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Common autism symptoms

Classic autism, Asperger’s and pervasive developmental disorders – not otherwise specified are three of the main types of autism.

They are broad terms; as the disorders are all on a spectrum there are large variations in the severity of the symptoms experienced.

There are some common autism symptoms across the different disorders:

  • Triad of impairments
  • Sensory sensitisation
  • Repetitive behaviour

Triad of impairments

Autistic spectrum disorders can vary a great deal between individuals, but they share three common traits to a lesser or greater degree.

Autism Spectrum

Social Interaction – one trait of the autistic spectrum is finding it difficult to build and maintain friendships, work in teams and know how to manage social situations.

Difficulties with social interaction tend to continue into adulthood, whereas many people with autism learn compensatory coping strategies for dealing with problems with social communication and social imagination.

For those receiving an autism diagnosis as an adult, social interaction is perhaps the most important of the triad. Difficulties can have a heavy impact on day-to-day life for everyone involved and can result in other conditions such as depression or anxiety.

Social Communication – difficulty understanding and translating body language, metaphors, and sarcasm are all signs of autism. It can be very hard for adults with autism to engage in the ‘natural flow’ of social conversation and many may choose to stay away from social situations to avoid having to engage with others, which can leave the individual feeling lonely, anxious or depressed.

Social Imagination – social imagination refers to the ability to think of another’s point of view, to understand their actions even if they differ from yours and be flexible in your mind-set. Many people with autism find these things incredibly difficult. Working in teams, relating to others with different viewpoints and dealing with unexpected outcomes can be hugely uncomfortable for individuals with autism. Having strict routines and certain ways of doing things gives those with autism a great deal of comfort, but can be challenging for those around them.

Sensory sensitisation

Having overactive or underactive senses is common for those on the autistic spectrum. Certain smells, sounds or textures can be hugely distressing for the individual – for instance the feel of new clothes or background noise can be almost physically painful.

People with autism will experience the above symptoms to greater or lesser degree. Some symptoms are specific to the type of autism experienced.

Repetitive Behaviour

A trait that is common across the autism spectrum is something known as ‘restricted, repetitive’ behaviour. This can show in several ways –

  • An almost obsessive interest in a topic (many people with autism have huge knowledge about certain areas)
  • Repetitive body movements, such as rocking or hand flapping, particularly when stressed,
  • A strong preference for a set routine or way of doing things and huge discomfort if this does not happen

How can we help?

Clinical Partners have a nationwide team of psychiatrists who are able to assess and diagnose adult autism. Our experts understand the difficulties that the disorder can bring and have years of experience of working with a broad variety of people.

If you would like to book a private autism assessment please ring 0203 326 9160. Appointments are often available within a few days. You can also use the contact us form to request a call back.

To talk to one of our team please call today on 0203 326 9160.

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