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Autism and Communication (cont.)

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Behaviors

Persons with autism often exhibit a variety of repetitive, abnormal behaviors. There may also be a hypersensitivity to sensory input through vision, hearing, or touch (tactile). As a result, there may be an extreme intolerance to loud noises or crowds, visual stimulation, or things that are felt. Birthday parties and other celebrations can be disastrous for some of these individuals. Wearing socks or tags on clothing may be perceived as painful. Sticky fingers, playing with modeling clay, eating birthday cake or other foods, or walking barefoot across the grass can be unbearable. On the other hand, there may be an underdeveloped (hyposensitivity) response to the same type of stimulation. This individual may use abnormal means to experience visual, auditory, or tactile (touch) input. This person may head bang, scratch until blood is drawn, scream instead of speaking in a normal tone, or bring everything into close visual range. He or she might also touch an object, image, or other people thoroughly just to experience the sensory input.

Children and adults who have autism are often tied to routine and many everyday tasks may be ritualistic. Something as simple as a bath might only be accomplished after the precise amount of water is in the tub, the temperature is exact, the same soap is in its assigned spot, and even the same towel is in the same place. Any break in the routine can provoke a severe reaction in the individual and place a tremendous strain on the adult trying to work with him or her.

There may also be nonpurposeful repetition of actions or behaviors. Persistent rocking, teeth grinding, hair or finger twirling, hand flapping, and walking on tiptoe are not uncommon. Frequently, there is a preoccupation with a very limited interest or a specific plaything. A child or adult may continually play with only one type of toy. The child may line up all the dolls or cars and the adult line up their clothes or toiletries, for example, and repeatedly and systematically perform the same action on each one. Any attempt to disrupt the person may result in extreme reactions on the part of the individual with autism, including tantrums or direct physical attack. Objects that spin, open and close, or perform some other action can hold an extreme fascination. If left alone, a person with this disorder may sit for hours turning off and on a light switch, twirling a spinning toy, or stacking nesting objects. Some individuals can also have an inappropriate bonding to specific objects and become hysterical without that piece of string, paper clip, or wad of paper.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/21/2012

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Autism and Communication - Symptoms Question: What were the symptoms of your child's autism initially?
Autism - Experience Question: Please describe your experience with autism.
Autism Spectrum Disorder - Types Question: What type of autism were you or your child diagnosed with? Please discuss your experience.
Autism Spectrum Disorder - Impact on Family Question: In what ways has autism affected your family?
Autism Spectrum Disorder - Causes Question: What do you believe is the cause of your child's autism?
Autism Spectrum Disorder - Vaccines Question: Did concern about autism cause you to withhold vaccinating your child? Briefly, please share your story.
Autism Spectrum Disorder - Diet and Supplements Question: What dietary changes have you made in the treatment of your autistic child?
Source: MedicineNet.com
http://www.medicinenet.com/autism_and_communication/article.htm

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