Question from one of my friends when I invited them to ask questions on my personal Facebook:
“I want to know just how wide is the diagnosed spectrum?”.
Well, the saying “When you’ve met one person with Autism, you’ve only met one person with Autism” is true. Some children are considered to be low-functioning, some high-functioning, and some in between, all in comparison to other kids without Autism of the same age. So the width of the Spectrum is frankly, huge…but always presents characteristics and behavioural traits that lead specialists to diagnose that child with Autism. The definition of Autism according to Wikipedia is:
“as a disorder of neural development characterized by impaired
social interaction and communication,
and by restricted and repetitive behaviour”
Common characteristics that parents initially present to their family doctor include some and/or all of the following:
- no eye contact
- don’t point using their index finger
- using someone else to point
- start talking and stop
- line up items such as toys, etc
- stimming (repeated body movements such as hand flapping, rocking, head butting)
- unusual responses to people or attachments to objects
- resistance to changes in routines
- sensitivities (hyper- or under-) to things like sounds, tastes, etc
More information is available on the Autism Ontario website.
When we started on this journey, we approached the doctor when my son was 18months old, saying that he had been talking but stopped (whereas his sister started a bit later but kept on talking), didn’t make eye contact with anyone but me, used his father and I’s hands to point to items, and was lining up all his toys. It took another 2 years to get official diagnosis, where he was classified as “severe” but for those who know my son in person, they are amazed as this. He’s a happy little boy, with a smile that lights up the room, can work his way around Youtube like no one’s business, has made amazing developmental leaps in the last couple of years, is a funny dancer, and best of all…is talking! He doesn’t speak the way other 7, almost 8 year old little boys do, but his speech is one of the sweetest sounds I’ve ever heard…primarily because I’ve waited so long to hear it.