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Is Autism A Combination Of Conditions/Traits???

Discussion in 'Autism Science Discussions' started by AuBurney Tuckerson, Dec 14, 2019.

  1. AuBurney Tuckerson

    AuBurney Tuckerson ~GigglesTheAutisticHyena~

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    Autism is not sensory processing disorder

    Autism is not social anxiety or awkwardness

    Autism is not being nonverbal

    Autism is not mental retardation (or intellectual disability)

    Autism is not OCD

    Autism is not avoiding or fear of eye contact

    Autism is not obsessions

    Autism is not failure to meet developmental milestones

    Autism is not..

    Then what is Autism? Is it a combination of factors or something completely different? Depending on the traits, it seems like Autism, to me, is a combination ofof lack of social skills, eye contact avoidance, sensory processing disorder, OCD, not meeting developmental milestones, and extreme obsessions in one neurotype. Is that true? Or is it described ad something more complex that I can't understand? What do I say if someone asks me what autism is?
     
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  2. Mia

    Mia Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    What Is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

    Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex developmental condition that involves persistent challenges in social interaction, speech and nonverbal communication, and restricted/repetitive behaviors. The effects of ASD and the severity of symptoms are different in each person.

    Characteristics of Autism Spectrum Disorders
    Autism differs from person to person in severity and combinations of symptoms. There is a great range of abilities and characteristics of children with autism spectrum disorder — no two children appear or behave the same way. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and often change over time.

    Characteristics of autism spectrum disorder fall into two categories.

    • Social interaction and communication problems: including difficulties in normal back-and-forth conversation, reduced sharing of interests or emotions, challenges in understanding or responding to social cues such as eye contact and facial expressions, deficits in developing/maintaining/understanding relationships, and others.
    • Difficulty relating to people, things and events: including trouble making friends and interacting with people, difficulty reading facial expressions and not making eye contact.
    • Restricted and repetitive patterns of behaviors, interests or activities:
      hand-flapping and toe-walking, playing with toys in an uncommon way (such as lining up cars or flipping objects), speaking in a unique way (such as using odd patterns or pitches in speaking or “scripting” from favorite shows), having significant need for a predictable routine or structure, exhibiting intense interests in activities that are uncommon for a similarly aged child, experiencing the sensory aspects of the world in an unusual or extreme way (such as indifference to pain/temperature, excessive smelling/touching of objects, fascination with lights and movement, being overwhelmed with loud noises, etc), and others.
    Also, while many people with autism have normal intelligence, many others have mild or significant intellectual delays. Also, those with ASD are at greater risk for some medical conditions such as sleep problems, seizures and mental illnesses.
     
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  3. Streetwise

    Streetwise very cautious contributor V.I.P Member

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    it’s a Neuro type (we are judged on how different we are from Neuro typical’s )Maybe Also have an anxiety disorder, If there was equality the difference wouldn’t be seen as negative .
    I know someone who has bipolar disorder but I don’t look at her every day and think negatively !she is different .I just know when she is drained from her neurology and Sad that she hides it, The question I am considering is why is Neuro typical the desired state Pick what you like about autism and write it out and keep it on you, not what autism speaks spews out .A lot of people take as Factual what autism speaks says about autism That’s just coming from the oh no we’ve been landed with the booby prize mindset
     
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  4. Peter Morrison

    Peter Morrison Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I find is very difficult to explain ASD to people because they want some kind of tangible, permanent feature as an example for it to make any sense to them. Since many of the features of ASD are in varying degrees and manifest themselves under certain circumstances, the entire concept of ASD seems "fixable", just by changing a behavior or attitude. I find it difficult to respond to comments like "Just be more confident" or "Don't worry about it". We know that our ASD issues are complex and not very apparent to others. Even when speaking to professionals about ASD, they know the vocabulary and the behavioral effect, but they don't experience the complexity of feelings and neurological routes that govern the effect. This is our own personal stuff.

    There have been times in my life when I have become very impatient and I have voiced my dissatisfaction. I now understand where it all comes from and have taken steps to become more patient by anticipating problematic situations and bringing along my diversion toys - namely a pen and an intense crossword puzzle page. I can't avoid the impatience, but I can be less bothered by it if I divert my attention to one of my favorite hyper-focus activities. This is just a coping mechanism. The real monster is the impatience. Unreasonable waiting times can bother anybody, but they can easily trigger a form of meltdown with us very easily. I have to live with it, so I have to find my own personal solution for it. We can be very picky about certain things, and the rest of the world laughs at what appears to be a "quirk" or "eccentricity". We know what creates our quirks because we know we need them to remain as normal and organized as possible. We deal with difficulties in concentrating from time to time and not all of us know how to bring ourselves into focus.

    I recall a post from many months back about a guy who couldn't study because of the chair he had to sit in. That sounds ridiculous to most people, but I can relate to it. I've experienced the same issue. We don't know how the chair interrupts our concentration, but it does. This appears to be unnecessary fussiness to most people. We are very susceptible to environmental stimuli - for better or worse. This is why we are in the category of special needs. We try our best to manage our stability, and we can only do it well if we are aware of the annoyances and conditions that throw us off. These factors are not identical with all people on the spectrum, so explaining them to NT people just sounds like fussy trivial quirks.

