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What Is The Meaning Of Autism

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Problems With Communication And Social Interaction

What is Autism? | Autism meaning and Autism test understanding

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

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:

Diagnosis In Young Children

Diagnosis in young children is often a two-stage process.

Stage 1: General Developmental Screening During Well-Child Checkups

Every child should receive well-child check-ups with a pediatrician or an early childhood health care provider. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all children be screened for developmental delays at their 9-, 18-, and 24- or 30-month well-child visits and specifically for autism at their 18- and 24-month well-child visits. Additional screening might be needed if a child is at high risk for ASD or developmental problems. Those at high risk include children who have a family member with ASD, have some ASD behaviors, have older parents, have certain genetic conditions, or who were born at a very low birth weight.

Parents experiences and concerns are very important in the screening process for young children. Sometimes the doctor will ask parents questions about the childs behaviors and combine those answers with information from ASD screening tools, and with his or her observations of the child. Read more about screening instruments on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

Children who show developmental problems during this screening process will be referred for a second stage of evaluation.

Stage 2: Additional Evaluation

This second evaluation is with a team of doctors and other health professionals who are experienced in diagnosing ASD.

This team may include:

The evaluation may assess:

  • Blood tests

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How Does Autism Affect Adults

Families who have autistic loved ones may worry about what life with ASD looks like for an adult.

Some autistic adults go on to live or work independently. Others may require continued aid or support throughout their lives. Each autistic person is different.

Introducing therapies and other remedies early in life can help lead to more independence and better quality of life.

Sometimes autistic people dont receive a diagnosis until much later in life. This is due, in part, to a previous lack of awareness among medical practitioners.

How Does Autism Affect Kids

The Ultimate Revelation Of

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.

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What Is The Autism Spectrum

You might have heard people referring to autism as a spectrum. This just means that there are a number of ways that autism can be experienced.

While people on the autism spectrum share a bunch of similar traits, there are an equal number of differences between them, so the experience of living with autism varies greatly from person to person.

Dr Stephen Shore an autistic professor of special education at Adelphi University, New York, put it best when he said:

If you have met one person with autism, you have met one person with autism.

The spectrum can range vastly from people who experience significant difficulties with cognitive function and have no or limited speech, to those who have developed a range of functional skills to support their everyday life.

Some of the key strengths identified in people on the autism spectrum are:

  • being detail oriented
  • maintaining a focus on a task and
  • seeing things from a different perspective.

My differences turned out also to include gifts that set me apart.

John Robison, New York Times Bestselling Author

If youre on the autism spectrum youll generally enjoy routine and predictability, and might also find yourself focussing on a specific area of interest, or following a particular passion. This can mean that people on the spectrum are highly successful in their chosen careers.

There are of course challenges that people on the autism spectrum face, these can include:

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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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.

Asperger Syndrome Generally Involves:

What Is Autism? | Autism
  • Hypersensitivities
  • Difficulty with the give and take of conversation
  • Difficulty with nonverbal conversation skills
  • Uncoordinated movements, or clumsiness
  • Anxiety and depression

The tendencies described above vary widely among people. Many learn to overcome their challenges by building on strengths.

Though the diagnosis of Asperger syndrome is no longer used, many previously diagnosed people still identify strongly and positively with being an Aspie.

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Are Siblings At Greater Risk For Autism Spectrum Disorder

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.

What Role Do Genes Play

Twin and family studies strongly suggest that some people have a genetic predisposition to autism. Identical twin studies show that if one twin is affected, then the other will be affected between 36 to 95 percent of the time. There are a number of studies in progress to determine the specific genetic factors associated with the development of ASD. In families with one child with ASD, the risk of having a second child with the disorder also increases. Many of the genes found to be associated with autism are involved in the function of the chemical connections between brain neurons . Researchers are looking for clues about which genes contribute to increased susceptibility. In some cases, parents and other relatives of a child with ASD show mild impairments in social communication skills or engage in repetitive behaviors. Evidence also suggests that emotional disorders such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia occur more frequently than average in the families of people with ASD.

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Diagnosis Of Autism :

Autism generally diagnosed by doctors or parents in early childhood. but as symptoms and severity depends on case to case so ASD sometimes can be very difficult to diagnose.

Doctors diagnose autism by looking at a persons behavior and development. It is important for those with concerns to seek out assessment as soon as possible so that a diagnosis can be made, and treatment can begin based on the assessment.

Children with developmental problem generally referred for a second stage of diagnosis by trained & certified professional in ASD through an extensive assessment process

There is no single way to diagnose ASD a child needs to go through a comprehensive behavioral evaluation

To diagnose autism is a complete physical ,neurologic & behavioral examination generally done by different specialists ,

  • pediatricians
  • occupational therapists
  • special educator

Assessment require different screening/diagnosis tools ,there is no standalone tool which can diagnose ASD . instead a combination of tools required for diagnosis.

