Autism is a condition that presents complex disorders of brain development and it is characterized by problems with social interaction, non verbal and verbal communication impairments and issues with repetitive behaviours. These problems vary in degree. Before 2013, various autism disorders were looked at distinctly but after the month of May, they were all brought under the umbrella of Autism spectrum disorder (ASD). ASD is linked to difficulties in attention and motor coordination, intellectual disabilities, and physical health problems like gastrointestinal disturbances, and sleep disorders.
While autism seems to have its roots in the very early stages of brain development, its real signs are seen when a child is around 2 or 3 years
Major Symptoms of Autism
Symptoms vary in severity however everyone with autism has the symptoms below;
Relationships and social interactions; the symptoms here are
- Hardship in nurturing non verbal communication skills, for example, body posture, facial expressions, and eye-to-eye gazing.
- Hardship in establishing friendships with people of the same age
- Lack of enthusiasm in sharing interests, enjoyment or achievements with others
- No empathy as autism sufferers have a hard time understanding the feelings of other people.
Nonverbal and verbal communication; the symptoms here are
- Finding it hard to start up a conversation as well as continuing with an already started conversation
- Repetitive and stereotyped language use as those having autism will repeat a statement or word that they have previously heard over and over again
- Failure or delay to learn how to talk because about 40% of persons with autism do not talk.
- Finding it hard to understand what their listener is implying by a certain action. For example, a person with autism may not understand when someone uses humour because they tend to interpret word for word hence fail to get one’s implied meaning.
Little interest in playing or activities; the symptoms here are
- Teens and adults with autism may be taken up by particular topics or things in life such as license plates, video games
- Children with autism always want to have a routine of activities or sameness in how they do their things. For example, they will want to take the same route when going to school and a deviation will not be accepted.
- Very young children having autism tend to put a lot of attention on pieces or parts of a toy, say wheels instead of playing with the whole car.
- Both children and adults with autism have stereotyped behaviour such as hand flapping, body rocking
Symptoms Among Children
Symptoms of Autism are usually seen by parents and caregivers during the first 3 years of the child. These symptoms are usually identified when the child does not want to be held, has delayed to speak, shows no interest in some games. Although some children with autism may start talking at the same time like typical children, they usually lose their language skills in the near future. There might also be confusion concerning the child’s hearing ability because there are times when a child with autism seems not to hear yet at some other instances he or she may seem to hear background noises like the whistling of a train.
If early and intensive treatment is sought, most children will improve in how they relate with others, communicate better as well as be able to help themselves as they get older. While many people believe that children with autism are in complete isolation and/or live in their own world, it is not the truth.
Symptoms Among Adults
- Some adults having autism can actually live all by themselves and they can work, however, the degree to which this is possible is linked to their ability to communicate as well as the level of intelligence.
- A few adults are in need of help mainly those that are not able to communicate and have low intelligence levels.
- However, adults with autism that have high levels of intelligence are usually successful at their work and can carry on their lives independently but they still have problems relating with people.
Other Symptoms of Autism
- Most individuals having autism have got symptoms that are similar to those of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). However, symptoms like social relationship difficulties are very severe with people having autism.
- A few autism sufferers have got some savant or special skills such as musical abilities, calculating calendar dates.
- Some others with autism may never feel pain