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What Is Autism To You

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Problems With Communication And Social Interaction

What Is Autism To You?

These can include:

  • issues with communication, including difficulties sharing emotions, sharing interests, or maintaining a back-and-forth conversation
  • issues with nonspeaking communication, such as trouble maintaining eye contact or reading body language
  • difficulties developing and maintaining relationships

The Facts About Autism And Common Misconceptions

Are you finding that well-meaning family and friends, media commentators even some health professionals are making you more concerned and confused about your own or your childs autism or suspected autism?

Misinformation and mixed messages can lead to feelings of guilt and isolation and can work against a proactive diagnosis and support program. Although the global understanding of autism is constantly evolving, here are some of the commonly understood facts, to help you put some of these misconceptions about autism to bed.

Aspergers Vs Autism: What Are The Differences

Aspergers and autism are no longer considered separate diagnoses. People who may have previously received an Aspergers diagnosis instead now receive an autism diagnosis.

But many people who were diagnosed with Aspergers before the diagnostic criteria changed in 2013 are still perceived as having Aspergers.

And many people also consider Aspergers as part of their identity. This is especially considering the stigma that still surrounds autism diagnoses in many communities around the world.

Yet the only real difference between the two diagnoses is that people with Aspergers may be considered as having an easier time passing as neurotypical with only mild signs and symptoms that may resemble those of autism.

Read Also: What Does The Puzzle Mean For Autism

Repetitive And Restrictive Behaviour

With its unwritten rules, the world can seem a very unpredictable and confusing place to autistic people. This is why they often;prefer to have;routines;so that they know what is going to happen. They may want to travel the same way to and from school or work, wear the same clothes or eat exactly the same food for breakfast.;

Autistic people may also repeat movements;such as hand flapping, rocking or the repetitive use of an object such as twirling a pen or opening and closing a door. Autistic people often engage in these behaviours to help calm themselves when they are stressed or anxious, but many autistic people do it because they find it enjoyable.;

Change to routine can also be very distressing for autistic people and make them very anxious. It could be having to adjust to big events like Christmas or changing schools, facing uncertainty at work, or something simpler like;a bus detour;that can trigger their anxiety.;

Read more about repetitive behaviours and dealing with change here

Varied Availability Of Services

Severe Autism Symptoms and Challenges

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.

Read Also: What Is The Life Expectancy Of People With Autism

How Do Autistic Adults Behave

Some adults with autism struggle to communicate clearly. They struggle to understand the perspective of someone else. They follow routines like how to dress or what time to eat.

If these routines change, it can be hard for them. They might also have trouble reading other peoples facial expressions and body language.

Some adults with autism dont want things touching their face or other parts of their bodies. The autism spectrum disorder ranges from mild autism all the way up through high-functioning autism.

HFA is where individuals may show few signs at all and can function relatively normally.

What Is The Difference Between Autism And Adhd

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.

Read Also: What Kind Of Autism Does Symmetra Have

What Causes Autism Spectrum Disorder

There is no clear-cut cause of ASD. Some causes that are supported by research include genetic and some environmental factors. Specific genetic causes can only be identified in 10% to 20% of cases. These cases include specific genetic syndromes associated with ASD and rare changes in the genetic code.

Risk factors include older parental age, low birth weight, prematurity and maternal use of valproic acid or thalidomide during pregnancy, among others. This field of study is an active one for reasearch.

What If My Friend Has Autism Spectrum Disorder

What is Autism to You?

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.

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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.

Is There A Test For Asd In Adults

Clinicians have developed different tests that can help diagnose ASD in adults. These include diagnostic tests such as ADOS 2 Module 4, ADI-R, and 3Di Adult.

However, it is not clear how reliable these tests are for adults. The reasons for this include:

  • Researchers who look at the reliability of ASD tests often use a small number of study participants.
  • Not many research studies on testing for adult ASD include enough participants from historically underserved groups, such as People of Color or people who are LGBTQIA+. This means the results of studies looking at ASD testing methods may not represent a true population of autistic adults.
  • Many clinicians may not be familiar with the signs of ASD in adulthood. This is especially true if the patient√Ęs symptoms are not severe or if the patient also has other conditions, for example, anxiety.

Autistic people may have of co-occurring conditions, such as anxiety or depression, than those in the general population.

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Autism In Pop Culture

Movies and books featuring characters with autism have helped bring autism spectrum disorder into the public consciousness. Some have ignited controversy; others have increased the publics general understanding of autism. A few have done both. At ARI, we hope that people will rely on evidence-based research to understand autism spectrum disorder better.;;

Learn more about autism spectrum disorder by watching one of our expert-led webinars. They help you learn about ASD from clinicians, researchers, and therapists who research autism and support individuals with ASD.;

Are Siblings At Greater Risk For Autism Spectrum Disorder

Can I Tell You About Autism?

