Many people feel certain rejection towards things that according to their criteria are not ‘normal’, generally this is due to ignorance and lack of interest in alleviating their ignorance. For we know for a fact that what is different is what makes us unique and the only way to accept these differences is to know all about them and be empathetic about them.
After all, how is it possible to understand something if we are not educated about it? It is also about being open-minded and making a contribution that is positive and beneficial to all.
One of the great taboos of society are mental illnesses or disorders, especially those that need more dedication than the rest, as is the case of autism spectrum disorder. In which, these children tend to be seen as rude, disrespectful or distant, they are judged without knowing their history and without being able to see beyond their condition, which does not affect them at all to be great people.
Taking into consideration and with the intention of informing, educating and sensitizing, we bring this article where we will talk about autism and its different typologies..
What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?
Why is the term ‘autism’ no longer considered correct? With the new edition of the ‘Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders’ (DSM-5) the decision was made to change the name to autism spectrum disorder due to its subcategorization into different types, with their own characteristics.
This disorder manifests itself during childhood and it is possible to detect it even in preschool ages, the earlier the diagnosis, the more tools the parents and the child can have to have an ideal adaptation to their environment. As well as the ability to cope with their limitations, which are focused on verbal expression, communication and social interaction and affective demonstration, depending on their level of severity.
However, we can find around us many people with this disorder who lead a regular daily life, thanks to the correct stimulation, excessive love and a lot of understanding in their environment. In addition, they have been able to see their strengths, such as logical-mathematical skills or abstract creativity.
Types of autism spectrum disorders
The following are the types of autism and the characteristics of each one of them.
1. Infantile autism or Kanner’s syndrome
This neurodevelopmental disorder was discovered in the 1930’s thanks to Dr. Krannerfor which it is named after him. It has several levels of severity: 1 (mild, needs help), 2 (medium, needs remarkable help) and 3 (high, needs very remarkable help) depending on its level of affection in the intellectual, social, communicational spheres and repetitive behavior patterns.
Their most notable characteristics are precisely these repetitive behavior patterns (they have a simple but fixed routine and become stressed if they break it) and their difficulty in relating to others (they prefer to keep to themselves and cannot express themselves on a regular basis).
They also have impairments with verbal and nonverbal comprehension, fine and gross motor control, emotional expression, and symbolic and imaginative play. However, they have some interesting characteristics such as being passionate about a subject, admiration and fascination for things that attract their attention and creative agility.
2. Asperger’s Syndrome
Another of the most common in autism and one that is regularly confused, so how do you tell the difference? People with Asperger’s syndrome usually have a medium-high intellectual capacity, so their affections seem to be limited only to their social area. People affected by Asperger’s have very little empathy, low emotional expression and understanding, have a very basic and literal language (so they do not understand jokes or jokes).They have a very basic and literal language (so they do not understand jokes), they tend to be very methodical, perfectionist and somewhat obsessive.
However, this syndrome is one of the most difficult to diagnose and even has to be tested for several years to be sure, that is, a child may be diagnosed at first with Kanner syndrome, but then be reevaluated to confirm Asperger syndrome.
Experts in neurology agree that this syndrome is due to lesions located in the areas of the brain in charge of social relationships and emotions (amygdala, temporal lobe, cerebellum).
3. Childhood disintegration disorder
Also known as Heller syndromeThe disorder is one of the disorders that takes the longest to detect, since no abnormal symptoms are not shown until approximately 2 or 3 years of age, and it may even take some time to be detected. This disorder is unusual, but its regressive and sudden symptomatology makes it one of the most serious.
In this sense, when children have a normal development in their physical, mental and emotional growth, until they reach 2-3 years or more, where they present a chain of regression in the developed skills (motor, cognitive, social, communicative and linguistic) that are not possible to recover.
4. Pervasive developmental disorder not specified
This category appears when the symptomatology presented in children is consistent with the autistic spectrum, but is too general to be identified in any one category. is too general to be identified in any of the previous subcategories.. So it presents all the affections in the social, communicative, motor and emotional areas, but also the passion for the subjects, the organization, the abstract creativity and the following of specific routines can be appreciated.
The farewell to Rett syndrome
In previous editions of the ‘Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders’, until its fourth version, Rett syndrome was included in the category of autism spectrum disorders, then in the most recent version (DSM-5) it was decided to remove it from this category, to give it its own category.
Why was this decision made? The main reason is its genetic origin of exclusivity in the X chromosome and not in the Y chromosome, so this disorder only occurs in females. It also presents a marked difference in regular physical development, characterized by the loss of muscle mass (known as hypotonia) and which is the earliest sign that can be evidenced, even if the signs of regression have not been manifested.
In this disorder, regressive degenerative symptomatologies are presented.In other words, the girls present a regular neuronal, physical and communicative development until they reach the age of 2 or 3 years (although there may be cases where the regression begins later) when the development stops and stagnates and the acquired skills begin to be lost (similar to the case of infantile disintegration disorder).
Why is it difficult to diagnose?
This is due to two main reasons: the similarity between the symptomatologies of the three categories, so that twice the effort is needed.Secondly, because it is very likely that they will inevitably fall into biases due to the difficulty in making the pertinent evaluations of their abilities.
As a result, sometimes there are erroneous or inconclusive results regarding the level of their severity in the different areas of development, as well as in the skills they may have. This is because they are so self-absorbed that it is almost impossible to get to know them.
This is also the case with testing standards (which are sometimes inflexible) and the failure to take into account non-controllable factors that influence their behavior or personality. Therefore, they can be pigeonholed into aspects that are not really present in all cases on the autism spectrum.
Usual treatments for autism spectrum disorder
This condition, despite having certain limitations is not an impediment for children to have a functional and happy life.especially if the following treatments are followed
1. Psychological treatment
In this treatment, interventions are made in the behaviors and behaviors of children, as well as providing parenting strategies for parents. One of the most commonly used techniques is Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) which focuses on the needs of the person, on reinforcing the acquisition of new skills and on stopping the negative impact of the disorder.
2. Social skills training
Yes, social skills can be learned in order to better adapt to the environment. It is not about faking these skills, but teaching them to recognize and use them, e.g., interaction, improving verbal expression, practicing politeness and becoming more self-confident.
3. Finding a new language
The fact that children on the autism spectrum cannot communicate verbally adequately does not mean that they cannot communicate. So be creative and find new ways to express language, such as pictograms, symbols or signs.
4. Recreational and nurturing activities
Extracurricular activities allow children to acquire new skills, build interpersonal relationships, increase their confidence and adapt better to the environment. Some highly recommended activities are swimming, art classes, arts and crafts, music, etc., as well as the inclusion of mental agility games, plasticine, trapeze balls or clay to model at home.
5. Love and independence
Parental love and understanding of their condition is very important for children with autism spectrum disorder to improve and grow in the most functional way. For this it is necessary to act as mediators when a situation of social interaction arises, always give them encouragement, stimulate them at home and create spaces for them to develop autonomy and independence, so that they can stand up for themselves in the future.
Now you know that, just like us, people on the autism spectrum are very different from each other.