Autism (autism spectrum disorder, ASD) is a group of nervous system disorders characterized by difficulty with communication and social interaction, explains Jill Celady-Schulman, MD. The diagnosis includes a wide range of symptoms, and the degree of the disorder can range from mild to severe, which becomes grounds for a disability determination. Signs of autism can be identified in early childhood, but usually the diagnosis is made later in life.
How does autism manifest itself in children? The symptoms of autism are listed by Neha Pathak, MD: Lack of eye contact. Narrow range of interests or intense interest in certain topics. Repetitive actions: repeating words or phrases, rocking back and forth, or spinning. High sensitivity to sounds, touches, smells or sights that seem common to others. Intolerance of touching, hugging. Problems with understanding or using language, gestures, facial expressions, or tone of voice. Talking in a tuneful, level voice or robot voice. Problems adapting to changes in routines.
How do children with autism behave? WebMD editor’s note these behaviors: The child does not respond to his or her name until the first birthday. Does not like to play, share or talk with others. Prefers to be alone. Avoids physical contact, including hugs. Avoids eye contact. Does not allow comforting. Does not understand his or others’ emotions. Does not reach out to be picked up or guided while walking. How does autism manifest itself in adults? Symptoms of autism in adults, writes Dr. Timothy J. Legg, include inability to make eye contact or listen to people, intolerance of touch, preference for solitude, inappropriate gestures and facial expressions.
Problems with starting and continuing conversations, excessive talking about a favorite topic without regard to the reactions of others, speech problems or unusual speech patterns. Inability to express emotions or recognize them in others. Problems with recognizing simple social cues and more. All are accompanied by repetitive movements, development of daily rituals and routines, fixation on certain objects, and specific food preferences.