Autism Spectrum Disorders
Autism is not a single disorder, but a spectrum of closely-related disorders with a shared core of symptoms. Every individual on the autism spectrum has problems to some degree with social skills, empathy, communication, and flexible behavior. But the level of disability and the combination of symptoms varies tremendously from person to person.
In both children and adults, the signs and symptoms of the autism spectrum disorders include problems with social skills, speech and language, and restricted activities and interests. However, there are enormous differences when it comes to the severity of the symptoms, their combinations, and the patterns of behavior.
While not all individuals on with an autism spectrum disorder experience these related signs and symptoms, they are relatively common:
- Sensory Problems: Many children with autism spectrum disorders either underreact or overreact to sensory stimuli.
- Emotional Difficulties: Children with Autism spectrum disorders may have difficulty regulating their emotions or expressing them appropriately.
- Uneven Cognitive Abilities: The autism spectrum disorders occur at all intelligence levels. However, even kids with normal to high intelligence often have unevenly developed cognitive skills. Not surprisingly verbal skills tend to be weaker than nonverbal skills.