Autism can be described as a disorder of neurodevelopment, causing alterations in social
    interaction and with the subject's surroundings. It also causes problems with verbal and
    non-verbal communication, and sometimes very restricted and usually repetitive behaviour.

    There tend to be other physical and mental health conditions that are more common in people
    with autism including ADHD, anxiety, phobias, seizures and gastrointestinal disorders.
    Autism spectrum disorder is considered a neurological condition [ANOMALY], and often people with
    ASD will want to follow a certain set of behaviors, and changes in their routine can be met
    with intense resistance.

    Since autism is a wide variant disorder, people with this condition are all different from one another,
    and some people may have mild symptoms while others may have severe symptoms.

    Some of the areas where a person with ASD may have trouble include feeling empathetic, physical
    contact and certain stimuli.
    There is no cure for autism, but parents of children with the disorder often research ways they can
    help their child. One theory that’s been floated around, particularly recently is that marijuana may be
    helpful for autism.

    The reason more people are questioning links between marijuana and autism is because it’s believed
    that some types of autism may be the result of a lack of endocannabinoids, which are molecules that
    are naturally found in the body but are similar to components of marijuana including CBD and THC.
    Some researchers believe that having low levels of endocannabinoids may be one of the causes of autism.

    My introduction to autism was a shocking one at age 12.

    Like a special maze we help them find their way out of - and for us to find a way into so that
    we can have a true connection.

    Want vs Need. Burden vs Reality Of Life

    Wanting people (others) to be like us - rather than them being themselves.

    Asylum originally meant shelter and safety

    Idiot imbecile cretin moron dimwit

    Hitting is also a form of connecting when there is a need to connect but cannot relate to how others do so.

    Not just a particular behaviour - but a whole range (not even a cluster, always)

    Imagine moving to a new country - and having to learn all new "rules", in a situation where
    few of the rules are practised or observed everywhere.

    Who knows what a "wink" means?

    We all have rich interior lives and active imaginations - so why would that be a negative thing?

    We all have Private and Public "selves", and for many people, the two are very distinctly
    different, to the point that they would be virtually unrecognizable outside the venue where we
    are accustomed to experience them. It's almost like so many people are not only singing off-key, they are on
    their own variation of the key that's being sung.

    We all at times have difficulty in communicating. Language has so many nuances, plus literal vs
    figurative. Same for body language and facial expression: our familiarity with those comes from
    our accumulated repertoire based on past occasions and settings. When the setting changes, our
    ability to accurately "read" the situation is impaired. A "nuance" is basically a "code" - and those
    often do not apply in new settings (set and setting). Communication.   

    We have come a long way in the last several decades, when it comes to understanding and dealing
    with autism. Gone are the days when those who had this pattern of communication and connection
    difficulties, would be embarrassments to their families; in many cases locked in a back room at
    home, soften with bandage, straight-jacket (or other) restraints and even cloth over their mouths
    to muffle their sounds. They would gradually be spoken about less and less, and their picture
    would be taken down, and, slowly the child was virtually forgotten about (except for their very
    basic needs being looked after). They were often referred to as "idiots", "vegetables", or "evil",
    etc. Many of those who weren't locked away at home, were locked in asylums.

    A major area of focus: Language-Speech (verbal communication).
    I use the word "variant", carefully. First, because although each human is a micro-culture of their
    own they are still part and parcel of the larger culture/community - whose general rules, etc each
    of us learn as we grow. Thus we are, "variations On A Theme", so to speak: variants.
    It is good practice not to talk about the child, in front of, or around, the child. It turns out,
    that most of them hear, absorb and "understand" what's being said. Often, it is not
    complimentary, and then the "speechless" one has an even greater burden to carry - re: their
    seeming communication "inability"). Even though they re not speaking - they are accumulating
    a constantly expanding vocabulary, like a silent dictionary - acquiring and learning the meaning
    of the words. And with many of them, the day will come when they begin to communicate back;
    whether through spoken language, typing/writing, singing etc, The words will be pronounced
    correctly, and their sentence structure and grammar will be correct.

    If you spoke disparagingly about that child in front of them - are you ready to one day hear
    her/him tell you how hurtful and unloving that was, and how it made almost all of their hope
    disappear? And think of what such words would do to their already down-in-the-cellar self image that
    they fostered m ore and more deeply over the years.
    We need to change our narrative.

    When we meet someone from another culture who does not speak or understand our language,
    one option we have is to learn their language (and customs) - sufficiently enough to be able to lead
    them into ours - gradually.

    Have you ever been stuck on a word - like on the tip of your tongue one minute, and can't remember
    it the next? Or had moments where adding a couple of numbers was suddenly a frustrating exercise?

    To understand Autism a small number of things are important to remember and take into
    account: one of those is Language, but there are others, etc.

    In a manner of speaking, Autism is a variant of our language, and some "behaviours" are
    their culture, or customs.

    Autism is a  variant of what most of us experience from time to time: only for these with this
    challenge, it is full time.

    This is not intended to be a definitive final word on Autism. Rather it is an exploratory journey,
    in a new, or other) way for understanding and living with Autism Spectrum "challenges" in
    communication (interpersonal, inner-personal, as well as connections with the world, and
    people around them. My views here are my own, although I welcome other views gladly. These
    reflect the development stage of alternative ways of looking at it, understanding it and "dealing
    with/treat it (after numerous years of research, thought, study, interaction, and reflection. Some
    of what I've reproduced here is based on information gather from "the net". I invite you to
    engage in dialogue on this with me - so that together we can create a comprehensive inform-
    ation and knowledge page.

