Today it is increasingly important to identify the symptoms of autism early. In order to act on the developmental processes in the formation phase. Current research supports the importance of early diagnosis (around 18 months) for better surgery outcomes. Several studies report that interventions that begin before age 4 are associated with improvements in cognition, language, adaptive behavior, daily living skills and social communication . However, the diagnosis of autism is currently still relatively late (around 3-4 years). In this guideline, you can know how does autism diagnosis work? So, keep your two eyes on this context!!
Is autism diagnosis work in this present time?
The diagnosis can be made, at the present time, only diagnosis of the presence of behavioral symptoms. This have been defined by the World Health Organization, at any age. If the symptoms have been present since childhood, and, in cases with a better functioning.
It can also be placed in adulthood. In making a diagnosis of autism, it is important to carry out a comprehensive assessment. It provides a comprehensive picture of the child’s condition.
What are the basic assessment of the autism diagnosis?
The main elements that must be need out in this purpose are:
#1 Functional assessment : allows you to know the strengths and difficulties of the child and to calibrate the intervention on his specific needs
#2 Normative evaluation : The aims to analyze the child’s intellectual level (IQ). It is based on the comparison with the average values of the peer group
Is diagnosis made by a team of specific people?
Given the variability of the characteristics of autism and the similarity of some of these to other conditions (developmental delay, language delay, dyspraxia. For example: a difficulty or delay in the development of motor coordination, hyperactivity, depression, etc.).
It is necessary that the diagnosis is made by a team of people with specific training and experience. Such as psychologists, neuropsychiatrists, speech therapists, neuropsychomotricists, tenured teachers and educational assistants.
Asperger’s syndrome in children and adults, strengths, therapy
The diagnostic picture of Asperger syndrome (AS) shares with autistic disorder symptoms in the context of ‘ social interaction and repetitive and restricted behaviors and interests . It differs from autistic disorder in that in Asperger’s Syndrome there is no clinically significant delay in cognitive development, language, adaptive behavior and curiosity about the environment.
Asperger’s Syndrome, present in the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. It has been incorporated into the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder in the fifth edition of the same. However, in the clinical setting, the term is still used to differentiate the two conditions and their respective types of intervention.
Specific diagnostic tools and its value
The diagnosis of Asperger’s can be accurately placed in children after the age of 5, while before this age it is not very reliable. In addition there are specific diagnostic tools and criteria for diagnosis in adulthood.
Asperger’s syndrome is generally diagnosed in the second half of childhood, more likely when the demands of society exceed personal capacities. It become increasingly complex both from a behavioral and above all, relational point of view. It may happen that the subjects themselves realize their difference and feel inadequate towards others. The situations of daily life that require flexibility and social skills that are lacking in children with AS.
Characteristics of Asperger’s Syndrome
One of the typical characteristics is the difficulty, on the part of people with Asperger’s, to manage social conduct and their relationships and interactions with others . Social behavior may appear unusual and conversation style peculiar. Young children with Asperger’s may appear unmotivated to play with other children of their age.
Some may be spectators on the sidelines of the game or may prefer to be with younger or older children. When they get involved in the game, there can be a tendency to impose their business according to their rules. Sometimes social activity is avoided.
The child with Asperger’s Syndrome he does not seem aware of the implicit rules of social conduct and can often use conduct or say things that are inappropriate to the context and social situation of reference.
The child uses little eye contact by integrating it into speech.
People with Asperger’s often display unusual language skills , which include a large vocabulary and elaborate syntax. But conversation skills and use of language in a social context appear poor and immature. The child may have the ability to invent unique words or use language in an idiosyncratic and original way.
Often this is accompanied by a peculiarity in the tone of the voice or in the rhythm with which the speech is articulated. One can notice an absence of variability in the rhythm, in the timbre, or in the melody of the speech. There may often be a poor integration and homogeneity between the verbal and non-verbal channel of the conversation.
As a teenager, the boy with Asperger’s may begin to display overly formal language. Sometimes their strong interest and enthusiasm for a certain topic leads them to be talkative. It can appear boring and pedantic.
Alternative characteristic of the person with Asperger’s Syndrome
Another characteristic of the person with Asperger’s Syndrome is the literal interpretation of what is said. The person is poorly aware of the hidden, implicit or multiple meanings. This feature also affects understanding common idioms or metaphors.
People with Asperger’s Syndrome have a tendency to be attracted to a particular interest. It ends up dominating much of the person’s time and conversations. These interests are often solitary and idiosyncratic (peculiar in their manifestation). Habit and routine also seem to impose themselves on the lives of people with Asperger’s. Often these people need a certain predictability and order in their daily life.
Some important things that you should know
The cognitive profile is generally inhomogeneous ; there may be above-average abilities of peers in some domains, and skills deficient in others. Some Asperger’s children in school may show greater academic skills than their peers.
