Signs of Autism in Children and Adults
Never stop fighting until you arrive at your destined place – that is, the unique you.
Have an aim in life, continuously acquire knowledge, work hard,
and have perseverance to realize the great life.
– A. P. J. Abdul Kalam
Contrary to popular belief there is no proof that Autism is caused by any sort of vaccine (why should I vaccinate my children?). According to multiple research sources, the disorder is a result of no single cause. It is a mixture of genetic, nongenetic, and environmental influences (Autism Society).
What is Autism?
The Autism Spectrum is an extremely misunderstood condition that affects both children and adults. In many cases, if not severe, symptoms are misdiagnosed, resulting in high-functioning individuals that go most of their lives without proper treatment.
Autism Canada describes the disorder as follows:
ASD is a complex neurobiological condition that can affect the normal function of the gastrointestinal, immune, hepatic, endocrine and nervous systems. It impacts normal brain development leaving most individuals with communication problems, difficulty with typical social interactions and a tendency to repeat specific patterns of behaviour. There is also a markedly restricted repertoire of activity and interests.
Types of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
A 2013, fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, eliminated Asperger Syndrome as a formal diagnosis by dissolving it and other subtypes of autism into one diagnosis called the “Autism Spectrum Disorder”.
1. Autistic Disorder (Autism, childhood autism, early infantile autism, Kanner’s Syndrome, or infantile psychosis) – Defined by abnormal or impaired behaviour before the age of 3. Individuals with Autism Disorder usually exhibit significant language or speech delays, social and communication challenges, and unusual behaviours and interests (ex. repetitive behaviour). It is also common for these individuals or children to have an intellectual disability. These specific diagnostic features also come with a range of other “non-specific problems such as phobias, sleeping or eating disturbances, temper tantrums, and self-aggression” (Diseases and Related Health Problems, 2010).
2. Asperger Syndrome – Asperger syndrome is characterised by normal or above average intelligence in individuals that exhibit milder symptoms of Autistic Disorder. It primarily differs from Autistic Disorder in that there is no delay in language or cognitive development. Often associated with “clumsiness” with a strong tendency for these abnormalities to persist into adolescence and adult life (Diseases and Related Health Problems, 2010).
3. Childhood Disintegrative Disorder (CDD, dementia infantilis, disintegrative psychosis, or Heller’s Syndrome): An extremely rare form of Autism in which the child develops normally until the age of 2. After which, their development goes backwards including losing the ability to walk or talk (Research Autism). “Characterized by abnormalities in social interaction and communication. In some cases, the disorder can be shown to be due to associate encephalopathy […]” (Diseases and Related Health Problems, 2010).
4. Pervasive Developmental Disorder (Not Otherwise Specified, PDD-NOS, Atypical Autism): Diagnosis used to describe people who don’t fit all the criteria for a specific type of autism diagnosis. “People with PDD-NOS usually have fewer and milder symptoms than those with Autistic Disorder. The symptoms might cause only social and communication challenges” (ASWS.org).
Signs in Children
Signs of ASD can start to show as early as 6 months and often involve delayed social development. See our infographic below.
Signs for All Ages
I think I or my child may have Autism. What can I do?
Like any diagnosis, Autism Spectrum Disorder can be frightening and confusing. An important thing is to not wait for a diagnosis. If you notice your child has signs of ASD or related developmental delays, seeking help immediately is the best thing to do as early intervention is key in speeding up development and reducing autism symptoms.
A formal diagnosis can take a long time and could delay the effectiveness of treatment. Parents may be unsure of treatment due to conflicting advice, confusion with funding, and uncertainty of programs specific to their child. One of the most important things for parents to know is that although many have been told ASD is an incurable and their child will not outgrow it, this should not discourage them from getting treatment. People living with ASD’s lives can be greatly improved with a diversity of treatments that can help them learn new skills and overcome a variety of developmental challenges. With the right treatment plan, love, support, and openness, anyone with ASD can grow and thrive.
Terrace Autism Therapy offers a wide range of services for Autism Therapy including intensive options such as Intensive Behavioural Intervention (IBI).