns rather than their social ties. It’s still early days for that hypothesis, but it’s an intriguing idea.

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