Autism is a collective term for various profound developmental disorders. People with autism have problems establishing normal relationships with their fellow human beings and avoid social contacts. They are often unable to understand each other well and misinterpret emotions. But where does autism come from and what exactly is behind it? Answers to these questions can be found here.
Autism: Brief overview
Description: profound developmental disorder, which among other things makes social life more difficult.
Shapes: Early Childhood Autism, Asperger Syndrome, Savant Syndrome, High-Functioning Autism.
Symptoms: impaired social competence, speech and communication disorders, stereotypical behaviour, often reduced intelligence, but often also isolated, outstanding mental abilities.
Causes: genetic causes, disturbed brain development, disturbed brain metabolism.
Treatment: behavioural therapy to improve social competence, speech training.
Prognosis: not curable, often dependent on help for life, with lighter forms (especially Asperger) also independent life possible.
What is autism?
Autism is a collective term for various profound developmental disorders. There are three main forms of autism:
- Early Childhood Autism
- Asperger’s syndrome
- Atypical Autism
Experts therefore also speak of autism spectrum disorder. The appearance is very different, depending on the form of autism and the individual. Some patients develop only mild autism, others are severely handicapped.
Also, intelligence and language skills are very different: The majority of autistic patients are mentally handicapped, but there are also normal and even highly gifted patients. In some cases, the different forms of autism also flow into each other.
Autistic people have in common the following three characteristic features:
- Their social abilities are disturbed.
- Their communication and language are impaired.
- Their behaviour is conspicuous. It is often stereotypical, repetitive and follows certain rituals.
Am I showing any signs of depression?
Am I showing any signs of depression?
What disease causes my symptoms?
Autism symptoms: Disturbed social interaction
Autistic people find it difficult to build relationships with their fellow human beings. Autistic children often stand out from infancy because of their behaviour. Attentive parents will soon notice that their baby behaves differently from other children.
Characteristic of autistic children is that they do not develop a close relationship with their parents and do not react to stimuli from their surroundings.
Avoiding eye contact
For example, babies usually seek the mother’s gaze and physical contact to build closeness. Autistic babies, on the other hand, actively avoid eye contact. They also do not imitate the smile of their counterpart. This often makes them seem indifferent or rigid.
Some parents even suspect at first that their child is deaf or blind because it does not react to the environment.
Later, severely autistic children cannot enter into friendly relationships with their peers. They prefer to play alone. They only perceive their fellow human beings if they are to meet their needs.
Lack of empathy
Autistic people cannot understand other people’s feelings and cannot put themselves in other people’s shoes. They can also express their own feelings only poorly or not at all. Sometimes autistic children seem to have a laughing fit or giggle while playing without any reason.
Important abnormalities in the social interaction of autistic children are the following:
Mutual relationships cannot be established or maintained through looks, body language and facial expressions.
Relationships with peers cannot be established.
Feelings are not understood or reciprocated. Even one’s own reaction does not adapt to the general mood.
Spontaneous emotions such as joy or interest in others and in different activities do not occur.
Autism symptoms: communication
Also the language of autistic people is often disturbed. For example, many children with early autism cannot learn a normal language. If they do speak, the same sentences are often repeated. The speech melody is also missing. This creates a robot-like impression. Patients with Asperger’s syndrome, on the other hand, often have a highly developed language. But it seems strangely monotonous and stilted.
Experts have also defined important symptoms of autism for speech:
Language development lags behind. The children do not try to express themselves through their gestures or body language.
The children are not able to start or maintain a conversation.
The range of language is very limited and one-sided. Sentences or questions are often repeated.
Autism symptoms: Interests and behaviour patterns
The third major symptom of autism is often stereotypical behavior.
This is how people often repeat their behaviour. Sometimes they react to changes with great fear.