1. Umbrella Category for Autism:
Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) is an umbrella term for disorders characterized by impairments in reciprocal social interaction skills and communication skills.
● Autistic Disorder* and Asperger’s Syndrome (very similar disorders, and some consider them variations of the same disorder)
● Childhood Disintegrative Disorder (CDD)
● Rett’s Disorder
● Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDDNOS)
*of all the disorders under PDD, Autism is the most severe.
Definition of Autism:
-Affecting verbal and non-verbal communication, social interaction and imaginative creativity.
-Evident before age three
-Referred to as a spectrum disorder ranging from mild to major in severity.
In laymen terms this means that Autism is a disorder that affects a child’s communication with the outside world. These children with autism seem locked inside of themselves, unable to communicate with loved ones through speech or gestures or even eye contact. The world is so overwhelming that sometimes they seek to solace in a repetitive action of some kind like rubbing their cheek, spinning around, shouting or any other number of repetitive actions. This is call “stimming” or “self-stimulation”.
Definition of Asperger’s Disorder:
-Affects how a child communicates with the outside world.
- Symptoms are less severe than general Autism. Many of the same characteristics of Autism, however are able to interact more easily as their language skills are less effected.
-Greater trouble rooted in social relations, because they cannot interpret social signals and cues that are non-literal.
-Have a higher cognitive development and more typical communication skills.
-Have an above average intelligence.
2. How Common; Causes; & Characteristics
-Autism is a low incidence disability: 1 in 2000 children
-When including the full spectrum, PDD is estimated to occur 1 in 300-500 individuals
-Four times more prevalent in in boys than girls.
-Knows no racial, ethical, or social boundaries.
No single significant cause of autism has been found. Some research has hinted to the involvement of:
-Organic Factors such as:
a) Brain damage
b) Genetic links
c) Complications during pregnancy
-A Biological Basis
-Some evidence that genetics may play a role.
Note: Children born with rubella and those classified as having fragile X syndrome are more likely to develop autism
Autism Asperger’s Syndrome
□ Auditory-based sensory impairments
□ Avoid eye contact
□ Significant verbal and non-verbal impairments in communication
□ May show anxiety
□ Have problems relating to to other individuals
□ Difficulties in social relations
□ Need consistency and resist change
□ Sensitive to light, sound, touch or other sensory information.
□ Difficulties with abstract reasoning
□ Inappropriate attachment to objects
□ Unable to pay attention to others and their interests
□ Unable to understand gestures, facial expressions, and body language
□ Unable to understand variations in cadence and tone of voice
□ May have repetitive speech or echo things they have just heard
□ Take the literally interpretation of word, and are unable to understand figurative language
□ Hand-flapping, toe-walking, spinning, rocking, or other repetitive actions
□ Unusual response to sensory stimulation
□ May excel at visual or spatial tasks and are fascinated by movement or moving objects.
□ Self-injurious behaviours
□ Difficulty in expressing needs; may use gestures instead of words
□ May prefer to be alone
□ Average intelligence □ Not very adaptable
□ May be inattentive
□ Repetitive and restrictive behaviour patterns
□ May have difficulty conducting a conversation
□ Appear to be insensitive to others,
□ Correct others often
□ May say inappropriate or insulting