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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Signs of Possible ASD in Adolescents

If you suspect your child could have an ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) it's important to raise your concerns with your child's doctor, as the earlier the diagnosis and therefore intervention the better the prognosis.



Signs of Autism


There are two major diagnostic classification systems in current use, the International Classification of Diseases, version 10 (ICD10) and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 4th edition (DSMIV).


They have similar symptom criteria for diagnosis based on three general impairments, with the following behaviours, which are out of line with their mental age:


  1. Social - Delayed or abnormal social development.
  2. Language and communication - Delayed or abnormal language and communication both verbal and nonverbal.
  3. Thought and behaviour - Rigidity of thought and behaviour and lack of imagination. Displays ritualistic behaviour, reliance on routines, and impairment of imaginative play.


DSMIV is diagnostic criteria used in the United States and many other parts of the world.

ICD10 is the most commonly used ASD classification system in the UK and Europe; although many research studies also use DSMIV or other criteria.

The diagnostic criteria for ASD continue to develop as more research is done and understanding improves, and they are likely to change with future revisions.



Signs of Possible ASD in Adolescents


General Picture

  • Long standing difficulties in social behaviours, communication and coping with change, which are more obvious at times of transition (e.g. change of school, leaving school)
  • Significant discrepancy between academic ability and "social" intelligence, most difficulties in unstructured social situations, e.g. in school breaks
  • Socially "naive", lack common sense, not as independent as peers


Language, nonverbal skills and social communication

  • Problems with communication even if they have a wide vocabulary and normal use of grammar. May be unduly quiet, may talk at others rather than hold a "to and fro" conversation, or may provide excessive information on topics of their own interest.
  • Unable to adapt their style of communication to social situations e.g. may sound like "a little professor" (overly formal), or be inappropriately familiar
  • May have speech peculiarities including "flat", unmodulated speech,
  • May take things literally and fail to understand sarcasm or metaphor
  • Unusual use and timing of nonverbal interaction (e.g. eye contact, gesture and facial expression)


Social Problems

  • Difficulty making and maintaining peer friendships though may find it easier with adults or younger children
  • Can appear unaware or uninterested in peer group "norms", may be alienated by behaviours which transgress "unwritten rules"
  • May lack awareness of personal space, or be intolerant of intrusions on own space


Rigidity in thinking and behaviour

  • Preference for highly specific, narrow interest or hobbies, or may enjoy collecting, numbering or listing
  • Strong preference for familiar routines, may have repetitive behaviours or intrusive rituals
  • Problems using imagination e.g. writing, future planning
  • May have unusual reactions to sensory stimuli e.g. sounds, tastes, smell, and touch, hot or cold.




All material in this report is provided for information only and may not be construed as medical advice or instruction. No action or inaction should be taken based solely on the contents of the survey findings. Instead readers should consult their physician or other qualified health professionals on any matter relating to health and wellbeing. Readers who fail to consult with appropriate health authorities assume the risk of any injuries. The publisher is not responsible for errors or omissions. Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favouring by the publisher.




Rachel Evans - The Essential Guide to Autism & The Essential Guide to Asperger's Syndrome