Autism Spectrum Disorders

Autism Spectrum Disorders arise from a specific neurologically based information processing difficulty. People with Autism have a hard time in terms of their ability to manage dynamic information.

Recent Research has shown that the brains of children with autism are relatively inflexible at switching from rest to task performance, according to a new brain-imaging study from the Stanford University School of Medicine (Lucina Uddin, PhD, Vinod Menon, PhD, Rachel L. and Walter F. Nichols, MD, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford). In a study that was published online on the 29 July, 2014 in Cerebral Cortex, connectivity in key brain networks of autistic children looks similar to connectivity in the resting brain. And the greater this inflexibility, the more severe the child’s manifestations of repetitive and restrictive behaviors that characterize autism, the study found.

Following are some indicators for you to look out for if you suspect your child may be on the autism spectrum. The lists provided below are not exhaustive.

  • May become highly distressed at unexpected changes to routines.
  • Demands for sameness in the environment.
  • May have special and repetitive interests.
  • Can obsessively persist in mulling over past, present, or future events or ideas.
  • May interact with others but has difficulty doing so in an appropriate manner.
  • Limited understanding of certain unstated social norms, e.g. personal space.
  • Limited understanding of the non-verbal aspects of communication.
  • Difficulty appraising the verbal & non-verbal aspects of communication
  • Unable to see breakdowns and has difficulty repairing the misunderstandings/breakdowns which occur
  • Talk aloud to self in public situations and is unaware that others can hear the content of the self
  • Desire social interaction, but has difficulty knowing how to initiate and maintain a friendship.
  • Experience difficulty recognizing the lies, deceptions and mischief of others.
  • Miss non-verbal cues of others and nuances in social situations.
  • Recognizes and identifies basic emotions of others and self (mad, happy, sad) but has more difficulty with recognizing more subtle expressions of these feelings or emotions.
  • Be physically as well as socially awkward.
  • Language may be idiosyncratic (jargon, echolalia, scripting, video talk, accented speech, out of context, tangential speech, verbal rituals)
  • Appear to have a good vocabulary and a sophisticated command of the language system based on their verbal utterances.
  • In some instances sophisticated language may reflect repetition of bits of dialogue heard on television or in the conversation of others.
  • Appear to respond to suggestions, directions, or information in a very literal manner.
  • Deliver monologues, lectures, or lessons about a favourite topic rather than allow/participate in reciprocal involvement with a communication partner.
  • Deliver monologues, lectures, or lessons about a favourite topic rather than allow/participate in reciprocal involvement with a communication partner.
  • Make statements that are factually true but socially inappropriate.
  • Not know strategies to initiate, terminate, or facilitate a conversation.
  • Talk about unusual topics which they find fascinating; the display of knowledge may take place irrespective of the interest of the communication partner in the topic.
  • Be perseverative or bothersome on limited topics. May ask repetitive questions.
  • Have difficulty multi-tasking, i.e., talking or listening while doing something else at the same time; may need to do one thing at a time.
  • Difficulty with self-regulation.
  • Noisy, hyperactive, floppy behaviour, display bouts of arousal socially-emotionally and/or display inappropriate physical movements.
  • May be inattentive in class or display bouts of self-distraction.
  • May display out-of-seat behavior which is inappropriate or excessive.
  • Prone to meltdowns or tantrums if they do not get their way.
  • Unable to deal with uncertainty or changes in the environment and this may result in break downs.