Welcome Notes from the Author

This Blog is solely private property of Hanz & TheHoneybunch.All the contents are based on the life we lead and sharing from what I learnt & read. We love homeschool and are happily homeschooling our boys aged 7, 3 and a baby for the past 7 years.

We welcome you to share as we would never stop learning because we believe the world is our classroom. Thank you.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Autism | Definition, characteristics & Types

Definition : Autism is a pervasive developmental disorder which affects social and communication skills and, to a greater or lesser degree, motor and language skills. It is such a broad diagnosis that it can include people with high IQs and mental retardation and people with autism can be chatty or silent, affectionate or cold, methodical or disorganized.

While people with autism may be different from one another, they do have certain challenges and traits in common.

A person with autism usually has problems interacting with people in the following ways:
  • may avoid or lack eye-contact
  • may not imitate others
  • may not point or use other hand gestures
  • may prefer to be alone
  • may not understand social cues

A person with autism will usually have problems communicating such as:
  • may not speak at all
  • may be severely language delayed
  • may have unusual or odd speech pattern (repeat words and phrases heard by others)
  • may be unable to initiate or engage in conversation
  • may be unable to use their imagination during play

An individual with autism also may show restricted, repetitive, or ritualistic behaviors, interests an activities for example:
  • may be preoccupied with a narrow range of interest (ie. dinosaurs, bridge..)
  • may insist on sameness (ie. prefer certain clothing or eating only certain foods)
  • may line up objects like toys excessively
  • may flap their hands, or make odd hand and body gestures
  • may spin or like to spin objects excessively
  • may rock themselves
  • may be self-injurious ie. head banging
  • may anger easily or show aggression
  • may be resistance to change
  • may become angry or upset if their daily routine changes in any way
  • may focus on only a small part of a toy or object
Types of Autism :
High-functioning Autism
Children with classic autism are usually non-verbal, unengaged and show no affection, unable to perform well on standard diagnostic tests. But, there are people who can use meaningful language, write, do math, show affection, complete daily tasks but demonstrate some autistic behaviors like can't hold eye contact, pick up social cues and others.

It's a tricky term because it can be hard to distinguish a person with high-functioning autism from person with Asperger syndrome. The official distinction is that people with this type of autism had or have speech delays, while people with Asperger syndrome have normal speech development.

Asperger Syndrome
Asperger Syndrome describes individuals at the highest-functioning end of the autism spectrum. It is often diagnosed in teens and adults with calling names like 'geek'.They generally develop spoken language in the same way as typically developing children, but have issues with social communication that become more clearly seen as they get older. They are often intelligent and yet quirky in their behaviour.

Mild Autism
Generally speaking when people use the term mild autism they are referring to individuals whose symptoms fit an autism spectrum diagnosis but who has strong verbal skills and few behavioral issues. They may have significant problems with social communication or problems coping with too much sensory input like loud noises.

Severe Autism
It goes by many other names, though including profound autism, low-functioning austism or classic autism. People in this category are often non-verbal and intellectually disable and may have very challenging behaviors.

There are more types of autism actually by the name of pervasive developmental disorder, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder and Rett Syndrome but those listed above are the most common ones diagnosed.

Hanz's Notes : Those that highlighted in brown in terms of characteristics are those symptoms we detected in Hanafi when he was a toddler. Most characteristics he has outgrew except he still sometimes has difficulties in eye-contact, understand social cues, temperamental (anger easily) and at times with unpredictable behaviour. He is diagnosed having high-functioning autism.

NEXT : What should parents do if they see the signs of Autism in their child?

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