Characteristics of Autism

Individuals with ASD do not follow the typical patterns of child development. Some children show indications of future problems soon after birth. Other children have a normal development up to ages 12 to 36 months, when they begin to act strangely, lose language, and regress in the social skills they had previously demonstrated. In many cases, the problems in communication and social skills become more noticeable as the child lags further behind other children of their same age.

Common Autism Characteristics Include:

Sensory Issues

Many people with autism are extremely sensitive to certain sounds, lighting conditions, textures, tastes, and smells. Others may have an unusually high pain threshold, and yet find light touch to be unbearable.

Language Deficits

By age three, many children with autism have not passed the predictable linguistic milestones. Those who do speak often use language in unusual ways, such as speaking too loudly or quietly, using “professor-like” adult language, or repeating back words and dialogue that they have heard. Others may speak much later than other children, or remain without spoken language throughout their lives. Many learn to use communication systems such as pictures, computer devices, or sign language.

Social Skills Difficulties

Social understanding deficits make it difficult for some people with autism to make friends. Autism is characterized by a sensory processing delay, and many people with autism cannot process social experience at the speed that it is happening, causing them to become overwhelmed, anxious, angry, and depressed.

Emotional Regulation Challenges

Contrary to popular belief, people with autism have the same range of emotional experience as those without the condition. However, due to their sensory and neurological issues, it is common for people with ASD to have difficulty processing and regulating their emotions. This can result in emotional delays that may make the person an easy target for bullying, and may lead to anxiety and depression.

Behavioral Differences

Autism is neurological, not behavioral. The “behaviors” of autism come as a result of alternate brain wiring that causes processing speed delays and sensory integration issues. These behaviors are often the only means that autistic people have of regulating their environment and communicating their experience. Successful behavioral therapies acknowledge the autistic person’s behavior, while teaching them ways to communicate with the world around them.

Special Interests (also called Perseverations)

Many people with autism have special interests, subjects that they are passionately focused on to the exclusion of all other topics. Most special interests can be translated into academic studies that can lead to lifetime employment in the area of interest. It is important to start early to identify the autistic person’s special interest and select marketable trades that utilize these interests.

 

Next PageNext Page: Autism Help

  • Autism Resources

  • Fall Conference 2014

    Language Development in Autism Spectrum Disorders Across the Lifespan

    Wednesday, November 5, 2014
    8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
    Robert Morris University
    Sewell Center
    6001 University Blvd.
    Moon Township, PA 15108

    Presenter: Diane L. Williams, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

    For more information and Registration — Click HERE

     

     

  • Adaptive Dance with the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre

    Getting Into The Nutcracker:  Adaptive Dance for middle and high school students

    Sundays – September 21, 2014 – October 12, 2014, 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

    $20 per person

    Please pre-register by calling 412-454-9105

    For more information visit the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre

  • Monthly Grandparent Group

    Monthly Grandparent Group

    Fourth Monday of every month

    Monday, August 25-10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

    REGISTER HERE

     

  • Free MCHAT Training

    FREE class for teachers, nurses, childcare workers, or other professionals.

    Kingsley Community Center
    6435 Frankstown Avenue
    Pittsburgh, PA 15206
    Monday, September 8, 2014
    10:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
    Lunch Provided
    McKeesport First Steps
    339 Fifth Avenue, 2nd Floor
    McKeesport, PA 15132
    Wednesday, October 8, 2014
    11:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
    Lunch Provided
  • Sibshops Information Night

    Parents, grandparents, caregivers and ADULT SIBLINGS,
    please join us to talk about siblings’ effects on each other,
    and explore an international model of sibling support now available in Pittsburgh!
    Autism Connection of PA Community Room
    35 Wilson Street, Suite 101
    Pittsburgh, PA 15223
    Thursday, September 18, 2013
    6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m