Are you on the autism spectrum quiz
Autism Quiz: Do I Have Autism?Autism Quiz: Do I Have Autism? | Psych Central
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Medically reviewed by Jeffrey Ditzell, DO — By Christina Ward — Updated on April 11, 2021
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects the way a person thinks, behaves, and communicates.
While children are typically screened for autism symptoms as early as 18 months, it can be diagnosed later in older children, adolescents, and even adults.
This brief, time-saving test is designed for anyone who thinks they might benefit from an autism screening or evaluation.
The items below will help you determine whether you may need an in-depth evaluation including screening tools, parental or family insight, and clinical observations.
A mental health professional can also help figure out if your symptoms might be a sign of another mental health condition and recommend treatment if needed.
This online screening is not a definitive tool. It will not conclusively guarantee that you have autism.
However, it will measure if you have any autism-related traits, based on your own self-assessment.
Only a trained medical professional, such as a doctor or mental health professional, can help you determine the next best steps for you.
This free autism quiz was adapted from the Autism Spectrum Screening Questionnaire (ASSQ) designed to screen for the possibility of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This is not a diagnostic tool and should be considered for personal use only. An accurate diagnosis can be made only through a clinical evaluation. If you think you might have ASD, consider speaking with a primary care doctor, psychiatrist or another mental health professional. They can perform a clinical evaluation that includes screening tools, parental or family insight, and clinical observations to arrive at the most accurate diagnosis.
The items below refer to your preferences and behaviors over the course of your life. For the results of this quiz to be most accurate, try to be as honest as possible in your responses.
This online screening is not a diagnostic tool. Only a trained medical professional, like a doctor or mental health professional, can help you determine the next best steps for you.
Ready to start therapy? Our Find a Therapist resource may help.
Last medically reviewed on April 11, 2021
- Baron-Cohen B, et al. (2001). The autism-spectrum quotient (AQ): Evidence from Asperger syndrome/high-functioning autism, males and females, scientists and mathematicians.
- Barrett SL, et al. (2015). The adult repetitive behaviours questionnaire-2 (RBQ-2A): A self-report measure of restricted and repetitive behaviours.
- Dell'Osso L, et al. (2017). Adult autism subthreshold spectrum (AdAS Spectrum): Validation of a questionnaire investigating subthreshold autism spectrum.
- Erikkson JM, et al. (2013). RAADS-14 Screen: Validity of a screening tool for autism spectrum disorder in an adult psychiatric population.
- Woodbury-Smith MR, et al. (2005). Screening adults for Asperger Syndrome using the AQ: A preliminary study of its diagnostic validity in clinical practice.
Medically reviewed by Jeffrey Ditzell, DO — By Christina Ward — Updated on April 11, 2021
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Autism Spectrum Disorder
This short quiz written by an expert can help you assess whether you are experiencing symptoms common among those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
John Carosso, PsyD
Who Is This Autism Quiz For?
Answer the quiz questions below to see if you could have autism as an adult.
Below is a list of questions that relate to life experiences common among adults diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Please read each question carefully, and indicate how often you have experienced the same or similar challenges in the past few months.
How Accurate Is It?
This quiz is NOT a diagnostic tool. Mental health disorders can only be diagnosed by licensed health care professionals.
Psycom believes assessments can be a valuable first step toward getting treatment. All too often people stop short of seeking help out of fear their concerns aren't legitimate or severe enough to warrant professional intervention.
How Is ASD Treated?
One of the biggest challenges is finding the most effective form of treatment. The choices seem endless and differentiating one from another can be daunting. The most common treatments include applied behavioral analysis, relationship-building strategies, speech/language, and occupational therapy, counseling, and social skills groups.
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Adult Autism FAQs
What is adult autism?
Raleigh, N. C.-based Autism Society of North Carolina (ASNC) offers that adult autism, also known as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), is characterized by a range of social skill challenges, including repetitive behaviors and nonverbal communication. An estimated 5,437,988 (2.21%) adults in the United States have ASD, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Adult autism is not a clear-cut condition. Instead, there are various subtypes, determined by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. And, because autism is a spectrum disorder, each person with autism has a distinct set of strengths and challenges, notes ASNC.
