What is Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) as the name suggests is a group of disorders, characterized by difficulty in social communication and restricted and repetitive patterns of interest, behaviors and activities.
Autism Spectrum Disorder encompases disorders previously referred to as early infantile autism, Kanner’s autism, childhood autism, high-functioning autism, atypical autism, and pervasive developmental disorder.
About 70% of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder may have one comorbid mental disorder, and 40% may have two or more comorbid mental disorders. Anxiety disorder, ADHD, and depression are the most common comorbid mental disorders.
Symptoms of autism spectrum disorder is divided into two main categories:
1. social communication and social interaction
let’s first talk about social-emotional reciprocity. social-emotional reciprocity is the ability to engage with others and share their thoughts and feelings. In older children who does not have any intellectual impairement or language delays, have more apparent deficit in social-emotional reciprocacy. They struggle with problems like when and how to join a conversation, what to say and what not to say. This also affect their self-esteem.
People with autism may say that the social interactions are exhausting for them. A few examples of social communication and interaction are:
- Failure in initiating a conversation or having a normal back-and-forth conversation
- failure to response to an answer
- limited or no eye contact
- does not respond to name calling
- giving no emotional response
- does not understand body languages, gestures or social cues
- flat faces/expressionless
- Lack of showing, pointing, or bringing objects to share interest with others.
- failure to follow someone’s gaze or making and maintaining eye contact
- absent or reduced social interes
- inappropriate approaches that seem aggressive or disruptive.
- In younger children, there is often a lack of shared social play and imagination and later, when they play they like to play by very fixed rules.
- older children may find it difficult to consider which behavior is appropriate for each situation, for example casual behavior during a job interview.
3. Restricted and repetitive behaviors, interest, and activities.
People with ASD have very different interests and behaviors then people without ASD. For example:
- repeating words, questions, noises or phrases they have heard someone else make called echolalia.
- stereotypes or repetitive behaviors like hand flapping and finger flicking, and rocking the body. Other examples of repetitive motor movement are spinning coins, lining up toys
- specific interest or limited interest and activities
- excessive adherence to routine and restricted patterns of change for example people with autism spectrum disorder may need the same food and same routine and activities everyday. A slight change creates cognitive disturbance.
- They are hypersensitive or Hyposensitive to sensory input. They may show extreme response to specific sounds or textures and sometimes apparent indifference to pain, heat, or cold.
Symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder shared by other disorders:
- social communication: when someone has impairment in social communication and social interactions but does not show restricted and repetitive or interests, its Language disorders and social pragmatic communication disorder. Some people with ADHD also have problems with social communication like speaking loudly, and interpreting others.
- social withdrawal: people with autism spectrum disorder and anxiety disorder both show common symptoms of social withdrawal.
- repetitive behaviors: repetitive behaviors are core features of anxiety disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is diagnosed during childhood. The main symptoms of Autism is social communication and interaction and restricted and repetitive behaviors, activites, and interests.