What is Autism Tips

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When is echolalia used as communication?

Echolalia as Communication

There are instances that echolalia is used as a form of communication. In these situations, the individual knows that he should say something. He just doesn't know what he is supposed to say. An example is when an individual says, "And today's specials are..." he might be trying to communicate that he is hungry. The individual with autism knows that words are appropriate, he just doesn't know which ones to choose. Echolalia may also be used to communicate feelings. The individual with autism may not know how to express a particular emotion. For example, he may say, "Oh, no. Not again!" when he is trying to communicate that he doesn't want to complete a task. When an individual uses echolalia in an attempt to communicate he should be recognized and rewarded. As he becomes used to using words to make request, protest, or reciprocate conversation the therapist or parents can prompt him to use the proper words.

What is TV talk?

Television Talk

Television talk, or TV talk, is a form of echolalia that involves the repetition of scripts from movies, television shows and commercials. The individual with autism memorizes entire sections of dialogue from television shows, movies, cartoons and commercials and will repeat them over and over with seemingly little purpose. TV talk is often used as a form of self stimulation and it is sometimes used as a way to help the individual sort through certain situations. The familiar words can bring relief during times of stress. This memorized form of speech can also be used as a form of communication in some cases. All forms of echolalia are used to communicate in some way.


Behaviors Associated With Autism

The signs of autism can vary widely. Children with autism are unique. Some are more deeply affected by autism than others. Being aware of the signs can help you to seek the treatment that your child needs. The following are a few examples of the behaviors exhibit by children with autism. • Resisting change • Difficulty expressing themselves • Difficulty interacting with others • Not wanting to be cuddled • Rarely or never making eye contact • Not responding to teaching methods • Being over or under sensitive to pain • Lacking fear • Not responding to verbal cues. These are just a few of the behaviors sometimes displayed by autistic children. While displaying one or two of these behaviors may not be indicative of autism, you should discuss your concerns with a medical professional.

What problems are in the home environment?

The Home Environment

Autism is a disorder that is very demanding on the entire family. Parents and siblings are faced with significant obstacles on a daily basis. Living with an individual who has autism can be a source of stress for family members. Some of the sources of stress derive from the specific characteristics of autism and related pervasive developmental disorders. Communication and social deficits can be detrimental to the home environment and behavioral problems can affect every waking hour. Many individuals with autism require care around the clock. Grooming and self care pose great challenges and sensory issues can make bathing and eating overwhelming obstacles on a daily basis. Sleep problems are common among the autistic population. Some individuals may sleep excessively while others do not seem to sleep at all. Maintaining a daily routine in the home environment is challenging and keeping the many appointments for meetings, doctor visits and therapies can be overwhelming. Safety awareness is a major concern for parents and caretakers of autistic children. Special consideration has to be made to ensure the autistic individual's safety because he is not always aware of the consequences of his actions. With all of the stresses and challenges the family faces many look to processes like Wraparound for in-home therapeutic services. Wraparound is an approach that uses specific interventions to reach goals outlined in a treatment plan developed for the child.

When did autism emerge on the scene of psychology?

History of Autism

The word "autism" first emerged in the English language around 1912 when a psychologist named Eugene Bleuler used the term to describe a population of schizophrenic patients who seemed to be detached from the rest of the world. The root of the word autism is "autos" from the meaning "self" in Greek. The term was later used to refer to autistic individuals as we understand it today around 1943 when Leo Kanner described a group of patients that shared certain behavioral and social characters. It is interesting to note that in 1943, Dr. Hans Asperger identified autistic characteristics in another group of individuals in an entirely different research project. His descriptions related to what we know as Asperger's syndrome today.

What is PDD?

Pervasive Developmental Disorder

Pervasive developmental disorders (PDD) are categorized by social and communication deficits as well as behavioral traits. Many people refer to this group as the autism spectrum of disorders. However, a person who has autism has a PDD. A person can have a pervasive developmental disorder and not have autism. The commonly recognized symptoms of pervasive developmental disorders include social interaction deficits. Individuals who fall within a diagnosis of PDD often have great difficulty interacting with others. They avoid contact with other people and they seem to lack empathy for others. This spectrum of disorders includes deficits in the acquisition of language skills. The individuals who have PDD often have great difficulty using and understanding words, body language, facial expressions and gestures. Common behavior traits of individuals who have pervasive developmental disorders include repetitive movements like rocking, hand-flapping and spinning. Many of these individuals are rigid when it comes to everyday activities and they seem obsessed with routine and order. Pervasive developmental disorders include five different types that vary in symptoms and severity.

What are self stimulatory behaviors?