“The ways in which autistic people learn, think and problem-solve can range from highly skilled to severely challenged,” shares ASNC Director of Communications David Laxton. “Some may require significant support in their daily lives, while others may need less support and, in some cases, live entirely independently.”
Healthgrades, a resource for finding area physicians and hospitals based on individual need, provides information on diagnosing autism in adults. Regarding ASD, Healthgrades informs that while the symptoms of autism almost always appear in childhood, often before age 2, they are not always recognized.
Many adults do not obtain an official diagnosis, partly because during their early years their caretakers and teachers did not recognize or understand the signs of autism. Plus, undiagnosed autism in adults is often due to feelings of shame or embarrassment. They simply do not want to learn for certain that they have ASD. Adults who learn later in life that they have autism most likely had autism as a child and were not aware of the symptoms or the label.
While not everyone with ASD has the same symptoms, some main symptoms of ASD, according to Carolina Wellness Psychiatry in Chapel Hill, N.C., are:
- Making inconsistent eye contact
- Having difficulty with back and forth conversation
- Becoming upset by slight changes in a routine
- Being more or less sensitive than others to sensory input such as light, noise, and clothing textures
- Being able to learn and remember things in great detail
What are the signs of high functioning autism in adults?
The term “high functioning autism” is sometimes problematic for people with ASD because autism encompasses a comprehensive spectrum of behaviors and abilities. For example, a person who struggles in one area may be highly capable in another.
David Kearon, director of Adult Services at Autism Speaks, presents the following scenario to convey an example of adult autism: “’Will’ works as a docent at a modern art museum. He feels that his autism is an asset on the job; because modern art is a particular passion (or special interest) of his, he voraciously learns all he can about the topic and the various works around the museum. …
"After work, however, is a different story. Will struggles to keep up with the conversation when it moves to topics outside of his intense interest in modern art. … At home, Will struggles to keep his apartment clean and to keep up with paying his bills. … At home, Will’s autism is a clear disability. Will is a highly intelligent, highly verbal autistic man who is gainfully employed. But he would tell you that it’s a stretch to call him ‘high-functioning’ in all contexts, at all times and places.”
How do adults get a formal diagnosis of autism?
Individuals can speak to a medical or mental health professional and undergo an evaluation to pinpoint ASD.
Clinics specializing in ASD are nationwide and offer a wide range of services to help with social and verbal skills and more. For example, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston delivers such services as neuropsychological and psychological testing, individual and family therapy, and even medications to reduce anxiety, depression, aggression, and executive functioning difficulties (basic emotion-related skills). Katherine Loveland, PhD, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences with McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston, has been focusing on autism since the 1980s.
“The clinic sees patients of all ages from teenagers up,” she says, “and through clinical interviews, because it’s a developmental disorder, and from testing, we try to get a full picture – from them and from a family member or friend if possible. They get a written report from us. It’s a lot of information. And we determine what a person needs; there’s not one approach to all people with autism. ”
Loveland clarified further that after a determination is made, individuals with ASD have opportunities to learn how to work on regulating emotions, improving conversation skills, and making or simulating eye contact.
Do symptoms of autism get worse with age?
David Kearon, director of Adult Services at Autism Speaks, says some autistic adults experience increased depression, anxiety, and isolation, which may not have been as significant during childhood. Difficulty establishing and maintaining close relationships is also problematic for some adults with ASD, points out Healthgrades.
But Katherine Loveland, PhD, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences with McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston, reminds that everyone, whether diagnosed with ASD or not, responds differently to their environment, individual challenges, and lifestyle: People with adult autism "might develop mental health issues and depression as they age, yes, but I don’t think it necessarily gets worse just among [people with ASD]. I have seen [people with ASD] grow and learn and develop strategies for dealing with ASD as they age.”
