Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), refers to a range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication, as well as by unique strengths and differences.

Associated Challenges & Traits

Some ASD Traits could include:

  • Scatter/splinter skills of abilities – such as poor gross motor or fine motor skills
  • Oversensitive or under sensitive to pain
  • Desire for the same daily schedule, toys, type of clothes or an insistent on “sameness”
  • Repeating words, phrases in place of typical language or conversation (This is known as echolalia)
  • Much difficulty expressing needs – they may use pointing, gestures versus words, or tantrums
  • Finding situations funny or laughing at times when it is inappropriate (i.e., laughing at a baby crying.)
  • Activity is noticeably under active or over active
  • Excessive or frequent tantrums or meltdowns
    Can be aggressive or self injurious
  • Prefers to be alone – may have social skills deficits
    People on the spectrum can act deaf or be non responsive to verbal cues
  • Odd play such as; spinning objects, or using toys for something besides their intended purpose or using an odd attraction to an item that is inappropriate for age
  • Non existent or poor eye contact
    Non responsive to typical teaching methods
  • May respond negatively to crowds or not able to mix well with others
    Difficulty with holding a conversation
  • May not like hugs, or to be cuddled.
  • Sensitivity to loud noises, tags in clothes, coarse clothing, lights, and smells
  • Frequently uses peripheral vision to track items (e.g., rolling car along countertop at eye-level)
  • Highly self-limited diet (narrow down foods they’ll eat to a very limited few items when previously a broader range was accepted e.g., bread, chicken nuggets, cheese, milk, and crackers – period.)
  • A high amount of severe food allergies.
  • Lack of imaginative play or imitation.
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Many of the traits can occur in neurotypical individuals as well. However, the more symptoms from this list that apply (at least eight or more,) the possibility of autism might be considered and discussed with your doctor or a qualified specialist.

Associated Challenges & Traits

Associated Challenges

  • An estimated one-third of people with autism are nonverbal.
  • Nearly half of those with autism wander or bolt from safety.
  • Nearly two-thirds of children with autism between the ages of 6 and 15 have been bullied.
  • Nearly 28 percent of 8-year-olds with ASD have self-injurious behaviors. Head banging, arm biting and skin scratching are among the most common.
  • Drowning remains a leading cause of death for children with autism and accounts for approximately 90 percent of deaths associated with wandering or bolting by those age 14 and younger.
  • Autism can affect the whole body.
  • Attention Deficient Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) affects an estimated 30 to 61 percent of children with autism.
  • More than half of children with autism have one or more chronic sleep problems.
  • Anxiety disorders affect an estimated 11 to 40 percent of children and teens on the autism spectrum.
  • Depression affects an estimated 7% of children and 26% of adults with autism.
  • Children with autism are nearly eight times more likely to suffer from one or more chronic gastrointestinal disorders than are other children.
  • As many as one-third of people with autism have epilepsy (seizure disorder).
  • Studies suggest that schizophrenia affects between 4 and 35 percent of adults with autism. By contrast, schizophrenia affects an estimated 1.1 percent of the general population.
  • Autism-associated health problems extend across the life span – from young children to senior citizens. Nearly a third (32 percent) of 2 to 5 year olds with autism are overweight and 16 percent are obese. By contrast, less than a quarter (23 percent) of 2 to 5 year olds in the general population are overweight and only 10 percent are medically obese.
  • More than half of young adults with autism remain unemployed and unenrolled in higher education in the two years after high school. This is a lower rate than that of young adults in other disability categories, including learning disabilities, intellectual disability or speech-language impairment.
  • Nearly half of 25-year-olds with autism have never held a paying job.
  • Research demonstrates that job activities that encourage independence reduce autism symptoms and increase daily living skills.
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