Autism: How To Recognise The Symptoms
When you suspect that your child may have some behavioural issues, you need to know what symptoms to look out for.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is characterised by ‘persistent deficits in social communication and social interaction across multiple contexts, including deficits in social reciprocity, nonverbal communicative behaviours used for social interaction and skills in developing, maintaining and understanding relationships’.
More than half the children would have the diagnosis by the age of 6 years and over 90% diagnosed by the age of 12 years. Boys are affected more often than girls.
Definition (DSM-V Criteria)
- Persistent deficits in social communication and social interaction across multiple contexts
- Restricted, repetitive patterns of behaviour, interests or activities
- Symptoms must be present in the early developmental period but may not become fully manifest until social demands exceed limited capabilities or may be masked by learned strategies in later life
- Symptoms can cause clinically significant impairment
- Disturbances are not better explained by intellectual disability and Global Developmental Delay (GDD)
What are these repetitive patterns of behaviour?
- Stereotypes or repetitive motor movements, use of objects or speech
- Insistence on sameness, inflexible adherence to routines or ritualised patterns of either verbal or non-verbal behaviour
- Highly restricted, fixated interests that are abnormal in intensity or focus
- Hyperactivity to sensory input or unusual interest in sensory aspects on the environment
There are 3 levels of severity in ASD
Level 1: Requires support
- Without support in place, deficits in social communication cause noticeable impairments
- Difficulty initiating social interactions and clear examples of atypical or unsuccessful responses to social overtures of others
- May appear to have decreased interest in social interactions
- Inflexibility of behaviour causes interference with function
- Difficulty switching between activities
- Problems of organisation and planning hamper independence
Level 2: Requires substantial support
- Marked deficits in verbal and nonverbal social communication skills even with support
- Limited initiation of social interactions (reduced responses to social overtures from others)
- Inflexibility of behaviour, difficulty coping with change or other repetitive behaviours appear frequently enough t be obvious to the casual observer
- Difficulty changing focus or action
Level 3: Requires very substantial support
- Severe deficits in verbal and nonverbal social communication skills cause severe impairments in functioning resulting in limited initiation of social interactions
- Minimal response to social overtures from others
- The inflexibility of behaviour, extreme difficulty coping with change or other repetitive behaviours markedly interfere with functioning in all spheres
- Great distress when changing focus or action
Take your child to a child psychologist or therapist for assessment if you have any concerns.
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If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition, you should seek immediate medical attention from your doctor or other professional healthcare providers. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.