What If My Friend Has Autism Spectrum Disorder

Severe Autism Symptoms and Challenges

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 Of Autism Spectrum Disorder

Signs of ASD range from mild to severely disabling, and every person is different. The following signs are considered to be red flags that indicate your young child may be at risk for autism. If your child shows any of the following signs, please get in touch with your childs healthcare provider to discuss a referral for an autism evaluation.

The signs include the following:

  • Your child doesnt respond to their name being called at all or responds inconsistently.
  • Your child doesnt smile widely or make warm, joyful expressions by the age of 6 months.
  • Your child doesnt engage in smiling, making sounds and making faces with you or other people by the age of 9 months.
  • Your child doesnt babble by 12 months.
  • No back-and-forth gestures such as showing, pointing, reaching or waving by 12 months.
  • No words by 16 months.
  • No meaningful, two-word phrases by 24 months.
  • Any loss of speech, babbling or social skills at any age.

A Note Re Terminology

In New Zealand, the term used in diagnosis is Autism Spectrum Disorder .

This is the term used in the NZ Autism Spectrum Disorder Guideline and in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders Fifth Edition criteria which is the guide clinicians use when making a diagnosis.

Some autistic people prefer to use the term autism as they dislike the negative meaning implied by the word Disorder in Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Altogether Autism uses the term autism except when talking about diagnosis, where the term Autism Spectrum Disorder is used.

Other commonly used terms are Autism Spectrum, Autism Spectrum Condition, Aspergers Syndrome, Aspie, High Functioning Autism, Pervasive Developmental Disorder not otherwise specified .

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What Is Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism Spectrum Disorder is a developmental disability. Children and adults with autism have difficulty with social communication/interaction and exhibit restrictive and/or repetitive patterns of behavior. There is a wide range of ability among people with autism. Some people with autism are gifted and others need significant levels of support to ensure their health and well-being. While great strides are being made, there is no known cause, or a known singular effective treatment for autism.People with autism have challenges in the areas of social communication/interaction and restricted/repetitive behaviors. A few examples:

How To Use Autism In A Sentence

Struggling through Autism #2 Definition of Autism

All “autism” example sentences below are ordered by length from shorter and easier to longer and more complex. To listen to the pronunciation of each sentence, click on button in front of it.

The text read Got autism

The Asperger syndrome is a form of autism

The Asperger syndrome is a form of autism

Bender also conducted extensive research on autism

Bender also conducted extensive research on autism

Children that live in homes with vinyl floors are more likely to have autism

Reelin may also play a role in Alzheimers disease temporal lobe epilepsy and autism

Reelin may also play a role in Alzheimers disease temporal lobe epilepsy and autism

He was diagnosed with pervasive developmental disorder a form of autism

He was diagnosed with pervasive developmental disorder a form of autism

Only about 15 per cent of people with autism are in the workforce, mainly because people are so judgemental about them.

We have to be a country that does research on stem cell research, on autism, on heart disease, on chronic diseases, on cancer

Educational autism in the California school system apparently has looser criteria than the DSM-IV’s series of autistic disorders.

I think we need to remember that there are maybe some controversies about autism, but there is no controversy about the things that are really driving the medical costs in this country


, and although it’s one of

we didn’t have to wait for the behaviors of autism

the thing about the autism

have the same diagnosis of autism

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Social Communication And Social Interaction Challenges

Social communication

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

Social interaction

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.

Read more about social communication and social interaction challenges here

Functional Impact Of Autism On A Person

For some people autism can impact all areas of life significantly, while for others it can impact certain aspects of life to a lesser degree. Because of this, autism is referred to as a spectrum and diagnosed based on both signs and characteristics, and the impact that these differences may have on a persons life over time

If the signs or characteristics shown by a person are causing significant challenges in social, personal, family, occupational or other important areas of a persons life then it is likely that the person will be diagnosed as having autism, or being on the autism spectrum.

If the signs and characteristics are not having a major impact on a persons life or relationships, and they are able to function in all social and interpersonal settings, its unlikely that autism will be diagnosed.

The specific behaviours that capture the criteria listed above and the degree to which they affect daily life differ between individuals and can be influenced by factors such as age, learning and available supports. Due to this variability, the DSM5 provides severity levels 1 to 3 for each of the two domains to reflect the degree to which the behaviours they capture interfere in the individuals daily life requiring support.

NOTE: It is important to remember that these severity levels are a snapshot of functioning at the time of diagnosis and may change over time as skills develop and/or demands change.

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