    A lot has to do with communication: verbal and non-verbal.

    Language Arts and Arithmetic/Math
    BOTH have structure - both are a "language" (symbolic - the second one is "easier" - it is the
    same, every where). The one is extremely Literal; the other is much more complex because
    so much of it is figurative - also including  location (environment), place, time, circumstance
    , "vibes" and incl face and body language, and the words themselves: see Communication.

    A spectrum is a beautiful thing, when we think of it as the "colour spectrum": a graduated,
    inter-connected range of beautiful colours we are aware of: not as in the "grey-scale". There
    is a big caveat (caution) to bear in mind on this topic: that just as we have experienced over
    and over - when we finally "know" a person, we "know A person" (as in 1) - we cannot
    generalize from that to thinking we now know All persons. We are all unique, and we get to
    know one person at a time - and discover there is great diversity: commonalities over-lapped
    with differences - each a variant" of some vague concept called "norm".

    Very literal "think of a tree" can be challenging for some people - they need specificity - and
    have that "explained" in language and wording that they can relate or connect too. Actually,
    we all have moments that we need to have thing "spelled out", for us.
Dawn Cove Abbey
"Roadside Assistance" for your Journey through Life
- Dedicated to helping people return (and maintain) sanity and decency to life -
From, "One! The Journey hOMe", the eBook by Klaas Tuinman M.A © 2007-2019
Comments and Inquiries are welcome
    NOTES (raw)  Temporary (What We Know - summary)

    While it's handy to describe people with autism based on their similarity to "typical" people with
    autism, such descriptions can be misleading. That's because there is not much that is "typical",
    because low functioning people may be successful where high functioning people are not, and
    vice versa. For example, the "high functioning" person who appears "normal" (or even
    exceptional) in a college classroom may find it impossible to function at a party. Meanwhile, the
    "low functioning" person who can't use spoken language to chat, may be more than capable of
    leading a conversation online.

    "Levels" of Autism from the DSM5 (not my favourite source).
    To provide some type of differentiation in diagnosis, the DSM 5 (the newest diagnostic manual)
    now includes three levels of autism based on necessary levels of support.
    * People with level one autism need the least support, while people with
    * level three autism need the most.

    While this diagnostic approach sounds logical, it has not proved to be particularly useful. That's
    in part because the need for support varies for so many reasons. For example, the same individual
    may need minimal support in the home, significant support at school, and a great deal of support in
    a novel, unstructured social situation.

    Sudden Onset?
    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 spectrum 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,
    you are not seeing someone who has acquired autism.

    People who appear to suddenly behave in an "autistic" man manner may have developed any
    one of a number of other mental health issues, some of which do most commonly appear in
    early adulthood.

    NOTE: autism-like behaviors may result from a wide range of disorders from social
    phobia to generalized anxiety to obsessive compulsive disorder. These are serious
    disorders 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.

    Onset Time (from Autism speaks)
    Is it possible that autism starts even earlier (before birth)? Research tells us “yes.”

    “When does autism start?” is one of the most profound questions we face in our field.  At
    present, autism can’t be reliably diagnosed until around 2 years of age. However, parents
    often notice symptoms before then. In fact, analysis of videotapes from children’s first-birthday
    parties shows that signs of autism are already present for many children at that age, even
    hen parents don’t become concerned until months or years later.

    In most medical conditions, the underlying processes are triggered before their signs and
    symptoms become obvious. Consider arthritis. The joints are breaking down and inflammation
    is setting in years before the aches and pains appear.  In dyslexia (reading disability), the
    symptoms aren’t obvious until a child starts learning how to read. But the symptoms are
    rooted in brain differences that are present much earlier in development.

    A similar chain of events occurs in autism.  We know that toxic exposures during pregnancy
    and complications associated with delivery can disrupt brain processes before birth and
    shortly afterwards. Mutations in the genes associated with autism can affect how the brain
    develops and functions, starting well before birth.

    Even though the outward symptoms of autism may not be apparent immediately after birth,
    the underlying brain differences are accumulating.  Sometimes the brain can compensate to
    make up for the disrupted processes.  Eventually though, if the disruption was sufficiently
    severe, the compensatory processes are no longer enough, and symptoms emerge.

    This may likewise explain many cases of autistic regression, in which a young child seems to
    be developing normally, only to lose abilities, or regress, into autism. Perhaps the initial
    disruption in brain development continued worsening. Or perhaps the compensatory
    processes couldn’t keep up.

    Given how complex the brain is, it can be very difficult to correct differences in brain
    development and function that start so early in life.

Autism is not something in a child (or you) that needs to be fixed; it is
something to help your child (or you) to use and adapt. Why should people
with challenges always be the only one to change, or adapt? Autism is a
communication and connection variant of the diverse human behavioural
spectrum: it is not "the" spectrum - nor "a" spectrum in itself. In a number
of ways it is not much different from the great cultural spectrum diversity all
around us.

The "official" description is: "Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is an
extensive developmental disorder that is expressed in almost all dimensions
of the child's development. It is now common to refer to this disorder a
a wide range of Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD) in which there are
various manifestations and symptoms."
Autism is also called autism spectrum disorder, and it is classified as a range
of conditions. These conditions are defined by issues with social skills,
exhibiting repetitive behaviors and nonverbal communication. There are many
ways autism may be exhibited, and in most children, the more outward signs
begin to show around two to three years old. In some children, it’s diagnosed
as early as 18 months.