Even the expression and recognition of emotions and facial expressions seem particularly compromised in these people. The child with Asperger’s shows little variety in facial expressions and may have difficulty recognizing other people’s thoughts and feelings. They may have a limited vocabulary to describe emotions and a lack of subtlety and variety in the expression of emotions.
Sensory sensitivity – The way you think
There is some sensory sensitivity present . It often manifests itself towards specific sounds. But there may also be tactile sensitivities, sensitivities regarding the intensity of light. The taste and texture of certain foods, as well as sensibility towards certain smells.
There is some motor awkwardness in many of the children with Asperger’s. Coordination can be immature and adults with Asperger’s Syndrome may exhibit an odd gait. Sometimes it lacks fluidity and effectiveness.
Strengths of Asperger’s Syndrome
Too often, it is forgotten that people with AS have numerous characteristics that give them an edge. It supporting the claim that different does not always mean worse. Without taking for granted the skill that is obviously necessary to adapt to a world that can often be foreign and incomprehensible, other strengths are:
#1 Honesty : well being due to the fact that these people do not grasp social boundaries, and therefore tend to say the truth even in situations where this might lead to problems, this feature can be very advantageous in psychotherapy, as it allows you to’ intervention to proceed more quickly, without running into blocks or slowdowns due to unspoken things
#2 Humor : always with adaptation to the world, people with AS learn to use their peculiar sense of humor to encourage social interactions
#3 Tendency to be structured : by their nature, these people easily adhere to structured routines, and this too can be very beneficial for cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy (TCC)
#4 Interest in themselves and others : people with AS are often very motivated to undertake a psychotherapeutic path, as they perceive the difficulties they have to face daily, and this pushes them to undertake the help path in an active and involved way.
Poor problem solving and judgment skills .
Although they may have a good adaptation and a high level of education, adults with Asperger’s Syndrome are characterized by poor problem solving skills and difficulty in making judgments , which is why some of them may require psychotherapeutic intervention due to regression. of functioning, which occurred following stressful events or important life changes (the latter also include the natural changes due to the phases of development and growth)
Lack of independence .
A second characteristic of adults with Asperger’s is frustration with a lack of independence . This is also one of the reasons why the transition from childhood to adulthood is an extremely delicate moment. In this period, in fact, changes in the context of study, work and social interactions can highlight the difficulties that these people present, especially in comparison with peers.
In this way, to the frustration of not reaching, eventually, total independence (for example economic or working). It is added the awareness of not meeting expectations towards themselves. This is especially those individuals who have accumulated academic achievement in the past. This is leading people around them to assume that the transition to university or work would be easy
Emotional dysregulation .
Adults with Asperger’s Syndrome may also have a more or less marked difficulty in regulating emotions , in particular anxiety and anger . This can lead to aggravating problems in establishing and maintaining interpersonal relationships. Thus favoring the emergence of further anger and frustration and creating a vicious circle that is difficult to resolve.
Anxiety, on the other hand, is fueled by the difficulty in understanding how to behave in social contexts, and in deciphering non-verbal language and social canons. This can lead the person to decide to give up relationships and interactions, with consequent development of avoidance and withdrawal
Isolation and depression .
As a natural consequence of the above, pervasive feelings of loneliness and isolation can emerge. In some cases, favor the onset of depression , given that, contrary to what is usually thought. The people with Asperger’s Syndrome are often very interested and motivated.
To make friends and relationships, but lack the skills to do so. This point is very important and unfortunately tends to be underestimated. Because often the intelligence and talents of these people can mask the depressive symptoms, which are therefore difficult to diagnose.
Lack of work – is it create impact
Finally, a problem often reported by adults with Asperger’s Syndrome is underemployment / unemployment. Despite having average or higher intelligence. These people are penalized by the difficulties they have in adapting to the working environment and in relating with colleagues and superiors.
Furthermore, in addition to the social disabilities that may be present. There is also often a low tolerance to stress and it leads to maladaptive reactions(for example, self-injurious behaviors). This can lead those around them to judge Asperger adults as bizarre or, sometimes, dangerous. It is therefore easy to understand how this set of characteristics can lead to considerable difficulties in finding and maintaining a job.
Which things we should remember
All this, it must be remembered, adds to the typical characteristics of the Syndrome: in addition to the aforementioned impairment of social and interpersonal functioning, a range of restricted and repetitive interests is manifested which, in the most fortunate cases, is seen as a particularity, but which it is rarely interpreted as a peculiar talent, on which to bet also, for example, for entering the world of work.
Since Asperger’s Syndrome , as well as other disorders included in the autism spectrum. This is described as tending to be diagnosed in childhood or adolescence. There are currently very few studies that treat the manifestation of the Syndrome in adulthood. However, it is still possible to identify some characteristics that can be found in Asperger’s people.
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