Autism Spectrum Disorder is defined by a certain set of behaviors and is a “spectrum condition” that affects individuals differently and to varying degrees. Researchers and scientists studying autism report that increased awareness and early diagnosis with intervention helps provide access to appropriate services that address the challenges of living with autism. These support systems are designed to lead those living with this disability to having a better quality of life.
Some of the behaviors associated with autism include delayed learning of language; difficulty making eye contact or holding a conversation; difficulty with executive functioning, which relates to reasoning and planning; intense interests often described as obsessive or compulsive; and a lack of motor skills and sensitivity to light and sound.
Persons diagnosed with autism can manifest a few symptoms we have described in this article or many of these behaviors. The diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder is applied based on analysis of all known communication and social behaviors.
Recommended Read: Management of Autism
Medical professionals have different tests that assist them in making a diagnosis for autistic behaviors. These tests can be greatly different, but testing done to measure the autistic spectrum include tests to measure social imagination, social communication (verbal and non-verbal), and social interaction.
According to the Autism Research Institute, autism may manifest in response to sensory stimuli, such as being oversensitive to sensory inputs such as sound, lights, touches, tastes, smells, objects or people. Sometimes autistic children are identified as those that choose repetitive patterns of activities and as those having extreme anxiety when these patterns are changed in any way. Some of these repetitive behaviors include sudden movements or gestures that are used as comfort mechanisms by the child that is having trouble coping with changes either at home or in school. Because children that lack certain types of brain development may compensate with other skills as a natural part of learning, autism testing may also measure creativity in music or art, or explore special skills in math, memory or construction.
Recommended Read: Prognosis of Autism
The description “autistic savant” refers to individuals with autism disabilities who also have extraordinary skills not exhibited by most persons. Not every autistic child is a savant, but the estimated prevalence of savant abilities in autism is 10 percent, whereas the prevalence in the non-autistic population, including those with mental retardation, is less than one percent.