By Autism Speaks
Autism’s core symptoms are:
Many people with autism have sensory issues. These typically involve over- or under-sensitivities to sounds, lights, touch, tastes, smells, pain and other stimuli.
Autism is also associated with high rates of certain physical and mental health conditions.
Social communication challenges
Children and adults with autism have difficulty with verbal and non-verbal communication. For example, they may not understand or appropriately use:
Restricted and repetitive behaviors vary greatly across the autism spectrum. They can include:
By Eileen Lamb; The Autism Cafe
Autism checklist for adults
I was diagnosed with high-functioning autism as an adult. Read my post about it here. I often get asked what the signs are and if I knew I was autistic. I started to question whether I was on the autism spectrum after my son was diagnosed with severe nonverbal autism at 2 year old.
If you’re here, you probably found this post on Google looking for “Signs of autism in adults“. If you’re wondering if you are on the autism spectrum, then I hope you’ll find this list helpful. If you feel like a lot of these bullet points apply to you, you may want to follow up with a specialist for more information. Seeking a diagnosis can help. It makes me feel better having an explanation for why I’ve always felt different. I also hope it will help people be more understanding. That said, I try not to use autism as an excuse for anything. If you think you may have autism and wants to find answers for yourself, make an appointment with your PCP and try to get a referral for a specialist in autism who does therapeutic assessments. Only they can diagnose autism, and they can help you with your journey if they do.
In the meantime, if you’ve been wondering about yourself, see if most of the following autism symptoms apply to you.
Signs of high-functioning Autism (Asperger’s) in adults:
Communication (Verbal and non-verbal):
by Spectrum Sense | Oct 29, 2018 | Diagnosis |
What is The Difference Between Autism and Sensory Processing Disorder?
I see and hear this question all the time. It’s in my sensory processing groups, my autism groups, and all around the therapists’ offices. A lot of people on the spectrum have sensory issues, so what is the difference between autism and sensory processing disorder? Is there a difference?
Most parents of autistic kids say their children have sensory processing disorder, but do all kids with SPD also have autism? Are they the same thing? Why do most people with autism have so many shared symptoms with sensory processing disorder? It’s so confusing sometimes! Can you relate? When I first started this journey, all the terminology made my head hurt, so I’m going to try to make this simple.
What is sensory processing disorder?
Before we talk about similarities and differences, let’s just make sure everyone knows what SPD is in the first place. Sensory processing disorder is basically where the brain misinterprets incoming sensory signals, causing it to misfire and give the wrong response.
Imagine a kid with poor vision trying to play baseball without their glasses. When you throw the ball to them, their brain misinterprets its location. If they can’t see it clearly, they may swing the bat too late, too early, or not at all. It may cause them a huge deal of frustration, which could lead to a tantrum.
Sensory processing disorder is pretty much the same, except it includes more than just one sense. Your brain can misinterpret visual, tactile, auditory, gustatory input, or olfactory input, making it seem unbearable. Kids with sensory sensitivities are often called sensory avoiders.
The opposite can also occur. Sensory seekers are those who require much more input than usual. They may like their music too loud and their food extra spicy or sour. They may crash into things, in order to feel deep pressure, to get the tactile input they need.
Sensory processing disorder makes it difficult for the brain to respond appropriately, so it often reacts instead. This can cause stimming behaviors and meltdowns. Sadly, SPD is not recognized as a diagnosis – it is a symptom of an underlying disorder, so services are usually not covered by insurance. Parents are often encouraged to seek a medical diagnosis to figure out what the underlying cause is, but the cause cannot always be pinpointed.
What is autism?
Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that is characterized by difficulties in communication and social interaction, and restrictive, repetitive behaviors. Often times, these restrictive and repetitive behaviors are sensory related.
Stimming is a term that is used a lot in the autism community. A child may flap their hands, rock back and forth, bang their head, fidget, or insist on holding a particular object at all times.
Speech is often delayed in children with autism spectrum disorders, but not always. Some kids on the spectrum begin speaking at an appropriate age, but become nonverbal under stress or excitement. Others learned speech according to the developmental tables, but have trouble using it properly. Some have other speech difficulties like stuttering.
Social interaction is another area that autistic children struggle with. Since it is a spectrum, there are many ways this can present. While some kids may be very distant and seem to live inside their own world, completely oblivious to people around them, others may appear overly social because they don’t recognize social boundaries. Still others can simply be socially awkward.
So how are SPD and autism different?
Both of these disorders involve sensory problems, stimming, and meltdowns. Sensory aversions lead to sensory overload, which can cause meltdowns. Likewise, the need for sensory input can cause stimming and apparently unruly behavior, as the child tries to fill the urgent need for sensory stimuli. These types of symptoms are seen in children with autism and sensory processing disorder.
