Wednesday, May 12, 2004

just a little diagnostic criteria...(but for autism this time)

Some Autism information


Some people have asked me about austim and diagnosis, etc. here is the criteria:

DIAGNOSTIC CRITERIA FROM DSM-IV AMERICAN PSYCHIATRIC ASSOCIATION PERVASIVE DEVELOPMENTAL DISORDERS

299.00 Autistic Disorder

A. A total of six (or more) items from (1), (2), and (3), with at least two from (1), and one each from (2) and (3):

(1) qualitative impairment in social interaction, as manifested by at least two of the following:

Marked impairment in the use of multiple nonverbal behaviors such as eye-to-eye gaze, facial expression, body postures, and gestures to regulate social interaction
Failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to developmental level
A lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, interests, or achievements with other people (e.g., by a lack of showing, bringing, or pointing out objects of interest)
Lack of social or emotional reciprocity
(2) qualitative impairments in communication as manifested by at least one of the following:

Delay in, or total lack of, the development of spoken language (not accompanied by an attempt to compensate through alternative modes of communication such as gestures or mime )
In individuals with adequate speech, marked impairment in the ability to initiate or sustain a conversation with others
Stereotyped and repetitive use of language or idiosyncratic language
Lack of varied, spontaneous make-believe play or social imitative play appropriate to developmental level
(3) restricted repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests, and activities, as manifested by at least one of the following:

Encompassing preoccupation with one or more stereotyped patterns of interest that is abnormal either in intensity or focus
Apparently inflexible adherence to specific, nonfunctional routines or rituals
Stereotyped and repetitive motor mannerisms (e.g., hand or finger flapping or twisting, or complex whole-body movements)
Persistent preoccupation with parts of objects
B. Delays or abnormal functioning in at least one of the following areas, with onset prior to age 3 years:

Social interaction
Language as used in social communication
Symbolic or imaginative play.


And now in English (LOL)....

Common Characteristics of Autism
While understanding of autism has grown tremendously since it was first described by Dr. Leo Kanner in 1943, most of the public, including many professionals in the medical, educational, and vocational fields, are still unaware of how autism affects people and how they can effectively work with individuals with autism. Contrary to popular understanding, many children and adults with autism may make eye contact, show affection, smile and laugh, and demonstrate a variety of other emotions, although in varying degrees. Like other children, they respond to their environment in both positive and negative ways.

Autism is a spectrum disorder. The symptoms and characteristics of autism can present themselves in a wide variety of combinations, from mild to severe. Although autism is defined by a certain set of behaviors, children and adults can exhibit any combination of the behaviors in any degree of severity. Two children, both with the same diagnosis, can act very differently from one another and have varying skills.

Parents may hear different terms used to describe children within this spectrum, such as autistic-like, autistic tendencies, autism spectrum, high-functioning or low-functioning autism, more-abled or less-abled. More important than the term used is to understand that, whatever the diagnosis, children with autism can learn and function productively and show gains with appropriate education and treatment.

Every person with autism is an individual, and like all individuals, has a unique personality and combination of characteristics. Some individuals mildly affected may exhibit only slight delays in language and greater challenges with social interactions. The person may have difficulty initiating and/or maintaining a conversation. Communication is often described as talking at others (for example, monologue on a favorite subject that continues despite attempts by others to interject comments).

People with autism process and respond to information in unique ways. In some cases, aggressive and/or self-injurious behavior may be present. Persons with autism may also exhibit some of the following traits.

Insistence on sameness; resistance to change
Difficulty in expressing needs; uses gestures or pointing instead of words
Repeating words or phrases in place of normal, responsive language
Laughing, crying, showing distress for reasons not apparent to others
Prefers to be alone; aloof manner
Tantrums
Difficulty in mixing with others
May not want to cuddle or be cuddled
Little or no eye contact
Unresponsive to normal teaching methods
Sustained odd play
Spins objects
Inappropriate attachments to objects
Apparent over-sensitivity or under-sensitivity to pain
No real fears of danger
Noticeable physical over-activity or extreme under-activity
Uneven gross/fine motor skills
Not responsive to verbal cues; acts as if deaf although hearing tests in normal range.
For most of us, the integration of our senses helps us to understand what we are experiencing. For example, our senses of touch, smell and taste work together in the experience of eating a ripe peach: the feel of the peach fuzz as we pick it up, its sweet smell as we bring it to our mouth, and the juices running down our face as we take a bite. For children with autism, sensory integration problems are common. Their senses may be over-or under-active. The fuzz on the peach may actually be experienced as painful; the smell may make the child gag. Some children with autism are particularly sensitive to sound, finding even the most ordinary daily noises painful. Many professionals feel that some of the typical autism behaviors are actually a result of sensory integration difficulties.

There are many myths and misconceptions about autism. Contrary to popular belief, many autistic children do make eye contact; it just may be less or different from a non-autistic child. Many children with autism can develop good functional language and others can develop some type of communication skills, such as sign language or use of pictures. Children do not "outgrow" autism but symptoms may lessen as the child develops and receives treatment.

One of the most devastating myths about autistic children is that they cannot show affection. While sensory stimulation is processed differently in some children with autism, they can and do give affection.

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