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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Signs of Possible ASD in School Age children

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 School Age Children

Communication impairments

  • Abnormalities in language development including muteness
  • Odd or inappropriate prosody (the acoustic properties of speech) i.e. pitch/ tone
  • Persistent Echolalia (persistent repetition or "talking like a parrot") or
  • Palilalia (repeating words or sounds they've spoken themselves)
  • Reference to self as "you", "she" or "he" beyond three years
  • Unusual vocabulary for child's age/social group
  • Limited use of language for communication and/or tendency to talk freely only about specific topics
Social impairment

  • Inability to join in play with other children or inappropriate attempts at joint play (may manifest as aggressive or disruptive behavior)
  • Lack of awareness of classroom "norms" (criticizing teachers, unwillingness to cooperate in classroom activities, inability to appreciate or follow current trends and fads and fit in with the crowd)
  • Easily overwhelmed by social and other stimulation
  • Failure to relate normally to adults (too intense/ no relationship)
  • Showing extreme reaction to invasion of personal space and resistance to being hurried
Impairments of interests, activities and/or behaviours

  • Lack of flexible cooperative imaginative play/creativity
  • Difficulty in organizing self in relation to unstructured space (e.g. hugging the perimeter of playground, halls)
  • Inability to cope with change or unstructured situations, even ones that other children enjoy (school trips, teachers being away etc)
Other factors

Any other evidence of odd behaviours including unusual responses to sensory stimuli


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