Domain A: Social Communication And Social Interaction
Differences or challenges relating to language and social communication and social interaction across multiple contexts, both currently or historically. These include difficulty or differences in:
- Social-emotional communication and personal exchanges.
- Non-verbal communicative behaviours used for social interaction.
- Developing, maintaining and understanding relationships.
People With Milder Forms Of Autism Struggle As Adults
by Deborah Rudacille;/;8 September 2011
Contrary to popular assumption, people diagnosed with so-called mild forms of autism dont fare any better in life than those with severe forms of the disorder. Thats the conclusion of a new study that suggests that even individuals with normal intelligence and language abilities struggle to fit into society because of their social and communication problems.
In fact, people diagnosed with pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified are no more likely to marry or have a job than those with more disabling forms of autism, according to a Norwegian study published online in June in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders1.
Early intervention has the potential to alter this trajectory, say experts. But until todays children with autism reach maturity, it will be hard to say how much behavioral intervention at a young age can alter the course of their lives.
The implication of our findings is that the consequences of having an autism spectrum disorder with profound difficulties in communication skills and social impairment cant be compensated for by either high intellectual level or normal language function, says lead investigator Anne Myhre, associate professor of mental health and addiction at the University of Oslo in Norway.
Related Signs And Symptoms Of Autism Spectrum Disorder
While not part of autisms official diagnostic criteria, children with autism spectrum disorders often suffer from one or more of the following problems:
Sensory problems Many children with autism spectrum disorders either underreact or overreact to sensory stimuli. At times they may ignore people speaking to them, even to the point of appearing deaf. However, at other times they may be disturbed by even the softest sounds. Sudden noises such as a ringing telephone can be upsetting, and they may respond by covering their ears and making repetitive noises to drown out the offending sound. Children on the autism spectrum also tend to be highly sensitive to touch and to texture. They may cringe at a pat on the back or the feel of certain fabric against their skin.
Emotional difficulties Children with autism spectrum disorders may have difficulty regulating their emotions or expressing them appropriately. For instance, your child may start to yell, cry, or laugh hysterically for no apparent reason. When stressed, they may exhibit disruptive or even aggressive behavior . The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities also notes that kids with ASD may be unfazed by real dangers like moving vehicles or heights, yet be terrified of harmless objects such as a stuffed animal.
Savant skills in autism spectrum disorder
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How Asperger Syndrome Is Diagnosed
The characteristics of Asperger syndrome vary from one person to another, although there are some key traits that autistic people share.;These are: ;
- persistent difficulties with or differences in social communication and social interaction;
- restricted and repetitive patterns of behaviours, activities or interests since early childhood, to the extent that these impact negatively on day to day life.
The diagnosis process usually involves a multi-disciplinary diagnostic team – often including a speech and language therapist, paediatrician, psychiatrist and/or psychologist.Because Asperger syndrome varies widely from person to person, making a diagnosis can be difficult. It is often diagnosed later in children than autism and sometimes symptoms may not be recognised and diagnosed until adulthood.
What Are The Levels Of Asd
ASD is divided into three levels:
- Level 1. People at this level may have symptoms that dont interfere too much with their work, school, or relationships. This is what most people are referring to when they use the terms high-functioning autism or Aspergers syndrome.
- Level 2. People at this level require some outside support on a daily basis. Examples of outside support include speech therapy and social skills training.
- Level 3. People at this level require substantial outside support on a daily basis. In some cases, support may include full-time aides or intensive therapy.
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Level : Requiring Substantial Support
The communication issues that a person with Level 2 ASD may face include:
- noticeable issues with verbal and nonverbal social communication skills
- social issues being apparent despite supports in place
- limited initiation of social interaction
- reduced response to social interactions from others
- interactions that are limited to narrow special interests
- more significant differences in nonverbal communication
The repetitive behavioral issues a person with Level 2 ASD may face include:
- inflexible behavior
- struggling to cope with change
- restricted or repetitive behaviors that are obvious to a casual observer and interfere with functioning in several contexts
- difficulty changing focus or action
How Is Autism Diagnosed
Fortunately, the way autism is diagnosed has changed and improved over the last 80 years.
We now recognise a wider range of signs and characteristics as forming part of the autism spectrum.
As awareness increases, parents and professionals are getting better at identifying early signs of autism and are more likely to seek an autism assessment.
This explains why people think autism is more prevalent today than it was ten or twenty years ago.
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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
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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What Are The Symptoms Of Autism Spectrum Disorder
Children with autism often show symptoms before they are two years old. Some children begin to lose language or social skills at the age of one or two. Autism looks different in each child. Not every child shows every symptom, and some have more severe symptoms.
