Autism

What is Autism ?

Autism is a life long ,non-progressive, neurological disorder typically appears within the first three years of a child’s life.
Autism is a wide spectrum disorder .The term ‘spectrum’ is used because the range and severity of the difficulties people with an ASDs experience vary widely, and can range from mild to severe. This means that no two people with autism will have exactly the same symptoms. But all the children on the spectrum show marked difficulties with:

1. Impaired communication (verbal and non verbal)
2. Impaired Social interaction
3. Restricted and repetitive interests and behaviors
4. Sensory sensitivities.

Description

 

1. IMPAIRED COMMUNICATION

Communication involves both understanding language(receptive skills)and providing information (expressive skills).

Difficulties using and understanding verbal and non-verbal language are exceedingly common in children with autism.

Verbal language:
• Delayed language development (receptive skills)
• Delayed in or lack of speech (expressive skills)
• Exhibit echolalia (I .e; stereotypical and repetitive use of words ,phrases ,or sentences spoken by others )
• Little or no eye contact (doesn’t respond to the communication of others, seems deaf although hearing tests in normal range ,some children do selective hearing.)
• No turn taking (difficulty initiating and sustaining conversation)
• Gives inappropriate answers.
• Poor pragmatic skills :fail to understand words or phrase that are abstract. They tend to interpret things very literally ,e. g; they don’t understand jokes, sarcasm, or teasing)
• Pronoun confusion ( e.g; I v/s you)
• Monotonous speech (abnormality in pitch, stress ,rate, rhythm and intonation of speech)

Non –verbal language:
• Limited of use and understanding of gestures ,eye gaze, facial expressions .
• Don’t point or respond to pointing.
• Limited imaginative or make believe play.

2. IMPAIRED SOCIAL INTERACTION

• This may include:
• Difficulty mixing with peer group and /or adults.
• Prefers to be alone.
• Avoids eye contact
• Inability to adapt interpersonal skills to the various demands of different social situations.
• Prefer to play alone.
• Only interact to achieve a desired goal
• Is not comforted by others during distress.
• Trouble understanding other people’s feelings ,or talking about own feelings.
• No real fear of danger (e. g; running on to a busy road poses a threat to them.)
• Difficulty cope in new and unfamiliar situations.

3. RESTRICTED AND REPETITIVE INTERESTS AND BEHAVIOURS:

• Unusual repetitive behavior and/or tendency to engage in a restricted range of activities are another core symptoms of autism.
• Insistence to change; resistence to change (gets upset on minor change)
• Obsession with certain objects.
• Lining up objects
• Spins objects and/or self in circles.
• Stereotyped behavior such as hand flapping, rocking, jumping ,twirling, wiggling fingers in front of eye.
• Preoccupation with restricted interests.
• Preoccupation with parts of objects.
• Staring at light.
• Blinking.
• Tensing the muscle of the arms or face.
• Tapping surfaces.
• Licking or placing unusual objects in mouth.
• smelling or sniffing objects or people.
• Making repeated vocal sounds.
• rubbing surfaces.
• Are very organized

4. SENSORY SENSITIVITIES :

What is sensory processing?
We have seven senses: sight, vision, sound, taste ,touch, vestibulation, and proprioception.
Our central nervous system (brain) processes all the sensory information we receive and helps us to organise, prioritise and understand the information. We then respond through thoughts, feelings, motor responses (behaviour) or a combination of these.

Children with autism may have the following sensory issues:

• Insensitive to pain (have high pain threshold).
• Over sensitive to touch. Touch can be painful and uncomfortable .
• Dislike their teeth to be brushed, or hair to be cut/washed/combed or fingers and toes nail to be cut.
• Only likes certain types of clothing or textures.
• Don’t like tags on clothing.
• Hug others tightly.
• Chew on everything. Eat everything – soil, grass, Play-dough. This is known aspica.
• They are PICKY EATER. (have restricted diet)
• Have meltdown at parties or lunchroom.
• No real fear of danger.
• Smell things.
• Poor depth perception – problems with throwing and catching; clumsiness.
• Bright lights hurt their eyes.
• Don’t react to someone calling them because may have not processed it.
• Don’t like loud or unexpected noises.
• They do ‘selective listening’.
• Don’t like crowds.
• Bang doors or objects.
• Inability to cut out sounds – notably background noise, which often leads to difficulties concentrating.
• Walk on toes.
• Scared of slides (heights)at the playground.
• Have poor gross and fine motor skills.
• Have co-ordination difficulties.
• A need to rock, swing or spin to get some sensory input

 

OTHER SYMPTOMS:

• short attention span / impulsivity;
• self-injurious behaviors;
• an uneven profile of skill development;
• abnormalities in eating, drinking or sleeping;
• unusual fears or anxieties
• unusual sleeping habbits.
• Unusual mood or emotional reactions (laughing ,crying ,showing distress for no apparent reason.)
• Temper tantrum.
• Aggression.
• Hyperactivity/underactivity