Autism spectrum disorder is an umbrella term used to bring together a group of differing brain disorders. In previous DSM manuals there were several different subtypes: Autism, Asperger’s syndrome, child disintegrative disorder, and PDD-NOS. Autism seems to occur in very early brain development. The most obvious signs and symptoms of autism tend to emerge between 3.5 and 5 years of age (Bernier, 2010, p. 1). Autism affects about one out of every 88 children currently and about 36,500 of every four million children born each year in the United States will have autism (National Institute of Health) Each of these conditions varied in severity although there is no proper method of diagnosis for autism, customarily, the general diagnosis is based on: social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication, and repetitive or restricted behaviors and interests.
People with ASD have a very difficult time communicating how they feel as well as communicating with others. Most of those with autism tend to have language development delays typically developing single words or phrases a year after the average child. Children usually have a hard time not only initiating conversations but also maintaining them. When having conversations repetitive language could be an issue. With repetitive language individuals will use memorized movie or TV show lines as a means of communication. When they express themselves the language can fluctuate in rhythm and tone. When their peers here this and do not understand this complication then it can easy make them outcasts unknowingly. In the category of social behavior, people with autism can have a difficulty understanding others and may not behave according to what is socially acceptable. People with ASDs are very literal in how they think and interpret language and are unable to read social context. When in a conversation it is very difficult for one to make eye contact for a period of time if even at all. As the person is in conversation they generally enjoy talking about their interests but disregard the others attempt to change the topic. If the other individual starts to speak about what happened to them during the day or even what they are interested in, the person with autism tends not to show any interest. Eventually as this continues in one’s life it undoubtable puts a strain on relationships. It limits the abilities to develop friendships and can lead to being ridiculed and the object of bullying.
Furthermore, children with autism do not engage in the make believe due to “mind blindness.” Instead of pretending play, they focus on objects or systems and become obsessed with mechanical items. In the “Sally Puppet Experiment” there were two puppets named Sally and Anne. Sally would place a marble in a basket then leaves, then Anne moves the marble into a box while Sally is gone. When children are around the age of four to five they know that Sally would look in the basket first because she thought it was there, while children with autism will think she would look in the box because they know it’s there (Szalavitz).
Lastly, those with ASD tend to have repetitive or restricted interests or behaviors. They tend to have distinctive interests in particular areas or activities, which they may pursue obsessively and can become experts in the subject. They may struggle to use skills for other activities. They will also have difficulty adapting to new situations and often prefer routine to change. Common repetitive behaviors are hand-flapping, finger flicking, whole body movements, using objects differently than