Autism - Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASDs).
The exact cause of autistic spectrum disorders (ASD) is still not known, current research tends to highlight genetic factors have a part to play. Whatever the cause, ASD is a condition which is pervasive and lifelong, the one thing that can differ greatly is severity from person to person, there are also marked differences in learning difficulties.
Every person on the autistic spectrum is an individual, as such they will present unique personality/characteristics, with this in mind any two people given the same diagnosis, i.e. Asperger Syndrome, will no doubt act differently, have varying skills from each other.These combinations combined with varying symptoms can be found in any degree of severity, this gives them the uniqueness they have, but also makes it more difficult for the neuro-typical person to understand.
The way in which autism presents itself can differ greatly, from those people with low-functioning autism (LFA) to those people with high-functioning autism (HFA) and Asperger Syndrome. Most autistic people process and respond to information in varying and unique ways, sometimes aggressive/ self-injurious tendencies/behaviours can be present, also the following list of traits may be exhibited.
- Difficulty mixing with others.
- Resistance to change.
- Although hearing test may show normal range, may act as deaf - non responsive.
- Noted physical over-activity/ under-activity.
- Inappropriate attachments to objects and speech.
- No fear of danger.
- Uneven gross/fine motor skills.
- Odd play - sustained.
- Repetition of words/ phrases.
- Taking speech literally.
"Low-and High-functioning" in terms of both classification and therapy, are often divided into the following: those with an IQ<80 referred to as having 'Low-functioning autism (LFA) and those as having High-functioning autism IQ>80(HFA). The terms low and high functioning are more generally applied to how well the individual may accomplish the activities of every day living, rather than to IQ, the very terms high and low functioning can be controversial not all autistics will accept these labels.This discrepancy can lead to confusion amongst service providers who may equate the term IQ with functioning sotherefore may refuse to serve high-IQ autistic people who may still be compromised in their ability to perform daily living tasks, or even failing to recognize the intellectual potential of many autistics who are considered LFA. Even some professionals refuse to recognize autistics who can speak or write as being autistic at all, because they are still of the opinion autism is only a communication disorder. For the majority of people the various senses used everyday i.e., smell, taste, hearing and touch will help the person concerned understand what it is they are experiencing, for people with autism sensory integration problems are common sometimes a touch may be experienced as painful, the smell of fresh rose petals considered by most people to be a beautiful smell may make the autistic person gag. Some autistic people are particularly sensitive to sound finding that even the most daily sounds painful the person concerned may be able to hear the contacts of an electrical light switch, they may hear the motors of an electrical fan or even the starter motors in a florescent light unit. All these noises are mostly inaudiable to the neuro-typical person, yet to the autistic can be totally unbearable, almost bringing the person to the point of sensory overload :- some professionals feel that some of the typical autism behaviours are brought about as a direct result of sensory integration difficulties. For further sensory issues see site map on left hand side of the page.
Read more about the early History of autism and the men who studied different forms of the same spectrum in the 1940's Leo Kanner and Hans Asperger