The truth is that genetics do play a role in autism. When one child is diagnosed with ASD, the next child to come along has about a 20% greater risk of developing autism than normal. When the first two children in a family have both been diagnosed with ASD, the third child has about a 32% greater risk of developing ASD.

Recommended Reading: Is Freddie Highmore Really Autistic

How Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder Play

Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder tend to be less spontaneous than other kids. Unlike a typical curious little kid pointing to things that catch their eye, children with ASD often appear disinterested or unaware of whats going on around them. They also show differences in the way they play. They may have trouble with functional play, or using toys that have a basic intended use, such as toy tools or cooking set. They usually dont play make-believe, engage in group games, imitate others, collaborate, or use their toys in creative ways.

What Are The Different Types Of Autism

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition is published by the American Psychiatric Association . Clinicians use it to diagnose a variety of psychiatric disorders.

The most recent fifth edition of the DSM was released in 2013. The DSM-5 currently recognizes five different ASD subtypes, or specifiers. They are:

  • with or without accompanying intellectual impairment
  • with or without accompanying language impairment
  • associated with a known medical or genetic condition or environmental factor
  • associated with another neurodevelopmental, mental, or behavioral disorder

Someone can receive a diagnosis of one or more specifiers.

Before the DSM-5, autistic people may have received a diagnosis of:

Its important to note that a person who received one of these earlier diagnoses hasnt lost their diagnosis and wont need to be reevaluated.

Symptoms of ASD typically become clearly evident during early childhood, between 12 and 24 months of age. However, symptoms may also appear earlier or later.

Early symptoms may include a marked delay in language or social development.

The DSM-5 divides symptoms of ASD into two categories: problems with communication and social interaction, and restricted or repetitive patterns of behavior or activities.

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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.

Diagnosis Of Autism In Adults

What is Autism? Do you know the signs?

It is not unusual for autistic people to have reached adulthood without a diagnosis.;

Sometimes people will read some information or see something about autism that makes them think That sounds like me. They may then choose to talk to a health professional for a diagnosis, or they may not.;

You may choose to seek an autism diagnosis if:

  • you have been diagnosed with a mental health condition or intellectual disability during childhood or adolescence, but think that you may have autism
  • you have struggled with feeling socially isolated and different
  • your child or other family member has been diagnosed with autism and some of the characteristics of autism sound familiar to you.

If you wish to seek an assessment for autism, you can:

  • talk to a psychologist with experience in the assessment and diagnosis of autism
  • talk to your GP
  • seek a referral to a psychologist or psychiatrist with experience in the assessment and diagnosis of autism in adults from your GP.

A psychologist or psychiatrist with experience in the assessment and diagnosis of autism will ask you about your childhood, and experiences at school and as an adult. They may also do some psychological or psychiatric testing.

A speech pathologist may also be consulted to assess your social communication skills.

All of this information will be used to help make a diagnosis.

Read Also: What Kind Of Autism Does Symmetra Have

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.

What Is The Outlook For People With Autism Spectrum Disorder

In many cases, the symptoms of ASD become less pronounced as a child gets older. Parents of children with ASD may need to be flexible and ready to adjust treatment as needed for their child.

People with ASD may go on to live typical lives, but there is often need for continued services and support as they age. The needs depend on the severity of the symptoms. For most, it’s a lifelong condition that may require ongoing supports.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Through research, there has been much that has been learned about autism spectrum disorder over the past 20 years. There is ongoing active research on the causes of ASD, early detection and diagnosis, prevention and treatments.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 12/29/2020.

References

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Communication Is Like Mixing Paint

Communication is really hard. Its hard for two reasons.

First.I say a sentence, and someone else hears the sentence but randomly inserts words into it. What I meant to say were the exact words I said, but they decided to hear some additional or different words. Ive already expended all of my energy into the first attempt. I dont have the energy for another attempt, so Im going to have to just go with whatever they heard.

Second, and more common, thoughts arent words, but words are the only tool I have with which to express them. A thought needs to change into something else in order for anyone else to understand it. I cant just lift the thought and give it to someone, I have to change it until it fits into a format someone else will understand. Having done that, I am no longer expressing what I wanted to. It reminds me of paint. If I want a specific shade of green, I have to take the blue and the yellow and mix them together. I have to keep adding bits of blue and bits of green until I have the shade I wantonly now Ive mixed so much paint that I dont know what to do with it all. I just wanted a bit of green. Now I have four different shades and a mess, and Ive wasted all that paint. Thats what turning thought into words is like. Its messy and wasteful and always results in an insane, unnecessary amount of words. Yeeshas_Island

What Is Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism Speaks on Twitter: "8 Things You Might Not Have ...

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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