Where To Get More Information
If you have questions about autism, Altogether Autism is here to help.
Personalised information:;We have a free personalised information service, where we provide information specific to your questions and needs. ;This is available for anyone in New Zealand. ;You may have questions about autism for;yourself, a family member, friend, colleague, client or student. Click here for more about our;personalised information service.
Altogether Autism Journal:;We regularly publish a journal. You can read previous editions and subscribe for free here: ;Altogether Autism Journal.
Other information articles:;;We have a a growing list of resources and articles to help you find the information you need.;Read helpful articles here
About Autism Spectrum Disorder
Not all autistic children exhibit the same signs of autism or experience these signs to the same degree.
Thats why autism is considered to be on a spectrum. Theres a wide range of behaviors and experiences that are considered to fall under the umbrella of an autism diagnosis.
Heres a brief overview of behaviors that may cause someone to be diagnosed with autism:
- differences in processing sensory experiences, like touch or sound, from those who are considered neurotypical
- differences in learning styles and problem-solving approaches, like quickly learning complex or difficult topics but having difficulty mastering physical tasks or conversational turn-taking
- deep, sustained special interests in specific topics
- repetitive movements or behaviors , like flapping hands or rocking back and forth
- strong desire to maintain routines or establishing order, like following the same schedule each day or organizing personal belongings a certain way
- difficulty processing and producing verbal or nonverbal communication, like having trouble expressing thoughts in words or displaying emotions outwardly
- difficulty processing or participating in neurotypical social interactive contexts, like by greeting someone back whos greeted them
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 .
Read Also: High Frequency Autism
Family Support For Autistic People
The family members of autistic individuals; are also likely to need some support. Having an autistic child can have a significant effect on parents, who may react to the diagnosis in a variety of ways, including relief, shock, grief, anger and guilt.;
Feelings of stress, confusion and anxiety are also common in parents who are caring for an autistic child. It can be valuable for parents to consider joining a support group or participating in counselling.
For more information visit the Better Health Channel page Autism spectrum disorder tips for parents.
What Is Autism Spectrum Disorder
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.
Read Also: Creating A Visual Schedule Autism
Is Autism Becoming Neurodiversity
That is a question many people are asking, as neurodiversity pops up in workplace initiatives, college programs, and government policy. Is it shouldering aside autism, or is it something else? Autism is a doctors term for a neurological disorder that impairs communication and behavior and is often associated with intellectual disability and other serious disorders. Neurodiversity is the idea that there is a wide range of neurological diversity within what might be called the normal human range, and that includes a significant percentage of what doctors diagnose as autism, ADHD, dyslexia, PDD-NOS, and other neurological conditions.
Autism and Neurodiversity are fast becoming two paradigms with which to see a persons neurology. Autism uses a medical lens to describe disability and the underlying biological foundations. Medical people are beginning to recognize that autism can also confer cognitive gifts in some, but their approach is primarily deficit based. It is, by definition, “what’s wrong,” not “what’s right.”
Neurodiversity is a word that has emerged from the autism community, largely as a response to the way mental health diagnoses like autism pathologize a wide swath of population. Neurodiversity with its premise that a range of neurological function that includes some examples of autism, ADHD, etc. is normal and healthy is very appealing to those who see themselves as both gifted and disabled.
Is Rett Syndrome Autism
Rett syndrome or Rett disorder has also been called autism-dementia-ataxia-loss of purposeful hand use syndrome.
But its not included on the autism spectrum. Its a brain disorder caused by genetic mutations.
Classic Rett syndrome usually affects girls who display typical development for the first few months. Then, symptoms start to appear, involving issues with:
- language and communication
If you think your child might have symptoms of autism, speak with their pediatrician or a primary care physician. They can refer you to the appropriate specialist, such as a:
- developmental pediatrician
- psychiatrist or psychologist
You can also request an evaluation from your states public early childhood assistance center. Its free, and you dont need a doctors referral or diagnosis. Your local public school district can also provide assistance.
Theres no one medical test to diagnose autism spectrum disorder. A doctor can make the diagnosis with a comprehensive behavior evaluation and developmental screening.
Some people on the spectrum need minimal support services. Others require a lot. Either way, early intervention is associated with long-term positive effects.
Read Also: Nick Eh 30 Social Blade
A Surprising New Historical Analysis Suggests That A Pioneering Doctor Was Examining People With Autism Before The Civil War
Billy was 59 years old that spring or summer of 1846, when a well-dressed man from Boston rode into his Massachusetts village on horseback, and began measuring and testing him in all sorts of ways. The visitor, as we imagine the scene, placed phrenologists calipers on his skull, ran a tape measure around his chest and asked many questions relating to Billys odder behaviors. It was those behaviors that had prompted this encounter. In the parlance of the mid-19th century, Billy was an idiot, a label that doctors and educators used not with malice but with reference to a concept that owned a place in the medical dictionaries and encompassed what most of us today call, with more deliberate sensitivity, intellectual disability.
But what diagnosis might have fit better? If Billy were alive today, we think his disability, and that of others documented then in Massachusetts, would likely be diagnosed as autism. True, the actual word autism did not exist in their time, so neither, of course, did the diagnosis. But that does not mean the world was empty of people whose behaviors would strike us, in 2016, as highly suggestive of autistic minds.
Like that man on the horse, whose devotion to hard data, fortunately for detectives of autism history, was far ahead of his time.
