Even with today’s medical advances and decades worth of research behind it, autism is still a puzzling phenomenon. For many years, only people with severe symptoms were given an autism diagnosis. As our understanding of autism grew, so did its range of symptoms.
Individualism is an important part of understanding an autism diagnosis as individuals on the spectrum can all be affected by autism in different ways. In this post, we’ll discuss autism’s wide range of symptoms and the way it influences developmental ability and functioning.
Autism’s Common Symptoms
There are several common symptoms that many individuals on the spectrum share or experience to some degree. Some of the most common include:
- Challenges with verbal and non-verbal communication.
- Challenges reading and understanding social cues and by extent, challenges with social interaction.
- Sensitivity to sensory stimulation and interpretation, causing sensory meltdowns or tantrums.
- Delayed developmental learning and cognition and by extent, challenges in traditional classroom settings.
These only scratch the surface of the ways autism can manifest in your children, and also serve as some of the preliminary signs that a child may be on the spectrum but this list is nowhere near comprehensive, and as such, the symptoms of autism can affect an individual’s general cognitive functioning in a variety of ways.
The Variances of the Spectrum
A famous quote by autism advocate Dr. Stephen Shore says, “If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism.” When asked why the quote is significant, Shore made it clear that not all people on the spectrum have the same experiences with autism.
This wide range of symptoms can make it difficult to tell when a person is on the spectrum. Some individuals experience adverse effects to their cognitive functioning with more severe symptoms causing them to be non-verbal, have more meltdowns, or become hypersensitive to sensory stimuli. Others resemble their neurotypical counterparts in nearly all facets of their life. Many grow into adults who are highly independent and gainfully employed, while others may need more assistance into their adult lives. Either way, as our understanding of autism’s wide range of symptoms evolves, so does society’s autism awareness, acceptance, and support systems.
While a person’s behavior and functioning can be highly dependent on their symptoms, ongoing treatment and early intervention, especially Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy, can make a world of difference.
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