Skip to comments.What Is Autism Spectrum Disorder?
Posted on 03/29/2014 6:42:23 AM PDT by Star Traveler
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is characterized by:
Persistent deficits in social communication and social interaction across multiple contexts;
Restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities;
Symptoms must be present in the early developmental period (typically recognized in the first two years of life); and,
Symptoms cause clinically significant impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of current functioning.
The term spectrum refers to the wide range of symptoms, skills, and levels of impairment or disability that children with ASD can have. Some children are mildly impaired by their symptoms, while others are severely disabled. The latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) no longer includes Aspergers syndrome; the characteristics of Aspergers syndrome are included within the broader category of ASD.
Information on ASD can also be found on the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development website and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
On this thread, you'll see both of those posting here, and it will be clear "who is who" - as ANYONE can clearly see it from their posts.
This article does provide a good overview and is a good "starter" for those who "had no idea". Believe me, your fellow Freepers are directly affected by this.
Aspergers is common. I’m not sure it should be classed with Autism.
Asperger’s is hereditary. It runs in my family.
It is both a blessing and a curse.
You might be interested ...
Interesting info and thank you for posting, Star Traveler. I guess I fit into category number 3... not directly affected but I have several friends with Asperger children. I have known one woman with a child with Autism... and their life would just break your heart.
Yes. One of my daughters is mildly autistic. An example of odd, repetitive behavior is her habit of photographing her food with a large SLR before she eats. When I ask her why she does this, she has no answer.
When she was a toddler, she used to run away from the beach, screaming hysterically. One day my wife carried her to the beach and put her on a blanket. No problem. But as soon as her feet hit the sand, she would cry and run away. She couldn’t handle the feeling of sand on her feet.
Most people wouldn’t notice her disorder at first, but people who have known her for a time notice.
People have told me that her emotional and social maturity will be delayed, and that corresponds with our experience.
Aspergers was removed as a stand-alone item and rolled into “the spectrum”. That just happened (this year, I believe).
In our case, I might have though our boy had Aspergers, since he is “high functioning” - but - the only problem is that he doesn’t speak and that one item doesn’t fit into Aspergers.
Yeah, I guess I left out that group ... :-) ...
People who for a wide variety of reasons are "different"
Something is changing, so what is it?
It is not the boys.
A small part of it may be over-diagnosing normal juvenile male behaviour, but I'm going to propose that the elephant in the room is diet.
Over the last half century, the following issues have crept into diet, and are rising (as are the trend lines for a distressing number of ailments, including ASD):
Are all of these to blame?
Probably not, but some of them are.
Dr. Perlmutter ("Grain Brain") reports excellent results in treating ADD simply by getting kids off grains and adding EPA/DHA supplements.
For anyone facing this, changing aisles at the supermarket may be the cheapest most effective thing you can do. And switching to a low-carb high-fat grain-free diet can benefit the whole family.
It certainly does run in families. My husband’s and mine. Youngest son was diagnosed with Aspergers in elementary school though he didn’t have all of the symptoms normally seen in these kids. He always looks people right in the eye and has a good sense of humor.
A lot of the things he used to do that caused the diagnosis he seems to have out-grown.
My grandson and 4 other people I know are ASD. All males. 2 high functioning, 2 low, and grandson ‘to be determined.’ Not clear to me how much of the increased incidence is just diagnostic and how much is real.
It keeps getting more common because there is a push to have everything slightly atypical labeled as a condition or disorder. Autism just because the catch all name for every kid that is weird, introverted, or awkward.
Very little has changed and the true issues are really not any more common then they were 50 or 500 years ago, it just gets named and bemoaned more today. Although there are at least a few of the kids that have just been spoiled rotten by having never met a firm hand that loved them enough to spank their backside in their life.
My wife works with autistic pre-schoolers. It can be very challenging for care-givers as well as families. I've seen the threads here where people seem dismissive of Autism, and that's always a little painful.
Working in an engineering environment, as I do, I am aware of many adults who are certainly "on the spectrum" and I would have described them as (at least somewhat) having Aspergers. Poor social skills, unusual focus, obsession with details that seem unimportant to anyone else, very little flexibility in how things are done. Properly managed, these traits can be pretty useful. And then there is Austism. A tougher situation all around. Not all bad, of course, but far less likely to be channeled into a normal career. People with Autism will always need care.
I would say that’s way too broad of a criterion ... :-) ...
I saw some unusual speculation, that what could roughly be called “focused rationality” is actually a flawed genetic mutation. That is, that the autism spectrum actually includes rational intellectualism. So the entire range would incorporate:
intelligence—high intelligence—genius level—Aspergers—and then autism.