- FAQ sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Key Findings: CDC Releases First Estimates of the Number of Adults Living with Autism Spectrum Disorder in the United States. https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/features/adults-living-with-autism-spectrum-disorder.html. Page last reviewed April 27, 2020. Accessed Feb. 7, 2022
- Fink, J. Diagnosing Autism in Adults. https://www.healthgrades.com/right-care/autism/diagnosing-autism-in-adults. Page last updated April 10, 2021. Accessed Feb. 7, 2022
- Carolina Wellness Psychiatry. Autism Spectrum Disorder Q & A. https://www.carolinawellnesspsychiatry.com/services/autism-spectrum-disorder. Accessed Feb. 7, 2022
- The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston McGovern Medical School Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Autism Spectrum Disorder. https://med.uth.edu/psychiatry/autism-spectrum-disorder/. Accessed Feb. 7, 2022
John Carosso, PsyD
John Carosso, PsyD, has more than 30 years of experience as a licensed child clinical psychologist and certified school psychologist working in private, inpatient, outpatient, residential, school, and home settings. He is Clinical Director of Community Psychiatric Centers, a licensed Behavioral Health Outpatient Clinic, and operates both the Autism Center of Pittsburgh and the Dyslexia Diagnostic and Treatment Center.
Autism cannot be due to stress or vaccination
Why it is wrong to consider autism as a disease or giftedness and think that a child with this disorder lives in his own comfortable world — child psychiatrist Elisey Osin tells about the main myths.
Stress and vaccinations do not cause autism
— Who can diagnose autism?
— Psychiatrists do this in Russia. And in other countries, those who can do it - a pediatrician, a clinical psychologist or a psychiatrist, if he is trained in diagnosing a developmental disorder, do it. In our country, only psychiatrists are taught to diagnose developmental disorders in children. nine0003
— If autism is not a disease, then is it the result of something?
- We know for sure that this is not because of upbringing, not because the child started playing with gadgets too early. It's not a stress or fear problem.
— What about the well-known story that mom and dad went on vacation, left the child with the grandmother, and then the child fell silent?
- A million of these stories. It's not about autism.
— What was that? Autism has always been, and at this time it manifested itself? nine0006
- Each specific case must be considered separately. We must also look to see if there is autism or not. What do you mean, said? I've always wondered what happened before? "He could call our mother mother." The man is 2.5 years old. At 2.5 years old, children build sentences! It seems that it was at this moment that attention was paid to the delay in speech, and not that the child stopped talking.
— That is, autism cannot be provoked by some kind of illness or stress?
- No. Usually, one or another autistic symptom can be traced from 10-11-13 months. Most often, when they talk about “provoked”, something simply appeared that was not noticeable before. Or it became obvious that the child was not developing - he moved, moved, reached a plateau and stood up.
— What about vaccinations?
— The scientific community has long ceased to argue about vaccinations: vaccines do not cause autism, they do not cause developmental disorders.
When you don't know the reason, you start looking for it. Usually people are very bad at assessing the risks of inaction. Not to vaccinate is inaction. Inoculation is an action, and people tend to always blame themselves for action, not for inaction. nine0003
- Can you name the most striking symptoms of autism?
- The most classic symptom of autism is the reaction to a name. A name is not just a word, it is an invitation to communication. When babies start turning their heads when they are called at 10 months old, the only reason why they start doing this is because they are wildly interested in what their parents want to show them, to say. They are instinctively attracted to interact with their parents.
The essence of autism is when an adult calls, but the child does not turn his head. nine0057
Not because he is not interested, but because he is not used to paying attention to it, because he has no motivation to study it.
Autism is not a disease or giftedness
— What surprises you most about people with autism?
— You know, the only thing that surprises me lately in connection with autism is how important effective social interaction is for the development of people. When I see people with autism, I see distorted, slow and ineffective development, a huge amount of deficit, bewilderment, inability to solve their life needs. I marvel at how complex people without developmental disabilities are because of this social interaction that they have effectively. That's what amazes me. nine0003
It would seem, what is social interaction? This, it turns out, is the most important thing that has the deepest impact on us, on our whole life. It's amazing how much a person means to another person.
Here is an example of how the brain of an ordinary person differs from that of an autistic person.
The video shows luminous dots that move in a certain order, but our brain is designed in such a way that it notices some pattern in the movement of these dots and even guesses from it that, for example, a person is jumping up or climbing somewhere. Our brain is very good at finding these kinds of patterns and sequences in the world around us. It's like people see all kinds of images in the clouds. nine0003
Our brain not only does it very well, it also loves to do it very much, it loves to find the social in the world, explore it, think about it, study it, look at it. Our brains are very, very social.