How Does Asd Affect Communication
The word autism has its origin in the Greek word autos, which means self. Children with ASD are often self-absorbed and seem to exist in a private world in which they have limited ability to successfully communicate and interact with others. Children with ASD may have difficulty developing language skills and understanding what others say to them. They also often have difficulty communicating nonverbally, such as through hand gestures, eye contact, and facial expressions.
The ability of children with ASD to communicate and use language depends on their intellectual and social development. Some children with ASD may not be able to communicate using speech or language, and some may have very limited speaking skills. Others may have rich vocabularies and be able to talk about specific subjects in great detail. Many have problems with the meaning and rhythm of words and sentences. They also may be unable to understand body language and the meanings of different vocal tones. Taken together, these difficulties affect the ability of children with ASD to interact with others, especially people their own age.
Below are some patterns of language use and behaviors that are often found in children with ASD.
Also Check: Is James Holzhauer Autistic
Do Vaccinations Cause Autism Spectrum Disorder
No. Vaccines your baby gets do not cause autism. You may have heard about vaccines that contain thimerosal, a chemical that has mercury in it. Research shows that thimerosal in vaccines does not cause autism. Thimerosal is no longer used in vaccines, except in some flu shots. But you can get a thimerosal-free flu vaccine for your child if you want. If you need more information, talk to your babys provider.
Autism Means Different Things For Different People
What is autism?
Autism spectrum disorder is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects a childs social skills, communication and behavior. More simply put, it means that a childs brain develops and works a little differently and can affect how a kid understands and relates to others.;
Why is it called autism spectrum disorder ?
True to its name, autism is a spectrum. Kids with autism are all unique. Some kids may have severe challenges while others do not. By thinking of the condition as a spectrum, we can better understand the range of functioning people with autism have.;
Doctors used to have separate terms for different kinds of autism presentations. For example, Aspergers syndrome used to be a diagnosis for some kids with autism. However, in 2013 all subcategories of autism were combined into one umbrella diagnosis called autism spectrum disorder.
What are the signs or symptoms of autism?
Every child with autism will develop a little differently. But most commonly caregivers notice a childs disinterest socializing and an inability to communicate or interact with others.;
Caregivers may notice signs of autism;before a child is 2, but the most obvious signs and symptoms begin to appear between age 2 and 3.;
Is autism more common now?
Theres good research to back the idea that more kids are getting diagnosed because of greater awareness and access to care. But autism as a disorder has been in medical literature for more than 70 years.;
Can autism be cured?
Read Also: Bubble Guppies Nonny Autistic
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.
History Of Autism Science
Autism Spectrum Disorder might seem to be a fairly new condition, yet written evidences of its existence can be found as far back as the 1700s. The word Autism was coined after the Latin word Autismus in 1910 by Swiss psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler; however he applied the word to describing schizophrenia. The Latin word was in turn was derived from a Greek word, autos, meaning self. Once the condition we now know as autism was discovered in 1938, it was labeled with Bleulers word because people who are autistic have been observed to be morbidly self-absorbed to the exclusion of everyone else around them.
In 1938, a psychiatrist from Vienna University Hospital, Hans Asperger, adopted the term autistic psychopaths to what he was researching then, which is now known as Asperger Syndrome. It was not until 1981 that Asperger Syndrome became a specific classification within the autism spectrum.
In 1943, a psychiatrist from John Hopkins University, Leo Kanner, used the term autism in the modern sense. He then made a new classification which he called the Early Infantile Syndrome or Kanner Syndrome. It came about during his observation of 11 children who displayed similar symptoms. He described them as acting with autistic sameness and insistence on sameness.
Up to this day, there is still no scientifically proven single cause of autism.
You May Like: What Is The Life Expectancy Of People With Autism
Autistic People May Act In A Different Way To Other People
Autistic people may:
- find it hard to communicate and interact with other people
- find it hard to understand how other people think or feel
- find things like bright lights or loud noises overwhelming, stressful or uncomfortable
- get anxious or upset about unfamiliar situations and social events
- take longer to understand information
- do or think the same things over and over
If you think you or your child may be autistic, get advice about the signs of autism.
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.
Don’t Miss: High Functioning Autism Prognosis
Autism Causes The Reality
Nobody has really nailed down the exact cause of autism. Although there are some highly confident studies on causation, most everything you hear is simply speculation and statistics at this point. Some of these studies are well done and have convinced us of some connections. Hopefully, there will be more answers as more studies and trials are implemented going forward.
There has been much speculation about vaccines causing autism. To date, there has been no scientific evidence to back this assumption. There can be possible catalysts to expedite the symptoms, but even that is speculation.
With that in mind, heres what science speculates, so far, as possible causes. This list is in no specific order.
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.
Recommended Reading: Gestational Diabetes And Autism
How Common Is Autism Spectrum Disorder
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.
Pharmacological And Dietary Interventions
The management of ASD is essentially non-pharmacological. However, certain drugs may be considered for the management of coexisting psychiatric or neurodevelopmental conditions and may occasionally have a short-term adjunctive role in alleviating core symptoms of ASD. Any pharmacological intervention should only be undertaken by doctors with appropriate training in the care of people with ASD.
Do not use the following interventions for the management of core features of autism in children and young people: antipsychotics, antidepressants, anticonvulsants, exclusion diets .
You May Like: How To Make A Visual Schedule For Autism
You May Like: Aspergers And Stuttering
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.