Autism spectrum disorder
The characteristics of autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) can vary both from person to person and across different environments.
They can also be different for the same person at different times in their life. That is why autism is usually referred to as a spectrum disorder.
The traits of ASD can be divided into three main groups.
The first characteristics of ASD can sometimes be seen in a child who is under the age of two. However, in other children the condition may not be picked up until they are much older.
A person who has ASD may find it hard to relate to other people.
A person who has ASD may have difficulty using verbal and non-verbal skills, and some people may remain non-verbal throughout their lives.
People with ASD who do speak may use speech in an overcomplicated way, using odd phrases or odd choices of words.
They may also make up their own words or phrases, and use more words than are necessary to explain simple things.
Someone with ASD may also have difficulty:
Some people with ASD may develop echolalia, where they repeat words that have little meaning or repeat what has been said to them.
Children with ASD may:
In addition, children and adults may also develop obsessionsfor example, with specific objects, lists, timetables or routines.
Most people with ASD also have sensory difficulties. This means they may be oversensitive to specific things, such astouch, certain textures, light levels, or sound.
Sensory difficulties can also lead to problems with movement. A person with ASD may appear clumsy or have an unusual way of walking.
Asperger syndrome is another form of ASD. People with Asperger syndrome will generally not have a learning disability and are often of average or above average intelligence.
They will usually have fewer problems with language development, but may still experience difficulties with social communication.
Asperger syndrome is often diagnosed later in children, and sometimes their difficulties may not be recognised and diagnosed until adulthood. This can cause a delay in getting appropriate support for the individual and their family.
The characteristics of autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) can vary both from person to person and across different environments. They can also be different for the same person at different times in their life.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a condition that affects social interaction, communication, interests and behavior. There's no "cure" for ASD, but speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, educational support and other interventions.
The main features of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are problems with social communication and interaction. Signs of ASD include: frequent repetition of set words and phrases, speech that sounds very monotonous or flat, preferring to communicate using single words, despite being able to speak in sentences, etc.
The exact cause of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is currently unknown. It's a complex condition and may occur as a result of genetic predisposition (a natural tendency), environmental or unknown factors.
See your GP or health visitor if your child is showing symptoms of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), or you're worried about their development. Some people with ASD grow up without their condition being recognised, but it's never too late to get a diagnosis.
There's no 'cure' for autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, a range of specialist educational and behavioural programmes can help children with ASD.
Adults with ASD may also benefit from some of the treatments offered to children with ASD, such as psychological therapy and medication. Adults with ASD can live in all types of housing.
Daniel Weston, who has autism, experienced a transformation since taking up tandem cycling with his dad, Pat. "Daniels major impairment is social and communications skills, which affects his life drastically," says his mother.
Sarah Ridout lives in Exeter. At the age of 23, she was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, a condition on the autistic spectrum. "I'm passionate about raising awareness, particularly within the police force. I'm a member of the force's Disability Forum." she says.
Aly Gynn was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, a disorder on the autistic spectrum, at the age of 45, although he had suspected for some time that he had the condition.