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What is the autism spectrum?
Autism is usually said to be a spectrum of disorders or teh "autism-umbrella".It's called that 'cause the differences within autism is big and have several different diagnosis, but they all have problems in the same three areas.
ASD.jpg


The autism triangle/Triad of impairments


All people with autism have problems in the same three areas, but how the problems are shown differce from person to person. All autistic people are individuals too. But anyway, the three areas are: social interaction, language and communication & flexibility in thought.
Triad_of_impairments.jpg


Social interaction
Some of the problems in this area are:
Poor eye contact and/or may stare too long.
Prefer to play alone.
Problems with understanding nonverbal communication (gestures, facial expressions)
Stand too close or too far away.
Seem unaware of others feelings or thoughts.
Emotionally sensitive/raw/immature.
Unaware that you should interact with different people in different way (like one way with you family and another with you teacher instead of the same with both.)


Language and communication
Some of the problems in this area are:
Atypical language development.
Don't speak at all.
Lose previously acquired ability to communicate.
Speak with an unusual tone or rythm.
Repeat or echo words or phrases that have been said to them (or that they have heard).
Difficulties with starting and maintaining a conversation.
Can't read between the lines.
Take what is said (or read) literally.
Talks about their interests regardless of others being interested or not.
Makes comments inappropriate to the context.
Have difficulties understanding spoken word (reading can sometimes goes better).


Flexibility in thoughts
Some of the problem in this area are:
Engage in repetitive movements such as rocking, spinning and hand flapping.
Prefer specific routines, orders and rituals.
Fascinated by parts of an object and may not use things "as they should".
Can't generalize information.
Have special interests that takes a big amount of time. (could become a problem)

Visual thinking (isn't a problem in itself, but make it harder to understand others and others to understand the person with autism.)


Other usual problems
There is some problems that are usual in people with autism that is not a criteria to have autism.
Some of these problems are:
Sensitive or insensitive to sensory impressions.

Mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder.
Motor difficulties.
Attention difficulties.

Learning disabilites.
Mental retardation.



A few words from me
There is so much more to teach people about autism, but this is a start.
Please educate yourself!
I have autism myself and I get to hear prejudices every day!Two of the ones who impact on me the most are:
1. That people with autism lack empathy/feelings.
I know I have a lot of emotions and I do sense others feelings, the problem is to understand why they feel like they do and what I should do. I also have problems with understanding and cummunicate my own feelings.
2. That if you can speak you can't have any problems understanding what people say to you.
I wish that was true. Even though my verbal skills are good I still have problem to get what people tell me (and often what I read too). I don't mean the hidden stuff and such now. It's just like... the words don't get where they should go inside my brain.

I hope you have learnt something new about autism spectrum disorder and I also hope that you want to read more about it and spread information about it too. ^-^

More information
National Autism Centre
Autism Today
KidsHealth Autism
(easy to read)
 

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I've always been interested in autism spectrum disorders. My cousin is autistic, I believe, and I can relate to some of the symptoms.Thank you for posting! :)
 
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