Autism is a violation of this process, when the social world interests a person less, attracts less. If this happens to a child from a very early age, then the skills that he should get in the process of interaction are formed much later and more slowly. nine0003
This is not a test, this is an illustration of how the brain works. Autistic people can guess all these movements and understand them well, but they do it somehow differently than people without autism. They are bad at finding and distinguishing social signals in the world around them.
— Is autism still a disease?
— There is such a thing as “developmental disorder”. This is an inborn problem when it is difficult for a child to acquire various skills. Autism is a developmental disorder, not a disease. Cerebral palsy can also be attributed to developmental disorders, and mental retardation. Developmental Speech and Language Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder are developmental disorders. nine0003
Autism disrupts the development of the social and communicative sphere. It is wrong to talk about autism not from the standpoint of a developmental disorder, but from the standpoint of a disease or some special giftedness.
- But one of the types of autism - Asperger's syndrome - is just giftedness, isn't it ?
— I adhere to the position and I am ready to substantiate this, that there are no different types of autism, just the same problem manifests itself differently in different people.
The division into separate types of autism - typical, Asperger's syndrome, Kanner's syndrome, childhood autism, and so on, is already outdated. In the European classification, this is still there, in the American no longer. This division is bad, because there are very blurry, fuzzy boundaries. For example, if we take the criteria for Asperger's syndrome that we have now, then the children that Hans Asperger described would not receive this diagnosis, but would receive the diagnosis of "childhood autism." nine0003
Talk better - autism spectrum disorder. You can clarify about the severity of symptoms - with great severity, with low severity, moderate severity or with intellectual impairment, or, for example, with savant skills. This does not mean that it is some special form of autism, it is a common autism spectrum disorder plus savant skill. Autism Myths0006
- They say autistic people don't make eye contact.
- This is not true. There are those who watch, and there are those who don't. Everyone has a hard time with social interaction. Some autistic people have this look - he just stares. And this is a manifestation of the same problem of disruption of social interaction, but from the other side.
— Is the lack of a sense of humor among autists also a myth?
- This is part of the lack of social and emotional reciprocity. It is a problem of responding correctly to social interaction, on the other hand, it is one part of social weakness, because humor is a social thing, it is understood only in the context of interaction with other people. But at the same time, of course, there are people with autism with a great sense of humor. nine0003
— Is an autistic person without intellectual disability able to orient and adapt in such a way that in adulthood he almost does not differ from the norm?
— Yes, it would be easier for him in his life, in his communications with other people, he would do a lot of things, but he would not stop being a person with autism.
— What does it mean that he will always communicate with people through effort?
- One option, yes. Or not through effort, but clumsily - to interrupt, not to look at other people during a conversation, not to really understand jokes; or it's good to do it with one person, but get very lost in communication with the company. nine0003
— Can he still get close to someone?
— Yes, of course. There's a lot of variety here. Have you watched The Big Bang Theory? The creators deny that the main character is a person with autism, but he behaves like a person with autism. It is interestingly shown there that he builds relationships with people differently than usual. And in the series, half of the jokes are related to the fact that the hero is socially awkward and does not really understand sarcasm. He tries throughout the series to understand what sarcasm is. However, he is a very loving and caring person. nine0003
A shot from The Big Bang Theory
A child with autism does not live in his own world, but in our world lead to the normal world?
— No, he does not live in his own world. He lives in our world, in which there is his father and mother, there are his toys, there are children who surround him. In this world there are kindergartens, schools and so on. Autism is not when you live in your own world. This is when you live in this world, but do not know how to interact with it. nine0003
— So he needs help?
— Of course, when a child does not develop skills that will allow him to interact with this world. In particular, the most commonplace skill is speech. When a child wants to explain something, tell, ask, in the end, for a chocolate bar or make the sound quieter, then if he has autism, it will be more difficult for him to do this. Because of this, he begins to yell, hit himself on the head or run away.
People with autism give the impression that they live in their own world, but this is primarily because they do not know how to live in the outside world. They lack the skills to make contacts. Their world is actually exactly the same as that of ordinary people. nine0006
— If the parents quickly got involved, understood everything, found excellent specialists, they have enough opportunities to implement all this, then how much is it possible to bring the child to the norm?
