Wellington Leaning Solutions

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Symptoms of Autism

Davis Autism Approach can benefit anyone on the autism spectrum, but here the focus is on the symptoms generally associated with Asperger’s syndrome or high-functioning autism. That is because parents of someone diagnosed with autism will likely already have obtained a formal diagnosis before visiting this web site.

All individuals on the autism spectrum will display many of the following characteristics to a greater or lesser degree. No individual will have all of the characteristics. If you have a loved one that seems to have many of these characteristics, please contact Margot Young for more information or to arrange a consultation regarding the Davis Autism Approach.

Triad of Impairments

People on the autism spectrum experience difficulties with social interaction, social communication and social imagination. These are known as the Triad of Impairments (Wing 1981).

Social Interaction

Problems with social interaction may show as:

  • not paying attention to others;
  • being aloof, distant and uninterested;
  • being alone and withdrawn;
  • a lack of social skills;
  • inappropriate social behaviour;
  • a lack of understanding about friendship or strangers;
  • difficulties in making and sustaining friendships.

Social Communication

There is a wide variation in the extent of difficulties in communicating. These may be verbal and non-verbal, for example:

  • not fully understanding the meaning of common gestures, facial expressions or tone of voice;
  • unusual patterns of verbal communication;
  • Echolalia (repetition of what has been said to a person);
  • making up words;
  • difficulty with ‘I’ and ‘you’;
  • inappropriate tone of voice;
  • a lack of facial expressions and gestures.

Social Imagination

This may show as:

  • difficulty in understanding how others think, feel and react;
  • problems with imagination;
  • difficulty in the development of imaginative play;
  • having a literal understanding of language, for example having difficulties with expressions like “it’s raining cats and dogs” or “pull your socks up”;
  • problems with predicting events or actions.

Patterns of behaviour, interests or activities

Some common patterns of behaviour, interests or activities in people with ASD include:

  • being obsessed with a certain topic or object;
  • focusing on specific routines or rituals that have no practical function;
  • repeating actions or movements like hand flapping, spinning, and/or body movements;
  • intense preoccupation with parts of objects;
  • extra sensitive (hypersensitive) or under sensitive (hyposensitive) to certain sounds, smells, tastes or textures.