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ASD
Autism Spectrum Disorder

(ASD) is a complex developmental condition involving persistent challenges in social interaction, speech, nonverbal communication, and restricted/repetitive behaviours presenting in 1-in-4 babies and children.

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Autism is a lifelong condition that affects the way an individual relates to people and their environment.


 

Symptoms can range from extreme and debilitating for non-verbal Autism to quite the opposite (which is why the classification has changed to 'spectrum disorder'). Spectrum disorders also include high functioning individuals who may find their ability to communicate with others socially awkward, lack cognitive empathy or have repetitive habits and routines which others classify as odd. Cognition is considered to be a core element because it involves so many skills (the ability to predict and interpret other people's thoughts or intentions, to read between the lines and to be able to think from another perspective). Despite the research, many Aspies don't lack empathy in general. They have plenty of emotional empathy, which is the ability to share the feelings of another person, and compassionate empathy (which is feeling someone else's pain and taking action to help). For many people diagnosed with Autism or Asperger's related conditions, they may have too much emotional 

 

and compassionate energy. It is being able to translate that feeling, communicating & actioning it appropriately that is a matter of discourse for many ASDs.

Although these symptoms may not sound especially stressful on their own, there are other comorbidities which often present hand-in-hand with Autism. Mild or severe, they play havoc with each person and include conditions such as anxiety, depression, gut inflammation and other gut diseases. And no two people with Autism will have the same symptoms. It's that diverse.

Since the mid 90's and early 2000's mental health professionals and psychiatrists have reclassified the various syndromes of Aspergers and the milder forms of Autism under the single umbrella term Autism Spectrum Disorder. Previously Austism was divided into three categories: Autistic Disorders, Aspergers and Pervasive Development Disorder.

Under the reclassified umbrella term of ASD or Autism Spectrum Disorder, these Spectrum diagnoses entail three categories in order of increasing severity from Level 1, 2 or 3. With Autism, no two people will have the same symptoms, and no two people will respond to the same treatment.

Autism is Neurodiverse. Neurodiverse means variable. Neurodiverse suggests individual. Neurodiverse implies uniqueness. Neurodiverse conveys difference. 

At this point, researchers have not been able to determine a single cause for Autism Spectrum Disorder. It is a widely held belief that genetics may play some part. What we do know is that: how a child is brought up, or whether you have or have not bonded with your child has absolutely nothing to do with the developing brain in babies and young children.

A recent study into neurons and synapse connections of the brain indicates that Autism could be the result of too many synapses or synaptic connections between the brain cells. In simple terms, you could liken it to an over-supply of electrical currents in a particular area which causes a short-circuit. This sudden outage results in the pathway for specific skills or communication to become blocked, creating a deficit for the development of skills necessary for communication, learning or sensory projection.

ASD
Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism is a lifelong condition that affects the way an individual relates to people and their environment.


 

(ASD) is a complex developmental condition involving persistent challenges in social interaction, speech, nonverbal communication, and restricted/repetitive behaviours presenting in 1-in-4 babies and children.

Symptoms can range from extreme and debilitating for non-verbal Autism to quite the opposite (which is why the classification has changed to 'spectrum disorder'). Spectrum disorders also include high functioning individuals who may find their ability to communicate with others socially awkward, lack cognitive empathy or have repetitive habits and routines which others classify as odd. Cognition is considered to be a core element because it involves so many skills (the ability to predict and interpret other people's thoughts or intentions, to read between the lines and to be able to think from another perspective). Despite the research, many Aspies don't lack empathy in general. They have plenty of emotional empathy, which is the ability to share the feelings of another person, and compassionate empathy (which is feeling someone else's pain and taking action to help). For many people diagnosed with Autism or Asperger's related conditions, they may have too much emotional and compassionate energy. It is being able to translate that feeling, communicating & actioning it appropriately that is a matter of discourse for many ASDs.

Although these symptoms may not sound especially stressful on their own, there are other comorbidities which often present hand-in-hand with Autism. Mild or severe, they play havoc with each person and include conditions such as anxiety, depression, gut inflammation and other gut diseases. And no two people with Autism will have the same symptoms. It's that diverse.

