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What is Autism

Communication

Because of its isolating and withdrawing nature, autistic individuals tend to have a challenge and difficulty in communicating with their surrounding community, especially that autism itself can hinder a person’s ability to focus on conversations for a long period of time.
However, studies have shown that autistic persons have the continuous will to be involved in their surrounding yet cannot control it. The will, however, is there, and this must be fostered and nurtured for the purpose of making breakthroughs and overcoming challenges related to autism.
Characteristics attributed to autism and that may hinder social progress may include difficulty with ready social cues and knowing when to speak or listen, in addition to facial expressions that can be impossible to read, resulting in social isolation.
The ability of children with ASD to communicate and use language depends on their intellectual and social development. Some children with ASD may not be able to communicate using speech or language, and some may have very limited speaking skills.

Others may have rich vocabularies and be able to talk about specific subjects in great detail. Many have problems with the meaning and rhythm of words and sentences. They also may be unable to understand body language and the meanings of different vocal tones. Taken together, these difficulties affect the ability of children with ASD to interact with others, especially people their own age.
Below are some patterns of language use and behaviours that are often found in children with ASD.

Repetitive or rigid language

Often, children with ASD who can speak will say things that have no meaning or that do not relate to the conversations they are having with others. For example, a child may count from one to five repeatedly amid a conversation that is not related to numbers.

Or a child may continuously repeat words he or she has heard—a condition called echolalia. Immediate echolalia occurs when the child repeats words someone has just said. For example, the child may respond to a question by asking the same question. In delayed echolalia, the child repeats words heard at an earlier time.

The child may say “Do you want something to drink?” whenever he or she asks for a drink. Some children with ASD speak in a high-pitched or sing-song voice or use robot-like speech. Other children may use stock phrases to start a conversation. For example, a child may say, “My name is Tom,” even when he talks with friends or family. Still, others may repeat what they hear on television programs or commercials.

Narrow interests and exceptional abilities

Some children may be able to deliver an in-depth monologue about a topic that holds their interest, even though they may not be able to carry on a two-way conversation about the same topic. Others may have musical talents or an advanced ability to count and do math calculations. Approximately 10 percent of children with ASD show “savant” skills, or extremely high abilities in specific areas, such as memorization, calendar calculation, music, or math.

Uneven language development

Many children with ASD develop some speech and language skills, but not to a normal level of ability, and their progress is usually uneven. For example, they may develop a strong vocabulary in a particular area of interest very quickly. Many children have good memories for information just heard or seen. Some may be able to read words before age five but may not comprehend what they have read. They often do not respond to the speech of others and may not respond to their own names. As a result, these children are sometimes mistakenly thought to have a hearing problem.

Poor nonverbal conversation skills

Children with ASD are often unable to use gestures—such as pointing to an object—to give meaning to their speech. They often avoid eye contact, which can make them seem rude, uninterested, or inattentive. Without meaningful gestures or other nonverbal skills to enhance their oral language skills, many children with ASD become frustrated in their attempts to make their feelings, thoughts, and needs to be known. They may act out their frustrations through vocal outbursts or other inappropriate behaviours.

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Behaviour

Through many years of research and medical observations, there have been many recorded behavioural patterns attributed to autism through which characteristics and symptoms of Autism have been identified.