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Why Is Autism A Spectrum Condition

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Limitations In More Than One Area

What Is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Adaptive behavior, or adaptive functioning, refers to the skills needed to live independently . To assess adaptive behavior, professionals compare the functional abilities of a child to those of other children of similar age. To measure adaptive behavior, professionals use structured interviews, with which they systematically elicit information about persons’ functioning in the community from people who know them well. There are many adaptive behavior scales, and accurate assessment of the quality of someone’s adaptive behavior requires clinical judgment as well. Certain skills are important to adaptive behavior, such as:

  • , such as getting dressed, using the bathroom, and feeding oneself
  • skills, such as understanding what is said and being able to answer
  • with peers, members, spouses, adults, and others

Other specific skills can be critical to an individual’s inclusion in the community and to develop appropriate social behaviors, as for example being aware of the different social expectations linked to the principal lifespan stages . The results of a Swiss study suggest that the performance of adults with ID in recognizing different lifespan stages is related to specific cognitive abilities and to the type of material used to test this performance.

Social Behavior And Social Understanding

Basic social interaction can be difficult for children with autism spectrum disorders. Symptoms may include:

  • Unusual or inappropriate body language, gestures, and facial expressions .
  • Lack of interest in other people or in sharing interests or achievements .
  • Unlikely to approach others or to pursue social interaction comes across as aloof and detached prefers to be alone.
  • Difficulty understanding other peoples feelings, reactions, and nonverbal cues.
  • Resistance to being touched.
  • Difficulty or failure to make friends with children the same age.

Restricted Or Repetitive Patterns Of Behavior Or Activities

These can include:

Autistic people are evaluated within each category, and the intensity of their symptoms is noted.

To receive an autism diagnosis, a person must display all three symptoms in the first category and at least two symptoms in the second category. Get more information on symptoms and how they may manifest in kids.

The exact cause of ASD is unknown. The most current research demonstrates theres no single cause.

Some suspected risk factors for ASD include:

  • having an immediate family member whos autistic
  • genetic mutations

An ASD diagnosis involves several screenings, genetic tests, and evaluations.

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How Often Does Autism Occur In Germany

No figures are available on the frequency of autism in Germany. Globally a prevalence of 0.6 % 1% of the population is estimated. Autism affects four times as many boys as girls. Especially in the US, the hypothesis of a significant increase in the incidence of autism in the population has been voiced over the last decade but this hypothesis is still controversial. The increase might be caused not only by environmental and lifestyle conditions but also by new and broader diagnostic criteria as well as a higher awareness of parents and physicians. In recent years many studies, for example SEED are being carried out to investigate the influence of lifestyle and environmental factors in the development of autism.

Treatment Modes And Modalities


Treatment modes and modalities are technologies or other support systems that the SLP can use in conjunction with, or during implementation of, various treatments. For example, the SLP can use video-based instruction in peer-mediated interventions to address social skills and other target behaviors.

A number of treatment modes and modalities are described below. When selecting a mode or modality, the SLP considers the intervention goal and the individual’s developmental stage. For example, a mode or modality that is appropriate for an individual who is at the emerging language stage may not be appropriate for an individual who is at the prelinguistic stage. The list below is not exhaustive, and inclusion does not imply an endorsement from ASHA.

An AAC system is an integrated group of componentsâincluding symbols, selection techniques, and strategiesâused to enhance communication. AAC uses a variety of techniques and toolsâincluding picture communication systems, line drawings, photographs, video clips, speech-generating devices , tangible objects, manual signs, gestures, and finger spellingâto help the individual express thoughts, ideas, wants, needs, and feelings. AAC can be used to supplement existing expressive verbal communication or with individuals who are unsuccessful at learning expressive verbal communication.

Activity Schedule and Visual Supports

Computer-Based Instruction

Video-Based Instruction

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Why Is Autism Called Autism Spectrum Disorder

Why is Autism called Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Autism spectrum disorder is a condition concerning the brain development that is impacted by how a person perceives and socializes with others. There is a possibility with autism to cause problems or limitations in social interaction and communication.

