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Autism: What is Autism?
Autism: What is Autism?
Autism is a brain disorder that frequently makes it difficult to communicate with and effectively interact with others. With this condition, the different areas of the brain fail to work together. Autism, PDD, and Asperger’s are all disorders categorized under the heading of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
Most people with ASD will usually have some trouble relating to others. However, early diagnosis and treatment have helped more and more people who have autism to reach their full potential.
ASD and Common Symptoms:
The severity of symptoms may vary greatly, but all people with ASD have some common symptoms in the following areas:
- Social interactions and relationships:
- Significant problems developing nonverbal communication skills, such as eye-to-eye gazing, facial expressions, and body posture.
- Failure to establish friendships with children the same age.
- Lack of interest in sharing enjoyment, interests, or achievements with other people.
- Lack of empathy; may have difficulty understanding another person’s feelings, such as pain or sorrow.
- Verbal and nonverbal communication:
- Delay in, or lack of, learning to talk. As many as 40% of people with autism never speak.
- Problems taking steps to start a conversation. Also, they have difficulties continuing a conversation after it has begun.
- Stereotyped and repetitive use of language. They often repeat over and over a phrase they have heard previously (echolalia).
- Difficulty understanding their listener’s perspective. For example, a person with ASD may not understand that someone is using humor. They may interpret the communication word for word and fail to catch the implied meaning.
- Limited interests in activities or play:
- An unusual focus on pieces. Younger children often focus on parts of toys, such as the wheels on a car, rather than playing with the entire toy.
- Preoccupation with certain topics. For example, older children and adults may be fascinated by video games, trading cards, or license plates.
- A need for sameness and routines. For example, a child may always need to eat bread before salad and insist on driving the same route every day to school.
- Stereotyped behaviors. These may include body rocking and hand flapping.
ASD and Brain Function:
Autism is the term used to describe what professionals call a complex developmental disability. It is widely believed that symptoms begin to become evident during the first three years of a child’s life. This condition involves a series of neurological disorders that effect normal brain function, inhibiting development of the person’s communication and social interaction skills. People with ASD have issues with verbal and non-verbal communication, a wide range of social interactions, and academic standards. With the qEEG or Brain Map as an assessment tool, we can see the electrical activity of the brain. We can then determine where and how the dysregulation occurs allowing us to develop treatment protocols to put the brain back into balance without medication.
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Dr. Stephanie Golder, MA, ThD, Stephen Minister, Hemispheric Life Coach
Mindy Fritz, MS, LCDC, BCN Associate Fellow