- There will be development, this happens in 9 out of 10, on the one hand. On the other hand, we do not know the final point of this development. For some, it never stops and moves very actively. Some slowly, slowly approach their ceiling and cannot move on. nine0003
- Is it completely impossible to understand in advance?
- In two, three, four years, no way.
- How does puberty affect here? Are there always complications at this age?
— Optional. Puberty is just one of life's crises, one of the important periods, serious and intense. Like any crisis, it has good and bad sides. For some, this is due to remarkable improvements in the development of organization and attention, with breakthroughs in social skills, because when there is a desire to make friends with a girl, the boy begins to wash and take care of his appearance. Some may have problems with emotional regulation. nine0003
— What are the consequences if a child with autism is not developed?
- This is best understood in terms of human terms rather than medical ones. It is very hard to live when you are a 30-year-old man with the communication skills of a 1.5-year-old, with the desires of a 17-year-old, with the strength of a 20-year-old and with everyday skills like a 4-year-old. You are locked into yourself and you cannot communicate with others.
You want to live, walk, you want to go to your grandmother. You are 30 years old, you have not seen your grandmother for a long time, you love her madly, but you cannot go to her without mom and dad. This, of course, is a crisis for a person; as a result, it leads to breakdowns or depressions. nine0003
When they don't help, then the person is very, very poorly developed, it's very, very hard for him. And those around him are also hard.
Photo: Timothy Archibald / timothyarchibald.com
Therapy is not training
- If a child with autism begins to show aggression, is it possible to help him?
- There are technologies that can wean him from this and replace this behavior with the correct, socially appropriate. A friend of mine, a wonderful behavioral analyst, has some interesting cases of this kind of behavior. nine0003
For example, she worked with a young man with an autism spectrum disorder who had a very difficult behavior: he did not cooperate with adults at all, on the contrary, he constantly sought to control and manage adults, on the street he could approach any person and get into his personal belongings, pockets and bags, get items out of there. It was almost impossible to stop him. Because of this behavior, he did not leave the house for several years, the apartment was divided into two parts. nine0003
First of all, the specialists established managerial control over his behavior, that is, taught him to cooperate, if necessary for defensive purposes, and in accordance with certain rules, applying physical blocking. When control became better, behavioral contracts began to be used with the boy, when for performing certain actions he got access to something very pleasant.
This pleasant - motivational stimulus - for the boy was bags filled with something, later he was allowed to check the pockets of other people, tear up magazines, study certain brochures that he liked. nine0003
All this was hidden until the boy fulfilled certain conditions, and he was given rewards when these conditions were met. So the boy was taught self-control. Of course, in the beginning it was very difficult and was built by behavioral specialists who literally lived with the boy for a week.
What is remarkable about this story is that the family was able to actively get involved in this work and support it, and now the young man calmly goes out into the street, traveling with his parents. This is an example of the use of such technologies. nine0003
- There is an association that a child is raised like a puppy, the necessary reflexes are developed.
— No. Still, when we train puppies, we teach them to do things that are unnatural for them - we teach them to pee in a tray. What animal in the world pees in a tray? None. Animals pee on a tree or under a bush, wherever it suits them, and then they go.
We teach people to do what they have to do - this is not training, this is therapy. Another thing is that with those who find it difficult to understand what they want from them, we work for a long time. We actively praise and encourage them for what they do. This is learning what they should have learned a long time ago. nine0003
— And when such a child starts learning, he may not even suspect that something is wrong with him? And then, when he succeeds, he probably feels good?
— A holiday, of course. Here is that young man with the bags - he left the house. Previously, due to the fact that he ran, took away bags, he was locked at home, and he did not see the white light. And then he walks like a man, with everyone nearby - and there is a huge sense of self-worth.
Primary and secondary
- Are there any autistic traits that a neurotypical child has in a fairly obvious way? Should parents be concerned or is this a common occurrence?
— Do you know what kind of thing is there? A person with autism is likely to have all the problems that people can have: anxiety, bad mood, behavior problems, learning problems, attention problems, hypersensitivity, hyposensitivity, and so on. But these are not specific problems, absolutely anyone can have them, but they are more likely to be in a person with autism. nine0003
Often people with autism have a special sensory sensitivity - they do not feel pain, but they feel hot. But the same thing can happen in a person without autism or with other neuropsychiatric diagnoses.
