My experiences as a creative person, tutor of children, and teacher of creative writing

Monday, November 10, 2014

Symptoms of Autism

What is autism?  No one knows really.  It does seem to run in families and there are four times more male than female. (I will therefore use "He" when referring to these people) These are my personal thoughts about what is called autism. I have known six highly functioning autistic people and their families. They look like everyone else and have needs and talents like every one does. They just have trouble relating to people; seeing behavioral patterns. They also find any abstract thought very difficult.  I wonder if we might be talking with extremely "left brained" people (Sensing, Thinking). I also wonder if this this why there are more males than females; girls have more nerve fibers connecting the two halves of their brain (Corpus Callosum).
Once I heard of a man who had the connecting tissue between his brain cut to control severe epilepsy (this was a long time ago). Afterward, he could handle details well, but couldn't grasp simple behavioral patterns or relate very well with others.

I do know that those who are called autistic that I have met do not feel that there is anything wrong with them, and they do not want to be "fixed".  They just want to use their abilities and be accepted for who they are.

Most moms knew fairly soon that they had an unusual baby. The autistic baby might:

  • Cry when held
  • Be happy when surrounded by toys.
  • Be Attached to an object such as a hat or blue spoon. 
  • Be Disturbed by changes in routine.
  • Fuss and fight when touched; changed, dressed, carried, fed. 
  • Do repetitive behaviors such as constantly rocking or jumping.
  • Not make eye contact 
  • Not want to be looked at; may try to divert you from looking at him (point away).
  • Not respond to attempts to communicate with him.
  • Have strong dislikes for certain textures and tastes in foods.
  • Have stomach pains and abdominal distress. (one turned out to have food allergies)
  • Keep own focus. Not look at what others point to. 
In a lot of ways these are easy babies. All you need to make them happy is give them toys and don't expect any warm cuddling. 

As the child gets older he may:
  • Uses non-verbal communication such as pointing instead of words.
  • Talk later or not at all. 
  • Concentrate on own interests such as spending hours and hours building things with legos
  • Tremendous ability to Concentrate - might need to clap by ear to get attention, but don't touch!
  • Trouble making changes - wants all to stay the same such as still wearing snow clothes in summer; tears when change in school routine such as an assembly.
  • Angry Frustrated Outbursts when people and things do not perform as they expect
  • Unable to express feelings or needs - hit, and throw things if frustrated
  • Views people as objects to be used; no empathy or compassion 
  • Wants people to act like a predictable machine
  • Uses simple logic; this belongs to the family; I am the family; therefore it is mine
  • No sense of property; no sense of others rights or needs at all
  • Driven to get what want; anyone or anything that prevents them is bad
  • No remorse if hurt people; "they shouldn't have tried to keep me from getting what I wanted"
  • No sense of self ; can't identify own feelings 
  • No sense of others; their feelings or needs
  • Imitate behavior but not understand what is happening; say and do what others do
  • May have astounding memory ability; perhaps almost a photographic memory
  • Different Sensitivities; to noise, tastes, textures, light; may want high or low; not wear "itchy" clothes
  • Does not startle; may not respond at all to a person calling them or a noise
  • Likes things; not real animals, or even stuffed animals, or imaginary play
  • Has few friends; may not make conversation, may hit, ignore, and insult people (not intentionally) 
  • Different Pain response; over sensitive or oblivious
  • Overwhelmed by physical contact
  • Overwhelmed by too much stimulation of any type; activity at school or holidays; too many people, too much noise, too many new things, too many changes etc.
  • Centered on own interests; which are often few and long lasting such as trains, or only drawing cars in the color red
  • Repetitive Activity - washing hands, humming, drumming
  • Not respond to others - may not notice when they call, point, or move
  • May use gestures instead of words; if respond
Remember that these are just basic symptoms, and every child will be different.

Here is an online definition.

  1. a mental condition, present from early childhood, characterized by difficulty in communicating and forming relationships with other people and in using language and abstract concepts.

Asperger Syndrome and Young Children - Building Skills for the Real World by Teresa Bolick

Asperger Syndrome and Adolescence: Helping Preteens & Teens Get Ready for the Real World

Among the most common health complaints from children with autism? Gastrointestinal problems. Although estimates vary widely, some studies have concluded that up to 90 percent of children with autism suffer from tummy troubles. According to the CDC, they’re more than 3.5 times more likely to experience chronic diarrhea and constipation than their normally developing peers.

Read more: Autism's Gut-Brain Connection | Fast forward | OZY