Autism Spectrum Disorder is defined as a neurodevelopmental disability causing difficulty with social communication and interaction with other people, as well as, restricted interests and repetitive behaviors . For ASD, there is also a level of severity that should be specified that ranges from Level 1 to Level 3. The severity levels focus on the level of impairment and also the level of support needed to be successful in day-to-day activities. Often, there is an assumption that the route from Level 1 to 3 is linear and many people refer to people with ASD as high-functioning for Level 1 or low-functioning for Level 3, implying that there are two ends of a linear continuum, but ASD is far more complex than that. An example of this is the assumption that because someone is nonverbal, they are low-functioning. When in fact, there are many people who are nonverbal, but have average and above-average intelligence and are highly skilled and less affected in many areas of functioning.

Highly Focused Interests Or Hobbies

Many autistic people have intense and highly focused interests, often from a fairly young age. These can change over time or be lifelong. Autistic people can become experts in their special interests and often like to share their knowledge. A stereotypical example is trains but that is one of many. Greta Thunberg’s intense interest, for example, is protecting the environment.

Like all people, autistic people gain huge amounts of pleasure from pursuing their interests and see them as fundamental to their wellbeing and happiness.

Being highly focused helps many autistic people do well academically and in the workplace but they can also become so engrossed in particular topics or activities that they neglect other aspects of their lives.

Take a look at the Spectrum magazine, written for and by autistic people

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Who Can Make A Diagnosis

Diagnosing ASC requires considerable training and expertise as it may be difficult to distinguish from a mental illness. Primary Care clinicians such as GPs are generally not confident in identifying and diagnosing adults with ASC, and hence specialised diagnostic services are required. At Psychiatry-UK we have a number of both general adult and child and adolescent psychiatrists who specialise in this field.

How Common Is Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism Spectrum Disorder, Causes, Signs and Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

Based on most recent CDC report, ASD is estimated to affect about 1 in 54 children, with boys being more likely to have ASD than girls. There were more than 5 million adults in the US, or 2.21% of the population, with ASD as of 2017. Government statistics suggest that the prevalence of ASD has risen 10% to 17% in recent years.

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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.

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.

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What Research Is Being Conducted To Improve Communication In Children With Asd

The federal governments Autism CARES Act of 2014 brought attention to the need to expand research and improve coordination among all of the components of the National Institutes of Health that fund ASD research. These include the National Institute of Mental Health , along with the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders , the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development , the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences , the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke , the National Institute of Nursing Research , and the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health .

Together, five institutes within the NIH support the Autism Centers of Excellence , a program of research centers and networks at universities across the country. Here, scientists study a broad range of topics, from basic science investigations that explore the molecular and genetic components of ASD to translational research studies that test new types of behavioral therapies. Some of these studies involve children with ASD who have limited speech and language skills, and could lead to testing new treatments or therapies. You can visit the NIH Clinical Trials website and enter the search term autism for information about current trials, their locations, and who may participate.

Where Can I Get More Information

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Presentation

For more information on neurological disorders or research programs funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, contact the Institute’s Brain Resources and Information Network at:

Office of Communications and Public LiaisonNational Institute of Neurological Disorders and StrokeNational Institutes of HealthBethesda, MD 20892

NINDS health-related material is provided for information purposes only and does not necessarily represent endorsement by or an official position of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke or any other Federal agency. Advice on the treatment or care of an individual patient should be obtained through consultation with a physician who has examined that patient or is familiar with that patient’s medical history.

All NINDS-prepared information is in the public domain and may be freely copied. Credit to the NINDS or the NIH is appreciated.

