A new introduction to the Autism Spectrum
Much confusion exists about autism spectrum "disorders" - so rather than enter into a
needless "defense" about it, instead this section will re-examined the current knowledge
and understanding in a different, more inclusive and constructive way. I am an "aspie"
and welcome input from you.
Autism is a cognitive/behavioural variant, currently called "Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)" found in
all age, racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups. It is generally characterized by difficulties in
behaviour, social interaction, sensory sensitivities, and by repetitive and ritualistic behaviors. Some of
these characteristics are common among all the people with this existential behavioural variant; others
are typical characteristics of it, but not necessarily exhibited by all people with this variant. This is the only
behavioural variant that can truly be described as a "spectrum", since it contains within it such a large
range of variation in manifestations, to truly resemble the main human behavioral spectrum.
Severe forms of this variant are often diagnosed in the first two years of a child’s life, but sometimes
high-functioning individuals may not be accurately diagnosed until much later in life.
The "Levels" within: Adults with autism who are "high functioning" may have only mild challenges;
others may have more severe symptoms, like impaired spoken language. No two people with autism
will have the same symptoms manifested in the same way. Regardless of manifestation or severity,
autism symptoms commonly interfere with everyday life.
"Levels": People with Level One autism need the least support, while people with
Level Three autism need the most.
Klaas Tuinman M.A.
Life Self-Empowerment Facilitation
at Dawn Cove Abbey
Comments and Questions are welcomed
1. Autism: Can autism develop (vs show up) later?
Some children show signs from birth. Others seem to develop normally at first, only to suddenly
show symptoms when they are 18 to 36 months old. However, it is now recognized that some
individuals may not show symptoms of a communication anomaly until demands of the
environment exceed their capabilities.
In the case of high-functioning autism, for example, it's not unusual for a child (or even an adult)
to receive a diagnosis much later than most children are diagnosed with autism—but that's not
because symptoms suddenly developed.
2. Quasi-Autism: Can you suddenly become autistic?
Neither Older Children Nor Adults Can Develop Autism To begin with, by definition, older
children, teens, and adults do not develop autism. In fact, in order to qualify for an actual autism
diagnosis, you must have symptoms that appear during early childhood (that is, before age
three). Thus, if you know an adult or older child who has suddenly, out of the blue, developed
behavioral or social communication issues reminiscent of autism, you are not seeing someone
who has acquired autism!
People who appear to suddenly behave in an "autistic" manner may have developed any one of
a number of other behavioural issues, some of which do most commonly appear in early adulthood.
Autism-like behaviors and traits may result from a wide range of behavioural variants; from
social phobia to generalized anxiety to obsessive compulsive disorder. These are serious
anomalies that have a significant impact on an individuals' ability to function effectively,make or
keep friends, or hold a job, and they should be treated. But they are not autism.
Autism is not something in a child (or you) that needs to be fixed; it is something to help your child
(and/or you) to use and adapt. Why should people with challenges always be the only ones having
to change, or adapt?In a way they reflect the great cultural spectrum diversity all around us.
Child Development: a note
For children with autism, the world can be a confusing place. It is important to realize that initially, the
child doesn't know that he or she is the one who is considered "different": from its perspective, it's the
others who are different, and thus puzzling (more on this to come).
The other thing is, that regardless of the communication difficulties, most children (and adults) with
autism, hear and understand the conversation going on around them: general conversations, as
well as about them, specifically.
Note 2: Asperger’s, a high-functioning disorder on the autism spectrum, whose symptoms can
include above-average intelligence, difficulty with social skills and obsession with specific,
Addendum: When you know One person with Autism, you know 1 person with Autism. You
cannot generalize from that. Each one manifest a different "mix" of the various traits from this
behaviour spectrum. More detail, and other pages to be added soon
NOTE: since this is a whole new approach, it requires viewpoints, experiences, knowledge and
wisdom from all who have existential familiarity with this to help others understand and cope with
this form of human neurodiverse behavioural diversity: thus I ask you for your input and assistance.
|About the Autism "Spectrum"
Klaas Tuinman MA
Dawn Cove Abbey Online
"Autism" or Genius?
|Re-visioning Human Behavioural NeuroDiversity in a new Key