Recognizing the Disorder: Autism is usually diagnosed within the first three years of life and is four times more common in boys than in girls. However, certain types of autism may not be diagnosed until a child enters primary school, where the main presenting problems may be difficulty with social interaction and anxiety.
To be given a diagnosis of autism, a person must present with a 'triad' of clinical characteristics in the following areas:
In addition to the triad of behaviours that characterize autim, other reasons for behaviours commonly associated with the disorder are: cognitive learning style, sensory, medical, special interests, likes and dislikes. It is important to remember that the range of intellectual ability and skills in people with ASD is considerable. No two people with autism will be the same, adding to the complexity of diagnosis.
What can I do if I suspect my child has autism? The diagnosis of autism requires careful assessment by an expert team of qualifies professionals. The team is commonly made up of a developmental paediatrician, a psychologist, a speech-language therapist, and an occupational therapist. A comprehensive assessment will lead to a definitive diagnosis and recommendation of suitable therapires for your child. The diagnostic process is usually concerned with determining the:
Autism spectrum disorder
Being diagnosed means:
Some signs of autism:
Autism Spectrum Disorder Diagnostic Criteria 299.00 (F84.0)
A. Persistent deficits in social communication and social interaction across multiple contexts, as manifested by the following, currently or by history (examples are illustrative, not exhaustive; see text):
B. Restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities, as manifested by at least two of the following, currently or by history (examples are illustrative, not exhaustive; see text):
C. Symptoms must be present in the early developmental period (but may not become fully manifest until social demands exceed limited capacities, or may be masked by learned strategies in later life).
D. Symptoms cause clinically significant impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of current functioning.
E. These disturbances are not better explained by intellectual disability (intellectual developmental disorder) or global developmental delay. Intellectual disability and autism spectrum disorder frequently co-occur; to make comorbid diagnoses of autism spectrum disorder and intellectual disability, social communication should be below that expected for general developmental level. Note: Individuals with a well-established DSM-IV diagnosis of autistic disorder, Asperger's disorder, or pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified should be given the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder. Individuals who have marked deficits in social communication, but whose symptoms do not otherwise meet criteria for autism spectrum disorder, should be evaluated for social (pragmatic) communication disorder.
Severity levels for autism spectrum disorder
Reasons that rates of autism have increased:
That's my kind of epidemic!
The so-called epidemic of autism. In the 1960s, autism was considered a rare disorder that occurred in only about 3 in every 10,000 children In February, 2007, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced the results of two surveys of autism spectrum disorders covering 22 states. Using the newly-funded Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network (ADDM), CDC researchers found an average rate of 1 in 150 children with an autism spectrum disorder, with New Jersey at the top, with a rate of approximately 1 in 100. To some, these figures suggest an epidemic - but just because it feels like there is "so much more autism," does not mean that there is an actual increase in the number of autistic persons. While some claim that there must be "something" - like a vaccine, or something in the environment - that has caused this so-called "epidemic," some other reasons for the increase in the prevalence rate are: (1) greater understanding of autism; (2) earlier diagnosis of children; (3) changes in the criteria used to diagnose autism; (4) more accurate methods to count cases of autism; and (5) changes in society and culture about disability and difference, and acknowledging and accepting these.
Pay attention to the children milestone checklist and talk with your pediatrician. Early detection is key. Trust your instincts. Get further evaluation if needed. Never give up hope! Listen to your gut! Be persistent! Get in synch with your spouse. Be patient. Seel help within the autism community and join a support group. Know your child's legal rights! Defy expectations! Recognize and appreciate all of your child's amazing qualities and special skills and celebrate them! Don't focus on the negative!
ADOS Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule. Get an accurate picture of current ASD symptoms based on real-time observation.
There's no way your psychology professional is possibly right about you being autistic. I would know after all. (Has never met an aspie.)
Yeah, sure ... I love science
The AQ Test
The AQ Test
|Statement||Definitely Agree||Slightly Agree||Slightly Disagree||Definitely Disagree|
|1 I prefer to do things with others rather than on my own.|
|2 I prefer to do things the same way over and over again.|
|3 If I try to imagine something, I find it very easy to create a picture in my mind.|
|4 I frequently get so strongly absorbed in one thing that I lose sight of other things.|
|5 I often notice small sounds when others do not.|
|6 I usually notice car number plates or similar strings of information.|
|7 Other people frequently tell me that what I've said is impolite, even though I think it is polite.|
|8 When I'm reading a story, I can easily imagine what the characters might look like.|
|9 I am fascinated by dates.|
|10 In a social group, I can easily keep track of several different people's conversations.|
|11 I find social situations easy.|
|12 I tend to notice details that others do not.|
|13 I would rather go to a library than to a party.|
|14 I find making up stories easy.|
|15 I find myself drawn more strongly to people than to things.|
|16 I tend to have very strong interests, which I get upset about if I can't pursue.|
|17 I enjoy social chitchat.|
|18 When I talk, it isn't always easy for others to get a word in edgewise.|
|19 I am fascinated by numbers.|
|20 When I'm reading a story, I find it difficult to work out the characters' intentions.|
|21 I don't particularly enjoy reading fiction.|
|22 I find it hard to make new friends.|
|23 I notice patterns in things all the time.|
|24 I would rather go to the theater than to a museum.|
|25 It does not upset me if my daily routine is disturbed.|
|26 I frequently find that I don't know how to keep a conversation going.|
|27 I find it easy to 'read between the lines' when someone is talking to me.|
|28 I usually concentrate more on the whole picture, rather than on the small details.|
|29 I am not very good at remembering phone numbers.|
|30 I don't usually notice small changes in a situation or a person's appearance.|
|31 I know how to tell if someone listening to me is getting bored.|
|32 I find it easy to do more than one thing at once.|
|33 When I talk on the phone, I'm not sure when it's my turn to speak.|
|34 I enjoy doing things spontaneously.|
|35 I enjoy doing things alone.|
|36 I find it easy to work out what someone is thinking or feeling just by looking at their face.|
|37 If there is an interruption, I can switch back to what I was doing very quickly.|
|38 I am good at social chitchat.|
|39 People often tell me that I keep going on and on about the same thing.|
|40 When I was young, I used to enjoy playing games involving pretending with other children.|
|41 I like to collect information about categories of things (e.g., types of cars, birds, trains, plants).|
|42 I find it difficult to imagine what it would be like to be someone else.|
|43 I like to carefully plan any activities I participate in.|
|44 I enjoy social occasions.|
|45 I find it difficult to work out people's intentions.|
|46 New situations make me anxious.|
|47 I enjoy meeting new people.|
|48 I am a good diplomat.|
|49 I am not very good at remembering people's date of birth.|
|50 I find it very easy to play games with children that involve pretending.|
How to score: "Definitely Agree" or "Slightly Agree" responses to questions 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 12, 13, 16, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 26, 33, 35, 39, 41, 42, 43, 45, 46 score 1 point. "Definitely Disagree" or "Slightly Disagree" responses to questions 1, 3, 8, 10, 11, 14, 15,17, 24, 25, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 34, 36, 37, 38, 40, 44, 47, 48, 49, 50 score 1 point.