But children with autism also have issues in the areas of communication and social interaction. Sensory issues can cause an array of learning struggles and social problems. For example, certain stimming behaviors may cause other children to tease or avoid your child. But that type of social demise is different than an autistic child, who does not understand the rules and regulations of socializing appropriately. If your child has been labeled with sensory processing disorder, and they are not hitting major milestones like talking and parallel play, or if they have other communicative and social setbacks, it may be time to talk to their pediatrician about an autism evaluation.
If you’re hesitant to move too quickly in that direction, you may want to get a better understanding of autism spectrum disorders first. My autism eBook provides a comprehensive yet simple overview of the most important topics surrounding an autism diagnosis. It’s an affordable next step in your journey.
The sooner you get the answers, the sooner you can get your child the help they need to have the best possible chance at success!
What is ABA Therapy?
ABA stands for “Applied Behavior Analysis”. It’s therapy that’s based on the science of learning and behavior. Behavior analysis helps us understand how behavior works, how it’s affected by our environment and how learning happens. ABA therapy applies our understanding of how behavior works in real life situations. The goal with ABA therapy, is to increase the behaviors that are helpful and decrease the behaviors that are harmful or affect learning.
What can ABA Therapy help with?
It can help increase language and communication skills. It can also help improve attention, memory, focus, social skills and even academics!
The methods used in ABA therapy have actually been used and studied for decades. It’s been used to help children with Autism and other developmental disorders since the 1960’s.
How does it work?
ABA uses techniques to understand and change behavior. Programs and goals are designed for the individual learner. Therapy can be provided in many different locations; including in the home, at a clinic, in school or in the community. It teaches everyday life skills. The main strategy used in ABA therapy, is positive reinforcement, which encourages positive behavior changes. The overall goal is to help the individual work on skills that will allow them to become more independent and successful for a lifetime.
by Tracy Sekhon; Founder + CEO of ARTC
As a parent, I watched my child obsessively from the time he was born. I couldn't stop staring at him- from the perfect little fingers to the blue eyes gazing with wonder. It was easy to envelop my world in this little body. He was my "everything", and I was his.
This world of wonder grew as he developed new skills but I couldn't help comparing him to his older brother. His brother was just a bit older (16 months) so it became second nature to compare my younger son's development to my older son. From eating, to crawling, to talking, I compared it all.
When my youngest son was about 18 months there was a dramatic change from how he had been developing previously. These changes created greater concern with me as the gap between my sons became increasingly larger. I began addressing my concerns with his pediatrician who advised treating symptoms of hearing loss. The hearing loss was remedied with surgery and tubes. Even then, he wasn't progressing normally after his hearing was restored.
After being told that he was showing signs of Autism, I took him to our pediatrician, who completed the checklist and advised that his score indicated that he was no to low risk. I knew nothing about Autism until a speech therapist mentioned that she thought something more was going on than his hearing loss. It wasn't until I insisted he give me a referral to a specialist who could diagnose him, that I was directed to UCSD ACE for help.
According to Wendy L. Stone, PhD and Lauren Turner, PhD recent research results, "Compared with children with non-autistic developmental delays, children with autism have been described as less likely to demonstrate early social-communicative behaviors such as making eye contact, looking at others, greeting others, offering and giving objects, showing and pointing to objects, raising arms to be picked up, imitating, and using non-verbal vocalizations communicatively. They are also described as less likely to understand or respond to the communication of others, such as following the point of an adult to an object or responding to their names being called." (http://www.child-encyclopedia.com/autism/according-experts/impact-autism-child-development)
Finding commonalities gave me a sense of reassurance. The parts I had to let go were the general statements and standards of "normal", "typically developing", "neuro-typical". Such comparisons were not helpful to our journey. Here are a few tips, I found, to avoid getting trapped comparing my child with autism to "normal":
Little by little, I learned to love my son for all that he is, not just the parts that seemed "normal". I also ventured into new worlds that embraced what we needed most, which has been love and acceptance.
Asperger Syndrome is a term that was previously used to identify high functioning individuals with autism. It's no longer used as a subtype of autism, because all subtypes are now included in the autism spectrum disorder classification. Now, one with the characteristics of the previously termed Asperger Syndrome, is deemed on the lower end of the spectrum. These individuals have difficulty with social interactions, may have a limited interests and/or have repetitive behaviors. They could also have delayed motor development. They usually do not, however, have significant language delays or difficulties. Some even have amazing vocabularies and understanding of the meanings of words. As with all individuals on the autism spectrum, the strengths and challenges vary greatly from person to person.
A child with Asperger Syndrome is usually not diagnosed until they're having serious difficulties in school or with friends. Adults are often diagnosed when they show signs of significant struggle at work or with their personal relationships and/or are seeking help for depression or anxiety. Both seem to benefit from an understanding of their strengths and challenges, coupled with counseling and social programs that offer an opportunity to develop skills for effective social interactions.
