On the World Autism Day

logo_waadToday it is the world autism day. The majority of patients with this disease take too many years to be diagnosed, which is a real ordeal for families, with endless screenings by doctors, psychologists and specialists. Paradoxically, early diagnosis is essential to initiate therapy right from an early age, and thus significantly enhance the long-term prognosis.

The truth is that some of our child psychiatry facilities and other resources for our children leave much to be desired. Most centers are formed by professionals of psychoanalytic tendency, when the only therapy that has been shown effective is the intensive cognitive-behavioral one, several hours a day. The only option for getting to it, is the private route. And this choice ends up representing about 1,000 euros a month for a family. It is clear that many families cannot afford this cost.

Autism is the most serious psychiatric pathology in a child. There are no drugs to improve the clinical state or the prognosis. Only the aforementioned psychotherapy. These lines are intended to inform and raise awareness of the situation in which we find ourselves. It would require a well-coordinated public network that addressed the early diagnosis, psychotherapy and support and information for families. Autism treatment has come a long way with this treatment, which is also essential to forget the idea that those kids need to live “locked in their world” or in a psychiatric facility.

Characteristics of Asperger’s Syndrome

SOCIAL EMOTIONAL SKILLS:

  • Relates better with adults than with children of the same age.
  • Does not normally enjoy social contact.
  • Has problems to play with other children.
  • Wants to impose his own rules when playing with peers.
  • Does not understand the implied rules of the game.
  • Wants to always win when they play.
  • Finds it difficult to leave the house.
  • Prefers to play alone.
  • School is a source of conflict with colleagues.
  • Doesn’t like to go to school.
  • Is not interested in team sports.
  • Is easy object of derision or abuses by their companions, who often refuse to include them in their teams.
  • Difficulty participating in competitive sports.
  • When they want something, they want it immediately.
  • Has difficulty understanding the intentions of others.
  • Is not interested in the latest fashion of toys, stickers, TV series or clothing.
  • Has low tolerance to frustration.
  • Finds it hard to identify their feelings and has disproportionate emotional reactions.
  • Cries easily for little reason.
  • When in enjoyment, they’re usually aroused: jump, shout and clap hands.
  • They have more tantrums than normal for their age when they can’t do something.
  • Lacks empathy, to intuitively understand the feelings of another person.
  • Can make offensive comments to others without realizing it, for example: “that fattie”.
  • Does not understand the proper levels of emotional expression according to different people and situations:
  • They can hug a stranger, jump in a church, etc.
  • Has no malice and is sincere.
  • Is socially innocent, doesn’t know how to act in a situation.
  • Sometimes their behavior is inappropriate and may seem challenging.

COMMUNICATION SKILLS:

  • Doesn’t look you in the eye when you speak.
  • Believes what is told even though it is nonsensical.
  • Does not understand ironies, double meanings, or sarcasm.
  • Speaks in a peculiar and high tone: as if foreign, singing or monotonous as a robot.
  • Has a pedantic, hiperformal or hipercorrect language with an extensive vocabulary.
  • Invents words or idiosyncratic expressions.
  • Sometimes seems to be absent, absorbed in his thoughts.
  • Talks much.
  • Cares little about what others say.
  • Struggles to understand a long conversation.
  • Changes the subject when it is unclear.

COMPREHENSION SKILLS:

  • Finds it hard to understand the wording of a problem with several phrases and needs help to have it explained by parts.
  • Has difficulty understanding a complex question and takes the time to answer.
  • Often does not understand the reason why they’re being scolded, criticized or punished.
  • Has an exceptional memory to remember data, for example: dates of birthdays, facts and events.
  • Learned to read by themselves or with little help at an early age.
  • Their symbolic play is scarce (plays little with dolls)
  • In general, shows little imagination and creativity.
  • Is original in the approach to a problem or giving a solution.
  • Has a peculiar sense of humor.
  • Has difficulty understanding how they should behave in a given social situation.
  • Has attention problems.

SPECIFIC INTERESTS:

  • Is fascinated by something in particular and select avidly information or statistics on this interest.
  • For example, numbers, cars, maps, classifications or calendars.
  • Take most of their free time to think, talk or write about their topic.
  • They tend to talk about the issues that interest them not realizing if the other is bored.
  • Compulsively repeats certain actions or thoughts. That gives them security.
  • They like routine. Do not tolerate well unexpected changes (reject an unexpected output).
  • They have elaborate rituals that must be met. For example, to align the toys before going to bed.