Even when autism first came to light, it was noted that often, both parents of an autistic child were unusually intelligent, at least based on their education. (But education is not synonymous with intelligence.)
This suggests a common genetic pattern, that if one parent has a trait, it only comes out “halfway” in their children; but if both parents have the trait, it is fully expressed.
That's not necessarily the case. Look at Temple Grandin. She definitely needed help at the beginning of her life - but "look at her now"!
I probably over-stated. Some people can live on their own just fine and have successful careers. Their Autism does not hold them back all that much. But some families do have to worry about children who are likely to never live on their own or have regular careers. That kind of Autism is out there.
You didn’t leave the group out. I think group #3 is relatively small in percentage. A person has to be very involved and open minded. When one of my besties son was dealing with the initial elementary school, I was the “stand by” person on the emergency list. So, I was the person called to deal with an outburst etc... if his Mom was at a Doctor’s appt, etc. Therefore, I tried to educate myself as much as possible. “J” is now 19. He is doing extremely well at a Community College. He drives himself. Believe me... the road to get him to this point was HARD. Numerous medication trials, a special school in the county that dealt with Autism/and the spectrum, specialist visits, etc...
May I add that it was his Mom and her faith that got the family through. She heard her fair share of “slap him, punish him, send him away”. She dealt with “the stares” and the disapproving looks/words. In my book, she is darn near an earthly saint... never gave up on him and worked diligently to ensure that he would have a go at life.
I'm not a shrink and I didn't spend the night at a Holiday Inn express. However, from what I understand about the condition, the symptoms are too varied to be generated by the same condition.
Thank you, I’m reading now.
No, I’m not familiar with him, but then, I didn’t start really talking until I was about 5 years old. However that was because English was my second language, and ASL (American Sign Language) was my first language (since my parents were deaf). I was taken out of my home to a relative’s home for about one year to immerse myself in English. It was okay after that.
But “ASL” and the deaf culture have altered my thinking processes since that time.
Why does it affect boys at such a high rate?
I have a son that was diagnosed with aspergergers when he was young. Other than being socially inept and “odd”, he is very high functioning. Group therapy has helped him to interact better with others.
His is a case that it is hard to tell from a distance as well. Most people just think he is weird. He has improved with a lot of patience in trying to teach him little things like saying nothing when it might hurt someones feelings. We cannot get him to tell a little white lie of any sort, which I think we could all learn something from.
The most difficult thing for me was other kids making fun of him, especially in elementary school. I used to cry myself to sleep at night.
I agree on all three accounts. 4 generations in my husband's family (including him and our oldest son). None of them know, they just know that is some ways, they aren't like other people, and that they don't like to be around people much. Our oldest son just became a father in February, and I will be watching to see that little guy has Asperger's.
They have their quirks, to be sure - but then, we all do. But they are marvelous. loyal, trustworthy people with often great insight into others.
I am also highly involved in a biblical ministry to adults with special needs and although there are some similar characteristics, Asperger's is not autism.
You will begin to see the percentage of those having autism increase even more rapidly because Asperger's.
Well ... I’ve heard some say, “I’m going to beat the Devil out of you!” ... But now we have ... “I’m going to beat the ASD out of you!” ... LOL ...
It sounds like we’ve encountered another “treatment methodology” here! ... :-) ...
Sowell, of course, is best known as a prominent black conservative economist. Brilliant mind. He was also a late-talker and has explored that area in some of his work. As far as I know, he doesn’t necessarily focus on Autism as such, but as a general observation he feels that late-talking is not such a bad thing and some people worry about it unnecessarily — if there are no other reasons to believe there is an actual problem. Problems are problems. But late-talking, by itself, is not always a problem.
Ditto’s on “Late-Talking Children”. One of our kids barely said a dozen words for the first three years of his life - we were kinda concerned, but were reassured by the fact that by the time he was two, it was clear he understood pretty much everything we said to him (and most of what we said to each other).
I had heard of Sowell’s book, so my wife and I read it - the situation Sowell described for his son very much paralleled what we saw in ours. Sowell’s message was pretty much if your kid seems normal in every other way, don’t panic.
And sure enough, shortly after our son turned three (and just before he started pre-school) he started talking like any other kid that age, and pretty soon you couldn’t shut him up. As he grew up, you couldn’t ask for a better, smarter or more articulate kid.
Maybe he just didn’t see any point in talking until he had something to say (not that we all couldn’t use more of that).
For one thing, I have a hard time believing that something that affects 1 out of every 60 in a group is anything that remotely qualifies as a "disorder." We are dealing with something whose very name (Autism Spectrum Disorder) suggests an inherent vagueness and lack of clarity in diagnosis. As a result, there's no question in my mind that lot of what has been diagnosed as a "disorder" is really nothing more than normal variations in human behavior and psychological makeup.