Autism, or autism spectrum disorder, is a developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with and relates to other people. It also affects how they make sense of the word around them.
It is a broad range of conditions that include challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication.
Those with autism also have unique strengths and differences. It is a spectrum disorder, which means that, while all people with autism share certain difficulties, their condition will affect them in different ways.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently increased the prevalence to an estimated 1 in 59 children affected. Boys are more likely than girls to be affected.
The most obvious signs of autism that usually appear between 2 and 3 years old; limited or no eye contact, not sharing smiles or other non-verbal communication, no babble or use of words and not responding when their name is called.
The most obvious signs of autism at any age, are; repeats same words over and over, delayed language development or no language at all, gets upset by changes in routine, limited interests, limited diet, prefers to be alone and strong reaction to sensory stimuli (smells, sounds, textures, lights, tastes).
By Carrie Cariello
Mom. Can we take. My autism away.
Today, I did one thousand things wrong.
I broke a glass at exactly 6:01 this morning, and I forgot to switch the laundry.
I had a terrible workout.
I missed a meeting at the school and I barely made it home in time for the bus.
I ran into an old neighbor in the grocery store and I could barely contain my annoyance when she kept blathering on and on about all the trophies her son won for swimming this summer.
The afternoon wasn’t much better. I got frustrated with you when you kept asking if you could download a new song. Then I found you in the basement, stringing together all the Christmas lights even though it is barely the middle of September.
Daddy came home right before dinner and he kissed me at the stove and I complained he was late and his mouth turned sour.
At bedtime, I snapped at you because you wandered downstairs eleventy million times.
When at last the house was quiet, I sat at my desk and I wondered what this is all for—the snapping and the wandering and the autism?
What is it all for?
There is a reason.
Would I take your autism away?
This is what we autism parents ask ourselves the world over—we wonder if we would we turn back time or change genetics or hand out a magic pill to erase the spectrum disorder.
In the still of the night, we turn it around and around in our bleary minds.
When the sun rises, we are chipper again. We accept our responsibility—we don’t question the way it destroys our marriages and our self-esteem and our friendships.
At the same time there, is a lump in our throats and we swallow it. We force ourselves to forget about the idea that maybe, just a small maybe, we would change it.
See, we can’t say it out loud because it means we don’t love our special children enough and we don’t accept them for who they are and we are bad, bad people.
I love you.
I accept you.
This afternoon I went to the outlets to look for some running shoes. I saw a woman pushing a stroller, so I looked inside—I always look in strollers, because I love babies, especially when they aren’t mine—and in this stroller was a little girl with bright blonde hair. She was probably three years old. Her sneakers were pink.
Her face was arranged differently than ours. I am not going to go into details, but let’s just say she was hauntingly beautiful with a nose out of place in the way that leaves you aching deep in the middle of your rib cage.
Sometimes I hear people say there is nothing they would change about autism.
Nothing? I want to ask.
Not the brutal honesty, or the endless perseverations, or the crushing anxiety?
Not the inner turmoil I see witness inside your very soul–the perpetual longing to belong, balanced against your own pressing need for solitude?
Would I take it away?
Can I take it away?
Perhaps you and autism are inexplicably bound together. If I were to remove the obsessiveness, the memory, the stimming, the honesty, nothing would be left but a shell of a boy—empty, and hollow.
To change one thing would mean changing it all, I guess.
But aren’t we already working to change you—little by little—every single day?
Social stories, special schools, medication, education plans, books, feeding therapy.
When I sit at my desk after an especially long day and I consider the meaning of it all, I always come back to one thought.
We need you.
We need you, and we don’t even know it.
We need you to remind us that different is still equal.
We need you, and others like you, to alter the face of the traditional classroom, and the workforce, and politics, and sports.
We need you to help us grow into the people we are already supposed to be.
Sometimes I think of hope as a bag of rocks strapped to my back. It is heavy and I lug it around until I am sweating and shaking.
I hope no one hurts you.
I hope you will be okay when I die.
I hop you know how much I love you.
See, compared to love, the hope is easy.
If hope is a bag of rocks, then I think love is the wave of an ocean.
Again and again, the wave returns to kiss the shore, no matter how often it is turned away.
Why does it do this?
Autism brings out the worst in me—the shouting, frustrated, uncertain worst.
You also bring out the best.
Would I take your autism away?
Maybe I would, if not for me, but for you.
I can’t though, that’s the thing.
I can’t take it away.
I know, it’s not fair.
If hope is a bag of rocks and love is a wave upon the sand, then fair is a four-leaf clover. Other people talk about it, but you hardly ever see it for yourself.
Jack-a-boo. I have made a million mistakes in my life.