Symptoms of ASD are grouped into two categories:
Social Communication and Social Interaction
- Doesnt like to cuddle or hug
- Likes to play alone
- Hasnt spoken a word by 18 months
- Cannot say two-word phrases by two years old
- Speaks differently than other children:
- Sounds like a robot when speaking
- Speaks in a very singsong way
- Repeats phrases or puts words in the wrong order
- Can recite information but not use it to solve problems or have a conversation
- Rarely or never makes eye contact
- Has trouble carrying on a conversation and letting the other person talk
- Repeats the same action over and over again
- Focuses on small details and nothing else
- Struggles with changes in their routine
- Puts toys in order instead of playing with them
- Gets extremely focused on specific topics or objects
Additionally, children with autism are often sensitive to sounds, lights, textures or smells. This is called asensory processing problem. For example, loud noises or bright lights can make them very uncomfortable. Or, they may need more sensations to feel comfortable, so they will try to bump into things or constantly touch or smell things.
What Are The Risk Factors For Autism
Risk factors for autism include:
- Low birth weight
- Being exposed to a medication called valproate during the mothers pregnancy
- Older parents
Boys are diagnosed with ASD more often than girls.
Studies have shown that there is no link between vaccines and autism. Learn more about vaccines and autism from theCDC.
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How Is Asd Treated
There arent any standardized treatment recommendations for different levels of ASD. Treatment depends on each persons unique symptoms.
People with different levels of ASD may all need the same kinds of treatment, but those with level 2 or level 3 ASD will likely need more intensive, long-term treatment than those with level 1 ASD.
Potential ASD treatments include:
What Are The Signs And Characteristics Of Autism
The developmental differences, signs and characteristics of autism can vary widely in nature and severity from person to person, and can also develop, change and improve over time.
Age, gender and cognitive ability can also have an impact on how the signs or characteristics of autism present themselves in different people, which is something that should also be considered.
While much of the diagnostic process is related to behavioural attributes, it can be difficult to diagnose autism until they are between 18-20 months. For some, the signs of autism may not become apparent until school years, or adult years when demands exceeds capacity.
Nevertheless, if you feel as though you, your child, or someone you love is on the autism spectrum, you may want to start the diagnostic process.
When I met people with autism, I realised how much I related to them, it made me realise that this is what it is like for everyone else all the time.
Dr Damian Milton, National Autistic Society, UK
As autism is a varied spectrum of characteristics it can be difficult to identify if a person is autistic. To help you better understand the signs and characteristics here is a summary of what to look out for, according to the latest diagnostic guidelines, the DSM-5.
Famous Actors With Autism
There are a number of celebrities with autism. Lets start with actors:
Is Sir Anthony Hopkins Autistic? According to Mercury News, he received a late-in-life diagnosis of Aspergers.
Diagnosed with Autism
- Dan Aykroyd Comedic Actor
- Rachel Barcellona Actress starring in a new short film called Mandys Voice, about a non-speaking autistic teenager.
Always great to see my friend, Rachel Barcellona! She is autistic but is now starring in , a short film about a girl who is non-verbal.
- Sir Anthony Hopkins Actor
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.
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Managing Autism Spectrum Disorder
Numerous therapies and behavioral interventions can help improve the specific challenges that autistic people face.
Healthcare professionals often recommend that ASD therapies begin as soon as possible after a child receives their diagnosis. Early intervention can reduce their difficulties, allowing them to adapt and learn new skills.
Management strategies for ASD may include:
- educational and developmental therapy
- behavioral therapy to help learn life skills and overcome other challenges
- speech, language, and occupational therapy to help with social, communication, and language skills
- medication to tackle accompanying mental health issues, such as irritability, aggression, repetitive behavior, hyperactivity, attention issues, anxiety, and depression
- psychotherapy to help a person increase or build upon their strengths
- supplements or changes in diet
It is important to note that ASD is a spectrum disorder, meaning people can experience a varying range of these differences. After an ASD diagnosis, many children go on to live productive, independent, and fulfilling lives.
Further Support For Cyclothymia
You may also find it helpful to join a support group so you can talk to others who share your experiences and problems.
You can ask your mental health service or GP if there’s a local group you can join.
It’s not known how many people with cyclothymia will go on to develop bipolar disorder.
But some people with cyclothymia see their elevated or depressed moods become more severe.
Other people will find their cyclothymia continues and they need to manage this as a lifelong condition.
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How Do People With Asperger Syndrome See The World
Some people with Asperger syndrome say the world feels overwhelming and this can cause them considerable anxiety. In particular, understanding and relating to other people, and taking part in everyday family, school, work and social life, can be harder. Other people appear to know, intuitively, how to communicate and interact with each other, yet can also struggle to build rapport with people with Asperger syndrome. People with Asperger syndrome may wonder why they are ‘different’ and feel their social differences mean people dont understand them.Autistic people often do not ‘look’ disabled. Some parents of autistic children say that other people simply think their child is naughty, while adults may find that they are misunderstood.;
How Is Autism Spectrum Disorder Diagnosed
There are no laboratory tests to determine ASD. However, certain healthcare providers receive specific training and can do screenings and evaluations if needed and who might ask parents or teachers to record observations. These providers might include specialized physicians, psychologists and speech-language pathologists.
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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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