What is Autism?
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability caused by differences in the brain. People with ASD may behave, communicate, interact, and learn in ways that are different from most other people.
The essential features of autism spectrum disorder are persistent impairment in reciprocal social communication and social interaction, and restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities. These symptoms are present from early childhood and limit or impair everyday functioning. Autism spectrum disorder encompasses disorders previously referred to as early infantile autism, childhood autism, Kanner’s autism, high functioning autism, atypical autism, pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified, childhood disintegrative disorder, and Asperger’s disorder.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) begins before the age of 3 years and can last throughout a person’s life, although symptoms may improve over time. Deficits in social-emotional reciprocity (i.e. ability to engage with others and share thoughts and feelings) are clear to identify in young children with the disorder. They may show little or no interest in initiation of social interactions, understanding and/or demonstrating emotions in self or others, reduced or absent of imitation of other’s behavior. The language exists is often one-sided mostly used to request or label rather comment, share feelings, or converse.
As children with ASD become adolescents and young adults, deficits in social-emotional reciprocity may be most apparent in difficulties processing and responding to complex social cues (examples: joining conversation, maintaining conversations, initiating conversations)
Signs and Symptoms
- Avoids or does not maintain eye contact
- Does not respond to name.
- Does not orient to the vocal or visual stimuli in the environment
- Does not recognize or show facial expressions like happy, sad, angry, and surprised by 9 months of age
- Does not take part in early social games like chase/run by 12 months of age
- Does not respond to or initiate greeting with others.
- Does not express interest in the events in the environment.
- Does not initiate or join play with other children.
- Does not engage in Functional Pretend Play.
- Does not imitate simple or complex actions of others in the environment.
- Engage in repetitive speech (i.e., repeating words/ phrases repeatedly)
- Likes to line up toys, or other objects.
- Lacks social flexibility and get upset with minor changes in routine or the order of things in the environment.
- Engage in behaviors like flapping hands, rocking back and forth, spinning in circles, biting self or others, spitting, mouthing non – edible items, and lining up objects in an order.
| Lavel 1(mild) |
|Level 2 (moderate) |
Requires substantial support
Requires very substantial support
|Maladaptive/Restrictive & Repetitive Behavior|
|Activities of daily living (ADL)|
Level 1: May communicate using full sentences but may have deficits in maintaining back and forth conversations, initiating conversations. May show lack of interest in any social interactions.
Level 2: Deficits in verbal and nonverbal skills. Limited social interaction. May require significant support with the activities of daily living.
Level 3: Deficits in verbal and nonverbal skills. Very minimal or no response to social interactions. Requires lot of support with the activities of daily living.
What is Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)?
Applied Behavior Analysis is a scientific approach of understanding behavior. Applied behavior Analysis uses the basic principles of behavior analysis to study the environment and its impact on the behavior. The approach seeks to develop socially acceptable appropriate behaviors by replacing the inappropriate behaviors. It further teaches individuals with autism how to functionally communicate with their environment setting them up for success in the future.