Do you still know what the topic is? If we see a 4-year-old child with normal development, and he knows the alphabet and numbers, we will not be surprised at all. Well, well done, very good, well, he knows the numbers, he will be smart. We'll forget in 30 minutes that he knows these numbers. But if we see a child who can't speak and yet knows the alphabet and numbers, oh, let's say that's cool! Often these achievements look global in the absence of speech. nine0003
Same story with sound sensitivity. If we see a child who is afraid of loud noises and open spaces, but he is perfectly developed, goes to kindergarten, we will not pay attention to this at all - that's unusual, how interesting. And if we see the same thing in a person who does not speak, does not understand, we begin to give this phenomenon a lot of attention, as if it is something important. In fact, it is important that he does not speak, does not understand that it is impossible to agree with him. nine0003
I like this metaphor: if you cut a clearing in the middle of a forest, then trees, shrubs, grass will first grow on it, but then the same large trees that surround the clearing will grow, and all other trees, bushes, grasses will die or not grow . But if you cut down a clearing and make it so that neighboring large trees do not grow there, then anything will grow there, and all this will be noticeable only because these large trees did not grow there.
The same with social interaction and communication. When there is no good and effective social interaction, there is no communication, everything becomes noticeable: a good memory for numbers, a wonderful memory for dates of birth, for example. We would never attach much importance to this if the person behaved in the usual way. But he doesn't behave like that, and we notice these things. nine0003
The Pravmir Charitable Foundation helps the Communication Space project to raise money for renting premises and teachers' salaries. Let's help people with disabilities not to lose such a valuable and unique space in which they can feel comfortable and always get help.
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How to watch for autism in a child, signs of autism
Children with autism and their families can be helped, especially if the diagnosis is made early and correctly and the necessary assistance is provided. We hope this information will help someone take the first steps in learning and overcoming this problem.
Contents of the article
- What is autism?
- Autism symptoms
- Autism prevalence
- Risk assessment
- Autism screening test for young children
- Scoring algorithm
- Autism red flags
What is autism?
Autism, or autism spectrum disorders (ASD), is a term used to describe a group of developmental disorders of the central nervous system.
These disorders are mainly manifested by disorders in three areas:
- How a person communicates with children and adults (social interaction disorders)
- In the way a person talks, uses gestures or facial expressions (communication disorders)
- In how a person behaves (originality, limitation and stereotyping of interests and activities)
Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) include: childhood autism, atypical autism, Asperger's syndrome, organic autism and autistic disorder. All of these terms describe different manifestations of the same disorder. Autism often co-occurs with other disorders. nine0003
A significant proportion of people with ASD (between 25 and 50%) have comorbid mental retardation, often with motor and coordination disorders, gastrointestinal problems, and sleep disturbances. People with ASD are also characterized by peculiarities of perception of information, difficulty concentrating and irritability. By adolescence, approximately 10–30% of children with autism develop epilepsy.
A significant proportion of people with autism have normal intelligence, often people with autism have amazing abilities in the field of visual perception, memory, music
hearing, mathematics and other sciences. Some people with autism find themselves in art because of their unusual way of looking at the world. Contrary to a common myth, people with autism do not seek to live in their own world, on the contrary, many are very interested in communicating with others, are able to establish deep emotional bonds with people important to them, but do not have sufficient skills to communicate in the way they do. peers.
Each person with autism is unique in their manifestations, and at first glance it is difficult to understand what unites people with autism spectrum disorders. Some (about 20-25%) never start talking and communicate using alternative means of communication (gestures, exchanging cards or written text). In adulthood, they may need a lot of support and care, they cannot live on their own. Other people with autism develop language and other social interaction skills and are able to attend school, go to college, and work. nine0003
Symptoms of autism
Autistic symptoms may be noticeable in infants (however, experts have not yet agreed that these manifestations can be reliably characterized as ASD) and become more pronounced after a year. Obvious symptoms of autism become closer to two or three years. At this age, as a rule, it is possible to diagnose the presence of autism quite confidently. As the child gets older, most often the symptoms of autism begin to disappear or become less pronounced, but in most cases they remain to some extent noticeable. nine0003
Autism used to be considered a rare disorder, but it is now clear that this is not the case. When experts learned to identify and identify the various manifestations of disorders in autistic disorders, it became clear that approximately one in 90,003 90,002 children have autistic disorders, with boys four times more likely than girls. Currently, specialists have become much better at detecting autism, which has led to the fact that this diagnosis has become more common than before. But perhaps it's not just about the diagnosis, and more people are actually getting autism. nine0003
Scientists are trying to determine whether there is actually a real increase in the incidence of autism, and if it is, what is causing the increase in this disease worldwide.