But you, my son, are not one of them.
Because of you, I am brave.
Because of you, I am different.
Because of you, I see those who may go unseen.
Today, I did one thing right.
Hey, pretty girl. I love your pink sneakers.
She had the widest smile, and her eyes were blue like the sea.
Sometimes, it’s still hard to talk about. Sometimes, the blame and guilt are so heavy that it feels like an anchor that’s attached to my foot, one that resides in the middle of quicksand. Sometimes, I can’t find the strength to step outside of it, so I find myself sitting in the middle, focused on taking the next breath…and then another. Sometimes, but not all the time.
“Sometimes” seems to be what we gravitate to, more often than “not all the time”. Why? Because its imprint on our bodies and souls is so profound, that it’s almost impossible not to. But, how do we learn to redirect our focus to “not all the time” and allow that to be where we go first? We make a decision to make a choice to do it differently.
It is not easy. There is no instant gratification when it comes to trauma. It takes time and energy and strength…some of which we do not know we have inside of us, until we are forced to find it.
“Sometimes”, it’s still hard to talk about my own journey through autism. “Sometimes”, when I recall being accused of being the cause of my baby boy’s pain and struggle. “Sometimes”, when I recall the faces at the mall that shoot grimaces towards me that cut directly through to my heart, as if I have done something to my baby to make him scream or as if he’s being “bad” and I’m a horrible parent for not punishing him. “Sometimes”, when I remember walking with and gently bouncing him for hours throughout the night, praying to GOD to help me soothe him, so we can both get just a little sleep. “Sometimes”, when he finally stopped crying, but went silent…lost in his own mind.
I was forced to find “not all the time”. I knew somewhere deep inside of me, that my son would be lost forever, if I did not find the strength inside of me to stay firmly planted in “not all the time”. My endurance and tenacity had to become so fierce, that nothing would stop me from asking questions, getting answers and doing the work. “Sometimes” gets lost, when we’re in the midst of the work that it takes to get to the place of “not all the time”.
It us took years. A lot of them. But, I stayed firmly planted in “not all the time”. I stayed diligent to the process, as if there was no other choice. When “sometimes” crept back in to my mind during an especially hard moment of watching my baby boy struggle, or having to defend myself or him, or long and exhausting therapy session after therapy session…I always found my way back to “not all the time”. I don’t know that I would have found my way there, if it wasn’t for the choice that I made to do whatever it took to help my baby out of his darkness.
The truth is…we are human and we are forced to learn to grow through our trauma and develop coping skills. It is a different process for everyone. I learned how to find “not all the time” more often than “sometimes” because I need to stay hopeful, for him…and for me. Hope led me to “not all the time”. Hope led Luca to becoming the 10 year old boy today, that was once locked in his own mind, unable to speak and miserable in his own body….to a brilliant, talkative, amazing boy who LOVES life. Hope makes all things better. Hope leads us to healing. Hope leads us to “not all the time” more often than “sometimes”.
I hope you’re able to find “not all the time” more than “sometimes” and know that by being hopeful, you’re taking baby steps in the right direction. You’ll never get “there”, because it’s a journey that has no end. But, life does get better as we continue taking deliberate steps and making choices to stay hopeful.
Big love to you!
Blog contribution from Winging It: The Okay Mom Way
I have a beautiful little free spirit in my middle child. She plays hard, fights fierce, and loves with abandon. This strong willed little thing has taught me some big lessons.
Here are a handful:
1. You don't have to match. At all. Stripes, plaids, mismatched shoes; If it makes you happy put it on. Its an outfit, not a peace treaty.
2. Food. Is. Awesome. Like seriously awesome. Eat all the food, but only when you're hungry.
3. Forget dancing to your own beat. Step that shit up and create your own marching band. Life is short. Be fierce. Never apologize for letting your light shine. Shine that stuff everywhere, it makes the world a better place.
4. Enjoy the little stuff. The smallest things can bring the biggest joy. Take the time to stop and breathe it in. You'll be better for it.
5. Get dirty as much as possible. Lessons are learned when a little dirt and a lot of imagination meet. All good foundations have a solid layer of earth beneathe them.
6. Fall down. It's the only way you'll ever learn to get up again. Bruises aren't permanent. Walk it off. Scars give you character. Character gives you courage. In falling and failing, we often learn to fly.
7. Anger is healthy. It's necessary to be angry sometimes. What matters most is how you deal with that anger. Anger may be healthy, but hate is not.
8. Do not flush stuff down the toilet. In the case of plumbing what goes down tends to come right back up.
Eat the cake.
Wear the pants.
Stop to smell the flowers.
Make your own adventures.
Apologize when your wrong.
Avoid poor plumbing choices.
Deep breathes friends, because every little thing is gonna be alright.
Love and light from another momma in the struggle. <3