About Autism

About Autism

Characteristics of Autism

Autism is a developmental disability with onset before the age of 36 months. It involves deficits in social relatedness, communications and behaviors/interests. Individuals with Autism may possess characteristics in various combinations and in varying degrees of severity. Two individuals who both carry a diagnosis may look very different. Autism is now thought to occur in 1 inĀ 88 individuals, with males outnumbering females 4:1, however these statistics are regularly revised and the subject of much ongoing research. Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) is an “umbrella category” in the DSM-IV. The DSM-IV is the Diagnosis and Statistical Manual of Psychiatric and Mental Disorders. The following are diagnoses under Pervasive Developmental Disorders: Autism, Asperger’s Disorder, Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS), Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, and Rett’s Syndrome.

The following are characteristics of Autism according to the DSM-IV:
Social Symptoms:
  1. Poor regulation of social interaction through eye contact, facial expressions, gesture, posture, intonation.
  2. Failure to develop age-appropriate peer relations.
  3. Little showing, bringing or pointing out objects of interest.
  4. Limited social-emotional reciprocity
Communication Symptoms:
    1. Delay or absence of spoken language.
    2. Repetitive or idiosyncratic language.
  1. Echolalia
  2. Pronoun reversal
  3. Neologisms-new words, expressions, or usages; creation or use of new words
  4. Metaphorical language
    1. Poor conversational abilities
  1. Poor reciprocity and turn taking
  2. Excessive talking
  3. Difficulty taking listener’s perspective
  4. Concrete and literal
  5. Overly formal
  1. Impairments in pretend play
Repetitive Behavior Symptoms
    1. Encompassing preoccupations
  1. Unusual topics
  2. Focus on details
  3. Difficulty differentiating relevant from irrelevant information
  1. Insistence on sameness, ritualistic behavior
  2. Stereotyped body movements
  3. Preoccupation with parts or sesory qualities of objects
Associated Characteristics
    1. Mental retardation: approximately 75%
    2. Uneven skills (sevants)
    3. Abnormalities in eating, drinking, sleeping
    4. Mood disturbances
    5. Severe problem behaviors
  1. Aggression
  2. Self injury
For more information visit these sites:

www.autismspeaks.org
www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/
www.autism-society.org