Causes of autism
A child with autism can appear in any family, regardless of income, education, social status of parents. It is no one's fault that a child has autism. Autism is a disorder in which a combination of factors play a role. Genetic factors play a very important role: disturbances at the level of genes, molecules that store information about how the human body should form and develop. nine0003
Some of the genetic factors that cause autism are known and can be identified through tests, primarily spontaneous changes in genetic material, mutations. These changes may be enough to cause autism on their own. But more often, autism results from the interaction of genetic factors and environmental factors in which the child develops.
Autism has been shown to play a role in the environment, the state of the mother's body during preparation for pregnancy, the course of pregnancy and childbirth, as well as certain infections and certain drugs taken by the mother during pregnancy (for example, valproic acid, used to treat epilepsy ). nine0003
A combination of genetic and environmental factors influences the formation of the brain and changes the development and behavior of the child. Autism does not arise from neglect, rudeness, or withdrawal from a child.
Establishment of the diagnosis
The diagnosis of "autism spectrum disorder" is established when symptoms of autism are identified in the behavior and development of the child. The specialist conducting the diagnosis observes the child, can play or talk with him. He also asks relatives of the child about how the child behaves at home and about the developmental features of this child from birth. Sometimes professionals may ask parents to complete questionnaires and questionnaires, as well as conduct special diagnostic interviews with parents. All this helps in identifying and clarifying the symptoms of autism. But so far there are no instrumental methods or analyzes that make it possible to establish or refute the diagnosis of "autism" with a 100% probability. In Russia, the diagnosis of ASD is usually made by a psychiatrist, but many other specialists dealing with children can either draw the attention of parents to the symptoms of autism themselves, or recommend an examination by a psychiatrist. Having an accurate diagnosis allows parents to qualify for government-provided benefits. nine0003
Autism is not the fault of parents, grandparents, and especially the child himself, but a biological disorder.
In addition, the diagnosis also considers disorders and behavioral problems common in autism:
- Motility disorders.
- Heightened sensitivity.
- Features of perception.
- Self harm.
- Violation of the sense of danger.
The following symptoms are for guidance only. Of course, not all of them can be observed in a child with autism at the same time, in addition, some of the symptoms occur in children without autism. nine0003
Once again, we list the main disorders characteristic of autism, which give rise to a diagnosis.
Behavioral symptoms of autism
- Violations in the field of social interaction. (In the way the child communicates with children and adults).
- Violations in the field of communication. (In the way the child talks, uses gestures or facial expressions).
- Violations in behavior (originality, limitation and stereotyping of interests and activities). nine0274
Social interaction disorders
Social interaction disorders are the most important symptoms of autism.
Often a young child with autism behaves as if he is on his own wavelength, he may not show interest in the games of other children and even stubbornly refuse to participate in common games, it can be difficult to interest him in something that an adult offers him, he does not repeat the actions, movements and sounds of adults.
Communication disorders are also a leading symptom of autism. Many children with autism begin to speak much later than others and may not use gestures. Instead, they use the hands of other people, lead adults to those objects that they want adults to do something with.
Other children may start speaking early and remember many words but do not use them to communicate. For example, they repeat favorite quotes from cartoons and books or words and phrases heard from others over and over again. Often, children with autism are less able to understand speech addressed to them. Often, they also begin to follow instructions later than other children, it may seem that they do not hear the words addressed to them. nine0003
The third group of symptoms required for the diagnosis of ASD is the peculiarity, limitation and stereotyping of behavior, games and interests. Many children with autism play with toys in unusual ways (such as arranging them in a row or spreading them), may perform frequent repetitive actions, be interested in unusual objects, and move in strange ways, such as waving their arms, swaying in place, or running in circles. The manifestation of the symptoms of this group is very diverse. nine0003
Motility features are not the leading diagnostic criteria for the diagnosis of autism. But many parents and specialists note various variants of uneven motor skills in children with ASD. Some children can simultaneously demonstrate excellent body control in one area and be very awkward in another.