MOVEMENT SKILLS:

  • Has problems with fine motion, reflected in their writing.
  • Has a poor motor coordination.
  • Has no ability to catch a ball.
  • The child has a strange rhythm while running.
  • Has trouble dressing.
  • Finds it difficult to fasten the buttons and shoe laces.
  • Difficulties in physical education activities.

OTHER FEATURES:

  • Fear, distress, or discomfort due to ordinary sounds, such as electrical appliances.
  • Light rubbing on the skin or head.
  • Carries certain items of clothing.
  • Unexpected noises (the horn of a car).
  • The vision of certain common objects.
  • Noisy and crowded places.
  • Certain foods because of texture, temperature.
  • A tendency to shake or rock when is excited or distressed.
  • A lack of sensitivity to low levels of pain.
  • Delay in acquiring speech, in some cases.
  • Grimacing, strange facial twists or spasms.

THE MAIN DIFFERENCES BETWEEN ASPERGER’S DISORDER AND THE CLASSIC AUTISTIC DISORDER OF KANNER ARE TWO:

  1. children and adults with Asperger’s syndrome do not have structural deficiencies in their language, they have pragmatic limitations as an instrument of communication, prosody in its melody (or lack thereof)
  2. children and adults with Asperger syndrome have normal capabilities of intelligence and often extraordinary powers in restricted areas.

SOME DIFFERENCES BETWEEN ASPERGER’S SYNDROME AND
THE HIGH FUNCTIONING AUTISM.

  • The diagnosis is late.
  • Prognosis is more positive.
  • Social deficits and communication are less severe.
  • Narrow interests are most acute.
  • Verbal intellectual coefficient is greater than functional IQ. (in autism, the case is opposite)
  • Clumsiness or motor rigidity is observed frequently.

Asperger’s syndrome. The Asperger syndrome disorder in children

asperger_syndromeEarly detection of autism spectrum disorders can determine the progress and evolution of the child. Put another way, the sooner you can detect early symptoms of autism and Asperger syndrome, the faster you can implement a series of mechanisms and treatments adapted to your child.

For this same reason, when the specialist assesses your child, they can determine the type of autism from which they suffer. The syndrome of Asperger is a type of mild autism that presents some peculiar characteristics.

Characteristics of Asperger’s syndrome

Asperger’s syndrome, also known as Asperger’s disorder is characterized by an autistic’s “high performance”. This syndrome does not affect the independence of the patient, therefore the majority of them can lead a completely normal life.

Asperger’s syndrome does not usually reveal any form of mental retardation, but quite the opposite. Indeed, the affected person’s intellectual capacity is well above the average. The detection of this syndrome is usually delayed until the age of adolescence, which is when, as a general rule, more importance should be given to communication and social integration.

An adolescent or older who does not want to surround himself with people and has no friends, having a series of routines and habits that don’t change such as eating in the same plate or taking a shower at the same time may mean that that person has Asperger’s.

In addition, they tend to use a very elaborate vocabulary, while other types of autism typically have diminished ability of verbal expression, due to their cognitive deterioration.

As for their driving ability, it is common for people with Asperger syndrome to have some awkwardness with the movements and the coordination required, although it should not be a major disability.

Finally, the capacity to retain information of a person with Asperger’s Syndrome is very developed, so they can perform jobs that require a large volume of knowledge.

According to the EU Coalition for the syndrome of Asperger, Asperger syndrome appears later than autism or, at least, is detected later. Many children are diagnosed after 3 years and most of those affected are diagnosed when they are between 5 and 9 years.

Asperger’s syndrome is characterized by the presence of poor or inadequate social interactions, obsessions, speech patterns, oddities and other peculiarities or rare characteristics. Children with the syndrome of Asperger often show little facial expressiveness and find it difficult to read the body language of others; they can engage in obsessive routines and have an unusual sensitivity to sensory stimuli (for example, they can be disturbed by a light which does not affect others, they may cover their ears to not hear the loud environment or they may prefer to wear clothes of a single type of fabric).

In general, people suffering from Asperger syndrome are able to function properly in everyday life, but tend to be immature from the social point of view and people usually see them as weird or eccentric people.

Other characteristics of Asperger syndrome include motor retardation and clumsiness as well as having peculiar interests and special preoccupations. Adults with Asperger’s syndrome have problems to show empathy toward others and present difficulties in their social interactions.

Experts say that Asperger’s syndrome follows a continuous course and usually lasts a lifetime. Anyway, the symptoms may come and go over time and early intervention services can be very useful.