Josh and Marie Bousum of Philadelphia live the ideal life. He is a successful criminal lawyer on his way up in the legal circles and Marie is a leading architect specializing in resorts. They live with their three children in a beautiful setting with picket fences, well-maintained lawns, and friendly dogs. Their kids aged 10 years, 8 years and 3 years are the centre of their universe. They had noticed and so did their nanny that the youngest in the family, little Clara was a little different. She seemed withdrawn, did not interact with her siblings and was generally less communicative. Initially, they ignored it thinking all children are unique and had their own growth trajectories. However, with time it did not go away but intensified. Worried they browsed the internet and consulted professionals. Examinations by a certified Board Certified Behavior Analyst lead to the discovery that Clara has classic autism.
Josh and Marie were clued in their daughter’s symptoms and therefore are able to get her the best treatment that she deserves to lead an independent and enriched life. We list the main characteristics of autism spectrum disorder which may help your social network or you to observe in young children who seem unique and therefore get quick remedial action.
Difficulty in social interaction - Many parents have gone for years unaware that their child is autistic because they assumed him/her to be shy. The child is not very good at social skills such as talking or even behaving appropriately in social situations. They prefer being alone and have trouble making friends.
Repetitive actions and behavior - Persons with autism have an overwhelming need for sameness. They stick to a routine and do not like changes of any sort. So if there is any change made to their routine, clothes, food, etc they will not take it well and it will manifest in disruptive behavior.
Varying reactions to the 5 senses: We all take our five senses sight, touch, taste, smell, or hearing for granted. With persons diagnosed with various forms of autism spectrum disorders, they have either heightened or reduced reactions to these 5 senses. For example, a child may react to loud noises or another might be bothered with bright sunlight. We all have reactions as human beings to the 5 senses; the only difference here is that the reactions are stronger.
Focus on certain objects – Persons take an unusual interest in objects such as playing with an item/toy for hours or even get into details of the object during interactions.
Repetitive actions and behaviors – Children with ASD repeat actions and behaviors. This is common. This may be their way to calm or even occupy themselves. Examples include flapping hands, jumping, etc.
Heightened emotional reactions - Children with ASD tend to manifest emotional reactions which are not commiserate with the situation. For example, if you tell them to stop doing what they are doing and join the family for meals, they may throw a tantrum etc.
Knowledge is power! Information on the main characteristics of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) may help you self-diagnose children with ASD in your social networks and enable them to get the much-needed help & therapy for their bright futures.