A disruption in the typical structure of the day, such as a halt on the way home from school, can be quite upsetting to persons with ASD. They may "lose control" and have a "meltdown" or tantrum, especially if they are in an unfamiliar environment. Some persons with ASD adopt routines that may appear strange or superfluous to others. For example, a person with ASD who normally sleeps in late may get up at 5:00 a.m. every morning to swim for an hour before going to work.
Tantrums can be very distressing for parents and caregivers of children with ASD, and may even lead them to feel like quitting their job. However, temper tantrums are not just for people with ASD; they also happen to typically developing children. Usually by age four, most children with ASD understand what causes them to have these outbursts and will avoid those things that trigger them. Parents can help by changing their own behavior when it needs to be adjusted so that the child with ASD does not feel overwhelmed.
Self-stimulatory actions (such as flailing arms repeatedly) are prevalent in persons with ASD. Some persons with ASD suffer from anxiety and sadness. All of these symptoms can make other social issues more difficult to address. With increased awareness, these behaviors can be identified and treated.
Hand flapping is one of the most common forms of self-stimulation among individuals with ASD. It has been known for centuries that this behavior relieves anxiety. Modern studies have confirmed that it also helps reduce stress and may even be useful in treating certain types of depression.
The American Psychiatric Association includes hand flapping in its list of "Behaviors That May Indicate A Person's Autism Spectrum Condition". The association notes that this behavior "may be done to produce sounds, such as humming or singing; to send signals, such as flashing lights, moving objects, or hand gestures; to move limbs quickly in repetitive fashion; or as a form of self-soothing."
Individuals with ASD who exhibit hand flapping should not be punished for their behaviors. In fact, teachers should work with parents and children together to come up with a plan for reducing the frequency of this behavior. For example, the individual could wear a bracelet or ring that makes some sort of sound when tapped or slapped.
Although these symptoms are not necessarily suggestive of ASD, they are frequently the first things people notice when they see aberrant behavior. Some youngsters, for example, like spinning their bodies in circles for considerably longer periods of time than their classmates. Others may engage in this behavior throughout childhood and into adulthood.
Spinning in circles is also called "rotating" or "wheelspinning." It can be done with your body (such as spinning around in a circle) or with your mind (such as thinking about something one way and then repeating that thought in your head). Spinning can be useful in calming down after feeling angry or frustrated or playing with a toy. Sometimes it's helpful to go outside and spin in a playground swing or on a merry-go-round.
Some young children, especially those who are early in their language development, will "talk" to themselves by saying words over and over again. This can sometimes look like spinning because the hands are moving but the body isn't changing position. The child may say "ba ba" ten times in a row if there's a toy that interests them that they play with repeatedly.
Children with autism spectrum disorders tend to focus on certain aspects of their environment to an extreme degree, which can make social interaction difficult. They may spend hours playing with a tiny piece of string, for example, which makes other children uncomfortable.
Children with ASD may also act in unique ways or have strange interests. Repetitive activities such as hand flapping, swaying, bouncing, or whirling are examples of this. Pacing and "hyper" conduct are characterized by constant movement (pacing). Eating and drinking too fast can be a way for someone with ASD to manage anxiety.
As well as having problems communicating, people with ASD often have difficulties understanding other people's feelings. They may also fail to develop social skills because they don't need to communicate emotions through words or gestures.
However, many individuals with ASD show great empathy and compassion for others, especially those who suffer. They may have difficulties relating to others due to lack of experience or poor understanding but these children are usually kind-hearted and loyal.
People with ASD may also engage in odd behaviors. For example, some may seem to enjoy being alone even though they feel lonely. Others may appear not to understand what others want from them even though they actually do. These are just a few examples of how individuals with ASD may differ from others emotionally and behaviorally. There are many more differences that have been overlooked because most psychologists believe that ASD is linked to impaired emotional intelligence.
In conclusion, people with ASD may behave differently from others around them because of the nature of their disorder.
Autistic persons may have rigid cognitive processes and habits, and they frequently do repetitive tasks. Adults with moderate ASD symptoms may not receive a diagnosis until later in life, if at all. Clumsiness is a common indicator and symptom of ASD in adults. Many autistic people develop hobbies and interest areas that they pursue for years. Some become experts in certain subjects.
Mild adult-onset autism looks similar to the childhood version of the disorder. People with mild adult-onset autism may have some difficulties with social interactions and work-related issues as well as problems with learning new information and making decisions. In general, these individuals display few or no major problems in functioning.
Symptoms of adult-onset autism include having a hard time making friends, difficulty communicating with others, sticking to routines, and having an obsession with something specific. These are all characteristics of adult-onset autism too, although their presence or absence will depend on the person involved. There are also various checkups and exams that can be done to measure brain function and structure. This allows doctors to get an idea of how severe any autism symptoms are and what areas of the brain are affected.
Adults who were diagnosed with autism as children may experience changes in their mental abilities with age. Problems thinking quickly or processing information effectively are signs of ASD in adults.