What is Autism?
Autism is a brain disorder that typically affects a person’s ability to communicate, form relationships with others, and respond appropriately to the environment. Some people with autism are relatively high-functioning, with speech and intelligence intact. Others are mentally retarded, non-verbal, or have serious language delays. For some, autism makes them seem closed off and shut down; others seem locked into repetitive behaviors and rigid patterns of thinking.
Although people with autism do not have exactly the same symptoms and deficits, they tend to share certain social, communication, motor, and sensory problems that affect their behavior in predictable ways.
A Pennsylvania-based organization has an excellent video based explanation of the signs and symptoms of autism.
Behaviors of Infants With Autism
Infants with Autism:
* Avoid eye contact
* Seem deaf
* Start developing language, then abruptly stop talking altogether
* Act as if unaware of the coming and going of others
* Physically attack and injure others without provocation
* Inaccessible, as if in a shell
Exploration of environment:
* Remain fixated on a single item or activity
* Practice strange actions like rocking or hand-flapping
* Sniff or lick toys
* Show no sensitivity to burns or bruises, and engage in self-mutilation, such as eye gouging
Problems in social relatedness and communication.
(Difficulty in mixing with other children; prefers to be alone; aloof manner; difficulty in expressing needs; uses gestures or pointing instead of words ).
Abnormal responses to one or a combination of senses; such as sight, hearing, touch, balance, smell, taste, and reaction to pain.
Sustained odd play.
Uneven gross/ fine motor skills.
Not responsive to verbal cues; acts as deaf.
Little or no eye contact.
Insistence on sameness; resist changes in routine.
Noticeable physical over activity or extreme under activity.
Tantrums; displays extreme distress for no apparent reason.
Speech and language absence or delays.
Inappropriate laughing and giggling.
Echolalia (repeating words or phrases in place of normal language).
Abnormal ways of relating to people, objects and events. (Inappropriate attachment to objects; doesn’t seek cuddling )