What Exactly Do they Experience?
Communication and Interaction Difficulties
Persons with ASD are not consistent with making eye contact: they may make little eye contact or none at all. They point out objects to people instead of communicating verbally, and they have difficulties looking at people or listening to them. ASD patients have problems engaging in a conversation or a dialogue, and when they talk, they talk at length about a topic that interests them, not minding the fact that others may not be listening to them or interested in what they are talking about. They also do not give their listeners a chance to respond to what they have said, they just keep talking. Persons with autism spectrum disorder may be slow to respond to someone who calls their name or persons who try to gain their attention verbally. They may have facial expressions and gestures that contradict what is being discussed, they may also have a voice tone that sounds like they are singing when talking or have a flat robot-like voice. ASD patients may also be unable to comprehend the point of view of another person or understand their actions.
Restrictive and Repetitive Behaviors
ASD patients may exhibit echolalia, which is a behavior disorder that causes one to repeat words and phrases. They may also repeat some certain behaviors, and they may have an intense interest in some topics that are usually long-lasting. Persons who have a form of autism spectrum disorder may be extremely interested in moving objects. They may throw tantrums at the slightest change in their daily routine and they may be sensitive or not as sensitive to sensory input such as light, loud noises, temperature or clothing.
People with ASD may have problems sleeping, and this causes them to be aggressive, hyperactive and unfocused. The exact cause of autism spectrum disorder is not known yet, but persons who have a sibling with ASD, older parents, low birth weight and some genetic conditions may be at risk of having ASD. Autism spectrum disorder has levels, depending on how severe it is.
Levels of Autism Spectrum Disorder
Require Support (ASD Level 1)
Persons who have level 1 ASD require little support which is a therapy that could improve their communication skills. They have obvious difficulties in communicating with people and socializing. It is uneasy for patients who have this level of ASD to maintain or engage in a dialogue, they also may find it difficult to make new friends and would, therefore, need help to learn how to communicate and socialize. An ASD level 1 patient may not be interested in social activities, social interactions, may be unable to contribute constructively or expressive themselves properly in a conversation, may find it tough to change behavior or routine, and they may be ineffective at planning and organizing. This level of ASD may be able to lead a good life with little support such as behavioral therapy, which may help improve their social life and communication skills.
Require Substantial Support (ASD Level 2)
Persons with this level of autism require a substantial amount of support. They exhibit symptoms that make daily activities tiring. They have a hard time adapting to the surroundings or a change in routine, they do not have verbal and nonverbal communication skills, neither do have social skills. ASD level 2 patients have noticeable behavioral issues, narrow and specific interests, and they communicate using simple sentences. They may also be sensitive to lights, loud noises, offending smells, and distracting visual changes. Autism spectrum disorder patients at this level would need sensory integration therapy and occupational therapy that may help them develop occupational skills that would most likely increase their quality of life.
Require Much Support (ASD Level 3)
This level of ASD is the most severe level where the patients need a high level of support. These patients do not only lack verbal and nonverbal communication skill, but they also display restrictive and repetitive behaviors. Restrictive behaviors are behaviors that cause ASD patients to seclude themselves from the rest of the world, which makes them obsessive about having a routine and not wanting that to change. Repetitive behaviors are behaviors that cause ASD patients to repeat words, phrases or gestures over and over again. Persons with ASD level 3 may lack verbal and nonverbal communication skills, they may not want to interact socially, they may have problems changing focus and trouble changing how they behave. These patients would need intense therapy that would improve their social life, behavior, and communication skill. They would also benefit greatly from medications that can manage some of their symptoms such as depression, trouble sleeping, and focusing.
Types of Autism Spectrum Disorder
This type of ASD can also be called classic autism. Persons who have autistic disorder usually have delayed communicative skills and challenges in their social and communication skills. Autistic disorder is the most common and severe form of autism. They resent physical contact, experience sensory overload, exhibit restrictive and/or repetitive behaviors and they often avoid eye contact. Autistic patients are, however, often brilliant as they may excel in arithmetics, measuring, art or music Persons with autism may medical conditions such as sleep disorders, seizures, and gastrointestinal disorders.
This is a mild form of ASD. Persons who have this type of ASD can communicate quite fairly with other people but they may have trouble interacting with other people socially. They are also passionate or obsessive with a topic or the exhibition of a particular behavior. They are usually socially awkward and avoid eye contact. Persons with Asperger’s syndrome may also be unable to comprehend and interpret body language or facial expressions. They may not know when a person is angry, judging by the body language and facial expression. They may also be unable to express their emotional state, and they tend to talk using an emotionless voice tone or a robot-like voice.
Pervasive Developmental Disorder
Persons with this type of disorder find it uneasy to keep up with a conversation, inability to write their thoughts, they avoid eye contact, they cannot keep their emotions in check, and, they exhibit repetitive behaviors. They may be interested in moving objects and parts of toys rather than the toy itself. Persons with pervasive developmental disorder do not believe in ‘make beliefs’ or things that they believe not to be factual.
Autism spectrum disorder is an array of disorders that affect the development of a child. Children who have any form of ASD may start to exhibit symptoms from the age of 2 years. This disorder is incurable but can be treated and managed with therapies and medications that may improve the quality of life of such persons.