Autistic Disorder

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Autistic Disorder

Autism is a developmental disorder that is characterized by impaired development in

communication, social interaction, and behavior. Autism afflicts one out of every

100 to 166 children and it affects the lives of many children and their families

It tends to affect about five boys to every one girl Autism is classified as a pervasive developmental disorder, a category of disorders that is often described interchangeably with the broad spectrum of developmental disorders affecting young children and adults called the autistic spectrum disorders .The range of these disorders varies from severely impaired individuals with autism to other individuals who have abnormalities of social interaction  but normal intelligence, Asperger’s syndrome. The ways in which autism is exhibited can differ greatly. Additionally, autism can be found in association with other disorders such as mental retardation and certain medical conditions. The degree of autism can range from mild to severe. Mildly affected individuals may appear very close to normal. Severely afflicted individuals may have an extreme intellectual disability and unable to function in almost any setting

In the past, autism has been confused with childhood schizophrenia or childhood

psychosis. It has also been misunderstood as schizotypal personality disorder in

some adults. As additional research information about autism becomes available, the

scope and definition of the condition continues to become more refined. Some of the

past confusion about the disorder has been resolved.

There are three symptoms of AUSTICS :

1. Impairment in social interaction

2. Communication

3. Behaviors

Impairment in social interaction:

Individuals with autism fail to develop normal personal interactions in virtually every setting. This means that affected persons fail to form the normal social contacts that are such an important part of human development. This impairment may be so severe that it even affects the bonding between a mother and an infant. It is important to note that, contrary to popular belief, many, if not most, persons with this disorder are capable of showing affection, demonstrating affection bonding with their mothers or

other caregivers. However, the ways in which individuals with autism demonstrate

affection and bonding may differ greatly from the ways in which others do so. Their limited socialization may erroneously lead parents and pediatricians away from considering the diagnosis of autism.

As the child develops, interaction with others continues to be abnormal. Affected

behaviors can include eye contact, facial expressions, and body postures. There is usually an inability to develop normal peer and sibling relationships and the child often individuals.


Communication is usually severely impaired in persons with autism. What the individual

understands (receptive language) as well as what is actually spoken by the individual

(expressive language) are significantly delayed or nonexistent. Deficits in language

comprehension include the inability to understand simple directions, questions, or

commands. There may be an absence of dramatic or pretend play and these children

may not be able to engage in simple age-appropriate childhood games. Teens and

adults with autism may continue to engage in playing with games that are for young


Individuals with autism who do speak may be unable to initiate or participate in a

two-way conversation (reciprocal). Frequently the way in which a person with this

disorder speaks is perceived as unusual. Their speech may seem to lack the normal

emotion and sound flat or monotonous. The sentences are often very immature:

“want water” instead of “I want some water please.” Those with autism often repeat

words or phrases that are spoken to them. For example, you might say, “Look at

the airplane!” and the child may respond “at airplane,” without any knowledge of

what was said. This repetition is known as echolalia. Memorisation and recitation of

songs, stories, commercials, or even entire scripts is not uncommon. While many feel

this is a sign of intelligence, the autistic person usually does not appear to understand

any of the content in his or her speech.


Persons with autism often exhibit a variety of repetitive, abnormal behaviours. There

may also be a hypersensitivity to sensory input through vision, hearing, or touch

(tactile). As a result, there may be extreme intolerance to loud noises or crowd,

visual stimulation or things that are felt. Birthday parties and other celebrations can

be disastrous for some of these individuals. Wearing socks or tags on clothing may

be perceived as painful. Sticky fingers, playing with modelling clay, eating birthday

cake or other foods, or walking barefoot across the grass can be unbearable. On

the other hand, there may be an underdeveloped (hyposensitivity) response to the

same type of stimulation. This individual may use abnormal means to experience

visual, auditory, or tactile (touch) input. This person may head bang, scratch until

blood is drawn, scream instead of speaking in a normal tone, or bring everything into

close visual range. He or she might also touch an object, image or other people

thoroughly just to experience the sensory input.

Children and adults who have autism are often tied to routine and many everyday

tasks may be ritualistic. Something as simple as a bath might only be accomplished

after the precise amount of water is in the tub, the temperature is exact, the same

soap is in its assigned spot and even the same towel is in the same place. Any break

in the routine can provoke a severe reaction in the individual and place a tremendous

strain on the adult trying to work with him or her.

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