Features of perception - heightened sensitivity
Children with autism can be very sensitive and can hardly tolerate some sensations: noise, music, flashing lights, touching clothes, smells, etc., which others find quite comfortable in intensity. Hypersensitivity can manifest itself in all kinds of sensations, but sometimes it concerns only certain specific stimuli.
For this reason, children with autism can find it very difficult in a new situation or setting.
The more various stimuli around, the more likely that the child will not cope with such a load and lose control of himself. nine0003
In some cases, the desire for unusual sensations or reduced pain sensitivity can lead to the child injuring and harming himself. This behavior is not very common, but the harm can be severe.
Danger Sense Disorder
Danger Sense is sometimes impaired in autism. In this case, the child may behave as if he has no self-preservation instinct, he does not recognize situations that require caution, he may seek danger and break safety rules in the same situation again and again, despite previous negative experiences. This behavior is also not very common; on the contrary, many children with autism are fearful and anxious. If the child has a reduced sense of danger, then he must be observed very carefully: such behavior can lead to serious injuries. nine0003
Many children with autism have frequent gastrointestinal disorders. The child is willing to eat an extremely limited range of foods and/or has a sensitivity to the taste of food.
Many children with autism have sleep disorders. Children may not distinguish between day and night, remaining equally active at any time of the day, they may be difficult to put to sleep, they may often wake up at night. Sleep periods can be very short: one to two hours. Pain sensitivity in children with autism may be reduced and even absent, or, on the contrary, may be excessively high. Children with autism also have seizures. The likelihood of epilepsy as a comorbidity increases with age. nine0003
How do you know if there are indications for a diagnosis or if the child is developing normally? The following pages offer two ways to assess the risk of autism in children. After checking with them, you can independently decide on the need to consult with a specialist.
If autism is suspected while completing the questionnaire, we recommend a more in-depth diagnosis by a specialist. It is likely that even in the absence of autism, the child may have other developmental problems and may need help. nine0003
If the result of one of the questionnaires indicates the possibility of autism and developmental problems, but the result of the other does not, we still recommend that you consult a specialist.
Autism Screening Test for Toddlers
Please rate the following statements for your child. Try to answer each question. If the behavior is rare (you've only seen it once or twice), note that it's not typical for the child. Filling out this questionnaire and evaluating its results will take you no more than ten minutes. Please read the instructions for completing and evaluating results carefully. nine0003
This test is a questionnaire, each question must be answered "yes" or "no" by circling the appropriate option. Complete this questionnaire based on how your child usually behaves. Please try to answer each question. If this or that behavior was shown rarely (you saw it only once or twice), note that this is not characteristic of the child.
Instructions for scoring the test results are at the end, follow these instructions after completing the test. nine0003
Algorithm for calculating the results
If you answered “No” to any question except 2, 5 and 12, this is a direct indication that the child is at risk of having an autism spectrum disorder.
For questions 2, 5, and 12, "Yes" indicates that the child is at risk of having an autism spectrum disorder.
Low risk: Overall result - 0-2 points.
If the child is younger than 24 months, it is recommended that the child be retested after the child is two years old. No other action is required from you yet. nine0003
Medium risk: Overall score 3–7 points.
Discuss the results of the test with the pediatrician, ask him to comment on your questionnaire. Based on the results of your conversation, decide whether to go for a further, more detailed examination.
High risk: total score 7–20 points.
Your child needs to be tested, and the sooner you start it, the more likely it is that the help will be effective.
Autism red flags
Often, even before the onset of conspicuous symptoms, a child may have behavioral patterns that indicate a high likelihood of having autism. Intensive research into the development of children with autism has identified symptoms that indicate a high risk of developing autism in young children. These symptoms are sometimes referred to as the "red flags" of autism.
If you notice these symptoms in your child, see an autism specialist. nine0057
- Autism. A guide for parents, families and friends. How the symptoms of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) manifest in young children.
- Foundation for assistance in solving the problems of autism in Russia "Vykhod"
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