Self Stimulatory Behavior

One of the most noticeable traits of autism is self stimulatory behaviors simply because they are so outstanding. The stereotyped, repetitive movements serve a particular purpose for the individual with autism and they are very motivating and rewarding as well. Some adults who have autism like Stephen Shore describe self stimulatory behavior as "self regulating behavior" in an effort to communicate how reinforcing and important these repetitive movements are to the individual. Everyone engages in self stimulatory behavior, whether it is nail-biting, eating or watching television. The intake of sensory information is part of our daily lives and individuals who are wired a little differently are challenged with a bombardment of input that is impossible to organize and manage without some form of release. In other cases the individual is seeking out sensory input that is lacking. The stereotyped repetitive movements help to stimulate the nervous system to provide the lacking sensory input. Common self stimulatory behaviors include hand flapping and rocking. Each behavior corresponds to a sensory system in the body that is either lacking or craving input.

What are common signs of autism?

Signs of Autism

The symptoms of autism fall within three main categories: social interaction, communication and behavior. Parents of children with autistic disorder often notice that the children do not respond to their names. They do not gesture and they do not point to objects. Most of the children within the autism spectrum of disorders also engaged in repetitive movements like hand flapping or spinning. Common signs of autism in the social interaction realm include: • Lack of eye contact • Does not notice other people • Does not respond to his name • Lacks empathy • Unrealistic fears • Difficulty making transitions • Unable to take another person's perspective Common signs of autism in the communication realm include: • Does not point to objects • Does not use gestures • Uses few words or no words at all • Does not respond to other people's words and gestures • Unable to process nonverbal cues like facial expressions and body language Common signs of autism in the behavioral realm include: • Repetitive stereotyped movements (hand-flapping, spinning, rocking…) • Obsessive need for order and routine • Has tantrums • Unusual reactions to pain, either unresponsive or over reacting • Perseverates on words, phrases and activities • Preoccupation with certain activities

What is echolalia?


Functional language serves a purpose and that purpose is communication. The basis of communication is to make the thoughts in the listener's mind match the thoughts in the speaker's mind. Echolalia serves a purpose as well. However, that purpose is not always to communicate with another individual. Many individuals who have autism often repeat phrases and parts of scripts from movies that they have seen. The repetition is excessive and it is often used for self stimulation. Other times echolalia is used to help ease stress and perform tasks. Echolalia can be used to help the individual organize his thoughts when entering a situation that may be confusing to him. For example, an autistic individual may say, "Everybody get in line," while approaching a check out counter in a store. The statement is used to help him navigate through the situation, not to communicate anything to another individual.


Defining Autism

The most basic form of autism education involves understanding a working definition of autism. When a child is diagnosed as being autistic, the parents should begin the education process to fully comprehend what is meant by autism. Autism can be defined as a pervasive development disorder. There is no specific cause for autism and currently there are no known cures. Autistic children may have difficulty communicating ideas and feelings, establishing relationships and using their imagination.

What are the five pervasive developmental disorders?

The Five Pervasive Developmental Disorders

There are five pervasive developmental disorders. Each disorder is considered a spectrum disorder so the severity of the symptoms ranges from mild to severe. Each of the pervasive developmental disorders is defined by the DSM IV. PDD-NOS is pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified. This diagnosis covers all cases that involve individuals who show some symptoms of PDD but who fail to fall into one specific category. The diagnosis of PDD-NOS also involves unusual cases as well. Autism is the most recognized of the pervasive developmental disorders and it involves a combination of social, communication and behavioral problems that interfere with the individual's ability to navigate through everyday situations. Autistic disorder ranges in severity from very mild to profound. Asperger's syndrome is unique among the pervasive developmental disorders because these individuals do not show deficits in language acquisition. The social impairments are apparent in Asperger's disorder and these individuals exhibit stereotyped, repetitive movements as well as a need for order. Rett's disorder is commonly found in females. Males who have the disorder do not survive long past birth. Individuals who have Rhett's disorder develop normally until the ages between five and 24 months of age. The child loses skills including hand coordination and language skills and continues to regress from there. Childhood disintegrative disorder appears between two and 10 years of age. The child suddenly loses social, communication and motor skills with little or no warning. Childhood disintegrative disorder is the rarest of the five PDDs.

What is autism?

Defining Autism

Defining autism is a difficult task. The condition is a neurological disorder that has significant ramifications on the individual's ability to interact socially and communicate with other people. Autism is the most recognizable of the five pervasive developmental disorders. In order for an individual to be diagnosed with autism, he has to meet certain criteria defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM IV). The individual must display a combination of symptoms from three categories outlined in the DSM IV; social interaction, communication and behavior. Classic traits of autistic disorder include impaired social interaction, lack of eye contact and lack of empathy. Many individuals who have autism never develop language and when they do, it is often restricted. Stereotyped, repetitive movements and preoccupation with certain activities or objects are also indicative to the autism spectrum of disorders.


Your Autistic Child's Educational Rights

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) entitles children with autism to a free and appropriate public education. Under this act your child should receive an education that meets their needs and provides them with the skills and information other children without disabilities receive. Since your child's specific needs govern what is appropriate education for the child, parents are tasked with understanding not only their child's condition and behaviors but also how the education system works. Parents who take the time to understand these laws help to ensure that their child will meet their potential. It is also often left up to the parents to negotiate with the school to ensure that their child's needs are being met. When a parent fully understands their child's educational rights, they can make informed decisions regarding the education of their child.

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