Flame away, if you will!
I would think I am category 4. Acknowledges its existence ( and has family members with it), but wonder why the increase. Has the existence gone up? Or is the existence the same, but more people are being diagnosed? Or has the criteria changed? I ponder the same thing about other things, too, like peanut allergies, etc.
Crypto Sensitivity Syndrone
There are many other articles about this, but this is the short version.
I think the key here is simply being respectful ... :-) ...
I do believe that if someone is on the higher end of the spectrum they can outgrow it or learn to cope.
My grand son was DX'ed on the low end. He was less than 2 years old and they use a scale of 0, no autism to 26. most severe. He was at 23 or 24. Since they use the same scale, no matter the age of the person, I am hoping that some of the reason for the severe DX was just because of him immaturity. He has made a lot of progress with therapy. He has great parents and his papaw and I are very involved with him and his therapy. He seems to have a special bond with his papaw (sometimes hard for me to accept) and seems to have more breakthrough progress when papaw takes him to therapy.
IMO, it is a combination of both.
I had a friend (male) who told me he didn’t talk until he was 6...but he also had 5 or 6 older siblings...said he didn’t need to talk!
Ignorance of Autism doesn't help the kids that have it.
I should be clear that I'm not referring to obvious cases at the outer edges of a typical bell curve (regardless of what you are measuring), but to those areas where the increase in "incidence" is really just a matter of adding more "disorders" to the ASD profile.
According to a CDC report, it affects 1 in 42 boys
Can you explain that? It could be seen as people from both sides.
I understand the challenge.
My uncle lived with his parents until he was 40. He married and lived a pretty good life. He was a farmer and depended on my father from childhood for most analytical things. He generally had a very mild kind nature.
My son is 38 and still lives with my wife and I most of the time. We own a house at the farm where he stays part of the time. He has other health issues, due to a fall from his cutting horse about 8-9 years ago. 3rd disc in back had burst fracture. Spent months in back brace and still has issues.
It’s more easily observed. Do a quick search for “Autism” on Free Republic and look at two threads from just the last couple of days. As you read the various posters, you’ll see the ones mentioned here.
I’m interested in your comment that Asperger’s is “Botha blessing and a curse.” In what ways is it a blessing?
I ask because I’ve come to realize that my dear friend must have a mild form of Asperger’s, which has negatively affected her personal and professional lives and has left her quite unhappy as a result, despite her bright mind and many talents. She is clueless socially and terribly disorganized. I’d like to hear about the blessings.
You, and Dr Perlmutter, are 1000% right.
I work with kids of kinds and believe me, there’s a huge difference between an autistic child and one who’s just awkward.
Yes, out growing of traits is possible.
They are just “different”.
We all have weaknesses and strength. But the clustering of traits is obvious.
I completely agree with everything else you have said. I rent apartments to many computer engineers and IT people. I recognize Aspergers in many of them. It was so obvious. I recognized it even before my grand son was DX'ed with severe autism.
See post #30
The second thing that jumped out at me is the huge statistical difference between white kids (much higher rates) and black kids (much lower rates).
The combination of these two -- coupled with my own experience in dealing with friends who have young children -- tells me that there's a lot of monkeying around with the numbers and (in some cases) even outright fraud going on. In a state like New Jersey you have a situation where a lot of parties -- parents, medical professionals, the pharmaceutical industry, and school districts, for example -- have a vested interest in diagnosing as many kids with "disorders" as humanly possible. In New Jersey, a kid who is diagnosed with this kind of "disorder" is provided special instructional arrangements in school (maybe even including one-on-one tutoring). And the local school district qualifies for all kinds of additional state aid to deal with all these "disordered" kids.
This is why I suspect the explosion in ASD is largely a suburban phenomenon. For many parents who have ambitions for their kids that border on pathological, ASD is a perfect "disorder" because it's the type of disorder that can get little Freddie plenty of extra medical and educational attention ... but will never be diagnosed as a disorder dangerous enough to have him institutionalized.
Here is a well know example of a gifted Asperger’s sufferer.
(she invented the cattle squeeze chute)
I don’t know. I certainly don’t consider myself highly intelligent but I had severe sensory issues, although no one knew what sensory issues were 58 years ago. Some of them remain. At times I think my husband acts as though he has Aspergers. I highly suspect my son was a high functioning Aspergers kid but outgrew it or learned to cope. His wife has a severe case ADHD and severe Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, EDS is suspected of increasing the chances of having a child with autism.Their son is has severe autism.
Temple Grandin is great. Also a girl named Carley, I can’t recall her last name. The 1st book I read after my grand son was DX’ed was written by Carley and her father. I used to follow her on FB but she was to liberal for me to tolarate so I no longer follow her page.