Autism is a complex neurobehavioral disorder that includes impairments in social interaction and developmental language and communication skills combined with rigid, repetitive behaviors. The disorder covers a large spectrum of symptoms, skills, and levels of impairment.
Autism has a strong genetic basis, although the its genetics are complex. In rare cases, autism is strongly associated with agents that eventually lead to birth defects.The prevalence of autism is about 1–2 per 1,000 people worldwide, and it occurs four to five times more often in boys than girls.
When a child has been evaluated and diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, parents may feel inadequate to help their child develop to the fullest extent of his or her ability. As they begin to look at treatment options and at the types of aid available for a child with a disability it is found that there is help for you. It is going to be difficult to learn and remember everything you need to know about the resources that will be most helpful. Writing down everything helps. If parents keep a notebook, they will have a foolproof method of recalling information. Keep a record of the doctors’ reports and the evaluation the child has been given so that his or her eligibility for special programs will be documented. Learning everything they can about special programs for children; the more parents know, the more effectively they can advocate.
Symptoms and behavioral Indicators:
- Does not babble, point, or make meaningful gestures by 1 year of age
- Does not speak one word by 16 months
- Does not combine two words by 2 years
- Does not respond to name
- Loses language or social skills
Some Other Indicators:
- Poor eye contact.
- Doesn’t seem to know how to play with toys.
- Excessively lines up toys or other objects.
- Is attached to one particular toy or object.
- Doesn’t smile.
- At times seems to be hearing impaired.
By age 3, most children have passed predictable milestones on the path to learning language; one of the earliest is babbling. By the first birthday, a typical toddler says words, turns when he hears his name, points when he wants a toy, and when offered something distasteful, makes it clear that the answer is “no.”
Some children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders remain mute throughout their lives. Some infants who later show signs of ASD too and babble during the first few months of life, but they soon stop. Others may be delayed, developing language as late as age 5 to 9. Some children may learn to use communication systems such as pictures or sign language.
From the start, typically developing infants are social beings. Early in life, they gaze at people, turn toward voices, grasp a finger, and even smile.
In contrast, most children with ASD seem to have difficulty learning to engage in the give-and-take of everyday human interaction. Even in the first few months of life, many do not interact and they avoid eye contact. They seem indifferent to other people, and often seem to prefer being alone. They may resist attention or passively accept hugs and cuddling. Later, they seldom seek comfort or respond to parents’ displays of anger or affection in a typical way. Research has suggested that although children with ASD are attached to their parents, their expression of this attachment is unusual and difficult to “read.” To parents, it may seem as if their child is not attached at all. Parents who looked forward to the joys of cuddling, teaching, and playing with their child may feel crushed by this lack of the expected and typical attachment behavior.
Children with ASD also are slower in learning to interpret what others are thinking and feeling. Subtle social cues—whether a smile, a wink, or a grimace—may have little meaning.
Also known as Asperger’s Syndrome or just AS — is a mild form of autism, recognized as a mental health concern that sometimes requires treatment. Asperger’s is usually diagnosed in childhood or as a young teenager, and is characterized by social impairment, isolation, and what others might see as eccentric behavior.
Information on the prevalence of Asperger’s Disorder is limited, but it appears to be more common in males.
Asperger’s Disorder and Difficulty in Communication with others:
Unlike autistic individuals, those with AS don’t usually have significant speech problems, but their language and speech skills still differ from people without the disorder. As a whole, people with AS have an odd way of using language. Specifically, their communication differs in three major ways:
- People with AS don’t have quite the degree of rigid inflection and intonation as autistic individuals, but they still tend to speak in a monotone. Pitch typically lacks variation and is simply peculiar. They might talk too loudly or too formally. They tend to misunderstand the nuances of language, such as taking a sarcastic remark seriously or not grasping a joke or a metaphor.
- They may go off on tangents during a conversation and their speech can seem incoherent. Even though in some cases this symptom might mean a possible thought disorder, it’s more likely that the incoherent speech is a result of their one-sided, egocentric conversational style, inability to provide background information, clearly distinguish changes in topic and tendency to express their inner thoughts.
- Some experts view the long-winded and one-sided conversations as one of the most prominent differential features of the disorder. The child or adult may talk incessantly, usually about their favorite subject, often completely disregarding whether the listener is interested, engaged or trying to interject a comment, or change the subject. Despite such long-winded monologues, the individual may never come to a point or conclusion. Usually the other person can’t get a word in and is unable to change the conversation.