Since the mid 90's and early 2000's mental health professionals and psychiatrists have reclassified the various syndromes of Aspergers and the milder forms of Autism under the single umbrella term Autism Spectrum Disorder. Previously Austism was divided into three categories: Autistic Disorders, Aspergers and Pervasive Development Disorder.

Under the reclassified umbrella term of ASD or Autism Spectrum Disorder, these Spectrum diagnoses entail three categories in order of increasing severity from Level 1, 2 or 3. With Autism, no two people will have the same symptoms, and no two people will respond to the same treatment.

Autism is Neurodiverse. Neurodiverse means variable. Neurodiverse suggests individual. Neurodiverse implies uniqueness. Neurodiverse conveys difference. 

At this point, researchers have not been able to determine a single cause for Autism Spectrum Disorder. It is a widely held belief that genetics may play some part. What we do know is that: how a child is brought up, or whether you have or have not bonded with your child has absolutely nothing to do with the developing brain in babies and young children.

 

Close-up of synapse receptors in the brain and how the neurotransmitters work

A recent study into neurons and synapse connections of the brain indicates that Autism could be the result of too many synapses or synaptic connections between the brain cells. In simple terms, you could liken it to an over-supply of electrical currents in a particular area which causes a short-circuit. This sudden outage results in the pathway for specific skills or communication to become blocked, creating a deficit for the development of skills necessary for communication, learning or sensory projection.

 

 

Close-up of synapse receptors in the brain are affected which cause Autism Spectrum Disorder

Seek professional help if you suspect a child or loved one has indicators of Autism. Red flags to look for do not necessarily mean Autism. However, they are there for a reason. We take these warnings seriously and consider all aspects before recommending further consultation with a specialised behaviour therapist or psychologist and a diagnosis can be made.

DO HEED THE WARNINGS SERIOUSLY AND GET YOUR CHILD CHECKED IF YOU SUSPECT ASC. EARLY INTERVENTION PROGRAMMES FOR AUTISM MEAN A BETTER OUTCOME FOR BUILDING AND DEVELOPING SKILLS LATER IN LIFE.

Before 2 years of age

  • Lack of eye contact - especially when you directly engage with them
  • Your baby or child does not smile back at you (social smiling) by 6 months of age
  • Absence of speech by 12 months - babbling, pointing, cooing
  • Avoidance of gesturing or pointing by 12 months
  • Unusual attachment to a particular object
  • Does not want to show you things
  • Does not want to be picked up and cuddled
  • Preference for repetitive play or movements
  • Loss of developed skills at any time

After 2 years of age

  • May only choose to interact with other people to achieve a goal (open a door, get a biscuit)
  • Prefers to play by themselves
  • Speaks in a flat, monotonous or high-pitched voice
  • Does not pretend play
  • Will repeat words or phrases over and over
  • Lines up toys or objects repeatedly
  • Fixates on objects or interests
  • Flaps hands, rocks back and forth or spins body
  • Hyperactivity
  • Avoids physical contact

An article explaining in-depth about Empathy in all its forms and how a person may have empathy in one or more areas can still come across as uncaring can be found here.

Up to 65% of children with autism do not develop the skills to communicate effectively

YOU CAN CHANGE THAT

https://www.autismspeaks.org/science-news/brain-study-finds-evidence-autism-involves-too-many-synapses#:~:text=A%20newly%20published%20brain%2Dtissue,brain%20development%2C%20the%20researchers%20say.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-athletes-way/201711/too-many-synaptic-connections-in-cerebellum-creates-problems

https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/signs.html

Early Signs

https://www.autismspeaks.org/signs-autism

The signs of autism

https://www.autism.org.uk/advice-and-guidance/what-is-autism/the-causes-of-autism

https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/autism/what-is-autism-spectrum-disorder

https://www.autismawareness.com.au/could-it-be-autism/understanding-autism/

https://raisingchildren.net.au/autism/ndis/ndis-early-intervention/early-intervention-ndis

https://www.aane.org/aspergers-syndrome-humor/

 

CONTENT UPDATED: SEPTEMBER 2020