In this post, let me address a common question among parents – What is autism in simple terms? When I try to explain to them that their child may be suspected of having autistic disorder, they are often confused on what Autism Spectrum Disorder actually is.
What this page contains
- 1 What is Autism in Simple Terms?
- 2 Explaining Autism in Simple Terms
- 3 ASD Types By Severity
- 4 Visit Our Autism Test Center
- 5 National Autism Society (NAS) - Key Autism Traits Checklist in Adults
- 6 Autism – Borderline or High Functioning Types
- 7 Autism – Where is it Heading
What is Autism in Simple Terms?
What is it like to be Autistic?
In case you are wondering if your child may have autism, the following most common signs of autism could be a good signal. Typically children diagnosed with autism spectrum are:
- Likely to be oversensitive (even pained) by sight, sounds, and smell and touching which are normal for everyone else (refer to the post on sensory sensitive autism)
- Likely to exhibit repetitive body movements, like rocking to & fro and making unusual finger movements in front of his/her eyes
- Likely to display strong attachments to certain objects around them
- Likely to get confused by changes in daily routines, often resorting to aggressive behavior
- Likely to observe even small changes in the people or their surroundings
Challenges Parents Face while Understanding Autism
A Bit of a Background on Autism
Understanding the history of autism may help some parents. The word ‘autism‘ comes from the Greek word “autos” meaning “self” and has been used for more than 100 years. The term autism, therefore, describes a condition where a person is detached from social interaction, and hence, an isolated self.
The Role of Heredity in Autism
Whether Autism is Genetic or not has been a common concern among parents. Often would-be parents with a previous history of Autism in their family ask me the question: Am I Autistic? Is what a couple of wanna-be parents has to say:
Here is I am about to start a family and have already started the research journey preparing myself for parenthood. Along this journey, it has occurred to me whether I might have Autism? The thought never occurred to me before But since my sister has Rett’s syndrome, I am beginning to feel a bit edgy, what if ASD is genetic?
Now that I want to bring a happy healthy child into the world, but I do have a question that keeps popping up, What is the probability that I might have Asperger’s since I have challenges socializing? I have graduated college, have married, got a decent job and income but now in preparation for parenthood there is that little lingering question.
Autism – Borderline or High Functioning Types
Usually, a lesser form of the autism syndrome is called borderline Autism. A child diagnosed with borderline or mild autism displays many of the symptoms, though not at a similar frequency or severity. Borderline Autism symptoms include the inability to adapt or make transitions easily, mild lack of social as well as language skills, developmental and sensory issues. They may have a hard time showing empathy for another person or know how to regulate their own emotions. Just as any diagnosis on the autism spectrum; tests, screening, and observation will need to be conducted.
The Thing about Echolalia
Echolalia is another form of borderline autism. What is Echolalia Autism? It is another form of Autism which is very similar in nature to borderline autism but with one differentiating factor – Speech. Echolalia Autism is a rhythmic way of mimicking the cadence and tones of our language. Children with Echolalia Autism often mimic and repeat phrases to entire sentences. This is called “gestalt” which means whole. Learning a language the gestalt way would be like learning a language in chunks, just like a parrot. For example, such children know who mommy is by the repetition of the word mommy whenever she is involved in anything.Echolalia Autism is often observed when the toddler is about two and a half years old.
Many children with this form of autism can echo or mimic what is being said by associating a predefined sequence of words to repetitive actions. Some even lead to use the same voice inflections as the person that spoke the word or phrase. If a child stays with this echolalia type of speech it could indicate that the growth in communication skills of an autistic child may have stagnated at a particular level. Reassessment and a new therapy plan would be needed at this time to move the child along to future levels.
Autism – Where is it Heading
Children would be Diagnosed with Autism
The Number of Boys than Girls with Autism
The average spent by U.S. Govt on Autism Support & Research
The average annual increase in Autism numbers
To conclude, over time, the definition of autism has changed from being one disorder to a spectrum of tens (or maybe dozens) of disorders with overlapping symptoms. With intensive research and serious funds being propelled into Autism development, a lot has been achieved in the recent past and the future looks really bright for autism treatment.