Autism traits are becoming more widely accepted. Whilst autism may present in different ways depending on where you are on the spectrum, it is not wise to ignore it as there is a lot of help and support out there nowadays which can assist normal functioning and a normal life.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) affects the lives of so many people regardless of age. Whether it is you who are affected directly or whether you are a family member or friend of someone with autism, it is more commonly diagnosed these days. It is a neurological and developmental disorder that negatively affects a person's ability to interact and communicate with others. The disorder also causes problems in someone's learning as well as feeling, thinking, language, and behaviour.
A child or an adult with autism may find it difficult to function properly in school or the workplace. They may struggle with concentration, or it may be difficult to follow instructions or they may find socialising difficult.
Though there is no exact remedy for autism, early diagnosis is encouraged for early intervention.
Here are some of the symptoms to look out for in a children you suspect may have ASD:
- Difficulties with social interaction
- Repetitive behaviours such as repeating words and phrases
- Unusual or restricted or interests in objects
- Strong reactions to their senses
- Little to no eye contact
- Unresponsive to conversations
- Inattentive such as not looking or listening to people
- Talk constantly
- Movements, gestures, and facial expressions that do not relate to what is being shown or said
- Highly unusual tone of voice
- Failing to understand a person's actions or points of view
- Easily gets annoyed in slight changes of patterns and routines
- To understand fully, let us classify these traits into 3 categories: behavioural, social interaction, and communication.
Behavioural Autism Traits
This refers to how a person reacts or responds to a certain stimulus. Children with autism struggle to respond to the environment that surrounds them which makes it hard for them to express their feelings and engage in communication.
These behavioural issues can be rooted in the extreme or low sensitivity of a child when it comes to sound, smell, taste, as well as to other senses. They find it uncomfortable when dealing in some situations that may seem new to them.
As a result, they tend to find comfort by doing and repeating the same routine or activity. This is their way to attain security. They are slow to adapt to changes that is why you will see them react adversely when uncertainty or a new environment comes in place.
- Some of the behavioural traits include:
- Strong fixation or focus on certain objects
- Repetitive and stereotyped body movements such as running, spinning, climbing, and hand flapping
- Tends to use the same object repeatedly such as lining up toys, wearing a shirt with the same colour, and switching lights on and off
- Doing the exact same routine every day such us as wearing his favourite shoe, playing the same toy, and going the same route
- Intense sensory interests such as staring closely at something for a long period of time, tasting and sniffing objects
- Strong sensitivities to sounds and feels unusual to some textures such as hearing vacuum cleaners, etc.
These behavioural signs make the child acts differently from a normal kid at his age. They act and respond in an unusual way that you will be surprised they will be talking everything about dinosaurs even though no one is showing interest to listen. Bright sunlight, car engine, and others can trigger strong reactions to kids with ASD due to their high sensitivities.
Also, because children with autism have difficulties in the smell, colours, and textures, they only eat the food they like. This limits the kind of foods they consume which may affect the child's health.
Social Autism Traits
Social interaction, it is how a child communicates and mingles with the people around him. In the first few years of life a child learns how to play with their peers and interact with the environment that surrounds them.
Kids with autism may experience difficulties in creating and maintaining relationships.
Perhaps they do not pick up on social cues.
Perhaps they ignore someone who is calling their name.
Perhaps they keep obsessively talking about a subject even though clearly, others are not interested.
Due to some of these autism traits, people with autism can sometimes be bullied and ridiculed. Individuals with ASD often do not respond accordingly to a lot of non-verbal communications such as making eye contact as well as physical gestures and different facial expressions.
This disorder makes it hard for them to interpret what is being shown or what emotions are expressed. They cannot express themselves the same way and do not cannot understand the needs of others.
One of the common autism traits is appearing shy and withdrawn or aloof and disinterested.
Some of the social interaction autism traits include:
- Lack of interest in group work and activities
- Often chooses to be distant and alone
- Does not seem to enjoy being with other people and feels uncomfortable mingling
- Not socially responsive
- Unable to understand the needs and emotions of others
- Struggles to establish relationships
- Fails to properly respond and understand non-verbal communication
- Does not want to engage in the interest of others
- Does not give attention to people speaking and interacting with him
People with autism spectrum disorder opt to not involve themselves in situations where they will meet new faces and do a new set of activities, tasks, and routines. They find a sense of security if they do things alone as opposed to teaming up with other people.
Another common autism trait is the preference to do repetitive activities. Instead of learning new things, they prefer to do the same thing every day. They love routines and sometimes get very upset if their routine is changed.
Communication Autism Traits
This autism trait refers to the developmental delay of the child's language ability. Children with autism can be observed speaking limited words. Generally by the age of 2years , most children have a vocabulary of over 100 words. In contrast, a child with ASD may use less than 50 words or not speak at all.
Another communication autism trait is repeating the same words or phrases over and over again. The speech also sounds flat and monotonous.
If your child is unable to express themselves, they are more prone to frustration, tantrums and outbursts as they cannot convey what they need.
Some communication traits include:
- Impaired speech
- Speaking with very limited words
- Repeating words and phrases
- Asking the same questions repetitively
- Talk only about the topics that interest them
- Difficulties in understanding gestures and other facial expressions
- Lack of interest in others conversations
- Difficulties in establishing and sustaining conversations
Kids with ASD tend to speak in single words rather than constructing complete sentences, thus, making communication more difficult. When speaking with others, they usually love to dominate conversations with the subject of their interest. They also take the words literally since understanding connotative meaning such as metaphors may be difficult.
Autism in Children
ASD commonly is diagnosed in childhood and continues through adulthood. The symptoms may vary but differences in behaviour, communication, and social interaction are evident.
Kids can be hyperactive and show signs of ADHD. Early intervention may include medication or behavioural therapy. Sometimes tools like weighted blankets make a huge difference in helping the child feel comforted, secure and sleep better.
The early you diagnose the issue, the easier it is to understand and comfort your child. And the quicker they can learn and implement techniques for better learning and improved social interaction.
Autism in Adults
Adults who have autism disorder may find maintain normal relationships and seeking normal employment tricky. However, there is a lot of help to access now, plus a lot of freelance work where people can work from home, be creative and contribute hugely to companies.
Some companies specialise in hiring autistic people. Also remember many famous and brilliant people were autistic. So never give up and keep learning new skills if you need the, Like everyone else in the workforce, learning is constant in this fast paced world and we must all continually adapt.