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The Importance Of Early Diagnosis

  • If your child is not making eye contact with others,
  • If your child doesnt look when you say his/her name,
  • If your child pretends not to hear what is being said,
  • If your child doesnt point to what he/she wants with his finger,
  • If your child does not know how to play with toys,
  • If your child is not interested in the games their peers play,
  • If your child says certain words over and over again in unrelated situations,
  • If your child lags behind their peers in speaking,
  • If your child has strange movements such as shaking or struggling,
  • If he is overly mobile, always behaves in his own way,
  • If your childs eyes are stuck on something,
  • If your child is doing unusual movements such as turning or lining up some items,
  • If your child overreacts to changes in daily life,

It is necessary to evaluate in terms of autism. Approximately 50% of children who receive intensive education with early diagnosis and a correct education method can control the symptoms of autism, develop development, make great progress, and even some children with autism may not be different from their friends when they reach adolescence.

Autism is the most common neurological disorder encountered today and according to the data of the Centers for Disease Control Prevention, autism was seen in 1 out of every 150 children in 2006, and according to the latest information given in 2018, 1 out of 59 children ore observed with autism.

Plastic Visual ASD Weekly Planner

Is A Diagnosis Helpful

Unfortunately, there is no medication recommended for the core symptoms of ASC.

Some patients feel having a formal diagnosis is unhelpful as nothing can be done to help with their condition. This isnt completely true. A diagnosis can be very helpful to underpin an assessment of likely support needs, particularly as the extent of these needs may be partially hidden by normal I.Q. and language skills. Knowing that a person has a diagnosis of ASC can be important at work, in relationships, and in family settings. Many people, on receiving a diagnosis of ASC in late adolescence or adulthood, report that a diagnosis has helped them make sense of difficulties experienced in their lives to date, for example with forming social relationships, or managing jobs that require empathy.

A diagnostic label can also prevent people with ASC being misdiagnosed with a mental illness such as Schizophrenia or Personality Disorder, or becoming victim to the criminal justice system. For instance, a diagnosis might lead to a caution rather than a conviction. These sorts of scenarios can have severe impacts on peoples lives, including, for instance, inappropriate use of medication, or difficulties with employment.

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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.

How Does Autism Affect Kids

Autism Spectrum Disorder Defined (excerpt)

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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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

Is Rett Syndrome An Asd

Children with Rett syndrome often have behaviors similar to autism, and experts used to group it among spectrum disorders. But now that itâs known to be caused by a genetic mutation, itâs no longer considered an ASD.

National Institute of Mental Health: “Autism Spectrum Disorders.”

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: “Asperger Syndrome Fact Sheet.”

Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry: âSpecifying PDD-NOS: A Comparison of PDD-NOS, Asperger Syndrome, and Autism.â

Psychiatric Clinics of North America: âThe autistic spectrum: subgroups, boundaries, and treatment.â

Spectrum: âReclassification of Rett syndrome diagnosis stirs concerns.â âWhat is Rett Syndrome?â

Autism Speaks: âAsperger Syndrome,â âAbout Autism: Why Was My Child Diagnosed with Autism? And What Does It Mean?â

Centers for Disease Control: âFacts About ASD.â

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Signs In Girls Vs Boys

It is well documented that more boys than girls are diagnosed with ASD . Girls who do meet the diagnostic criteria for ASD during early childhood tend to have additional problems . This is not the case for boys .

One reason for the discrepancy in diagnosis may be that ASD traits “look different” in girls than in boys. A diagnostic bias toward characteristic ASD traits as they present in boys makes it easy to miss ASD traits as they present in girls . In addition, girls also tend to have fewer and less unusual repetitive stereotyped behaviors than boys .

The following are differences in the playground behaviors of girls and boys with ASD :

Girls with ASD

  • stay in closer proximity to their peers and are better able to capitalize on social opportunity,
  • spend more time in joint engagement,
  • spend more time talking as a primary activity, and
  • appear to use compensatory behaviors to gain access into peer groups .

Boys with ASD

  • tend to play alone rather than participating in organized games,
  • spend more time alone, and
  • spend more time wandering as a primary activity.

A second explanation for the discrepancy in diagnosis might be that girls without additional problems are better able to cope with similar levels of ASD traits. They may mask their social challenges by using various compensatory behaviors .

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