    I am reminded of a video I saw online about a young boy's reaction when his parents surprised him with a trip to Disneyland. Instead of being dropped off at school as usual, his parents chose to let him skip school and have a free, fun day. He wasn't told about it until he got into the car. The film was captured on a dash cam aimed at the car's interior, focusing on the boy. When the boy heard the news about going to Disneyland, he started to cry and complain. He was clearly very upset. The film clip is supposed to be funny, but I saw something very different. I believe this boy is on the spectrum. He needed to know about the diversion from school to Disneyland because the switch in agenda was overwhelming for him. Most kids would have been excited to skip school and head to Disneyland instead, but the boy needed to know the itinerary of his day to maintain his balance. He was mentally prepared for school, but not mentally prepared for Disneyland. NTs can't understand what is means for a person on the spectrum to be mentally prepared for events, schedules, and activities. It is a complex process that only the person with ASD can understand or manage. It's very specific to that person. If you don't have this need yourself, it's near impossible to understand that it even exists. Recognizing it is step one, respecting it is step two. The world is unaware of these kinds of needs. They aren't visible needs and they are not what most people experience.

    It all goes back to the fact that ASD is neurological. Certain light switches govern certain fixtures. Somebody else wired the house and this is what we have to live with. Sometimes there is only a 40 watt bulb, and other times the bulbs are as bright at Yankee Stadium. This is what we have to work with. It's very difficult to explain ASD because we have to use clinical terms and concepts to describe our condition. The more meaningful explanations are deeper, emotional reactions to our experiences and capabilities. That's really tough to do. And, it's always the negative side of things that get the attention. I suppose that those who want to understand ASD are more focused on why people on the spectrum are not like everyone else, but they have no interest in the overall condition. They are focused only on those elements that make us odd or less likely to behave like others. That's only a small part of a much bigger issue that we have to live with and manage without any visible signs of struggle.
     
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  5. Crossbreed

    Crossbreed Neur-D Missionary ☝

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    Autism (without complications; ASD1) is a neurotype. It is very similar to intellectual giftedness, but with no guarantee of a high IQ.

    ASD2/3 autism is the above with the addition of a post-natal brain injury. Said brain injury is not autism, but it is something to which we are particularly vulnerable.
     
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  6. Rasputin

    Rasputin Scholar and World Traveler V.I.P Member

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    Peter Morison, what you described regarding the impatience and your coping mechanisms sound just like me. I think I will try carrying around a book of crossword puzzles when I am not at work.
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2019
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  7. Crossbreed

    Crossbreed Neur-D Missionary ☝

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    For me, it is Reader's Digest.
     
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  8. Varzar

    Varzar Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Ok, first, I have to say thank you to @AuBurney Tuckerson for asking this question. I've been struggling with the same sorts of questions.

    Second, I think it's funny that @Mia's list says "Characteristics of autism spectrum disorder fall into two categories", and then has 3 bullet points. ;)

    Finally, @Mia, Is that it, though? I mean, I've heard things like, "increased rationality/logical thinking" or in some cases "intensely emotional". Are all these other things just speculation? or case by case basis?
    If that's all there is to the definition, I'm cool with that. It just seems quite a bit simpler than anything I've read before.. Simpler would certainly make it easier to communicate to others though..
     
  9. Progster

    Progster Gone sideways to the sun V.I.P Member

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    We are not born with a social brain, but must learn to be social to get along with others. A different way of being, just like cats are different to dogs. Asking what characterises ASD is like asking what makes a cat a cat.
     
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  10. Darwin

    Darwin Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    As is the case with most (if not all) mental and psychological disorders, a person, to be diagnosed with autism, has to meet certain criteria listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) for autism.
    Autism is, as Mia said, a combination of symptoms that have to begin to appear during childhood. The main criteria include the ones that Mia mentioned, with social difficulties being the most important one. (Autism = Aut- [self] + -ism [state or condition].)

    Autism is a spectrum disorder, though, that is, autistic people are different.
     
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  11. Mia

    Mia Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    It's not definitive Varzar and I noticed the categories as well, assumed that two were connected in a manner that I can't fathom. It's from the american psychiatric association and the least problematic, as I read twelve definitions initially. Many of which were not very specific. Without quoting the DSM which is far more difficult in some ways, using specific terms that not everyone exactly understands. There is a saying: If you can't be clear then you don't understand what you are attempting to convey. I too struggle with the idea of a definition, as my autism presents differently than my spouses.
     
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  12. OrdinaryCitizen

    OrdinaryCitizen Well-Known Member

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    I think this thread is about Aspergers syndrome.
     
  13. Wolf Prince

    Wolf Prince My future job title.

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    So im listed as having Schizotypal, aspergers, and ADD. Many others on here have more then that. Suggests a struggle to understand which one is having most effect on the persons mind. Which the brain itself is extremely complex. So if something goes amiss. They have only the symptoms to work with. Which could change from one day to the next.

    Also i relate to the schedule change problem. And attempting to explain whats going on tp other people. Is an exercise in patience and usually follows up with an unhelpful tip.
     
  14. the_tortoise

    the_tortoise Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Autism is a behavioural syndrome, a collection of specific behavioral symptoms.

    What it actually is in terms of etiology (cause of the behavioral symptoms - i.e. brain physiology aka brain “wiring”and its causes/shapers like genetics) is almost certainly many different things.
     
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  15. MountainTrails

    MountainTrails Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    The answer depends on whether the person answering thinks of autism as something behavioral or as something primarily neurologically based that drives/influences behaviors. That's why I think the DSM (behavioral) puts many into a rathole of poor understanding.

    Behaviors are symptomatic, not diagnostic, IMO, with Venn diagrams whose interesection sets include things outside autism.

    I think of how much our understanding has changed in 50 years, and how different it will be in another 50 as advances in measurement/imaging allow much greater insight into specific circuits/brain areas of different individuals. I strongly -- very strongly -- suspect that what we now lump together as autism will be separated out into several very distinct neurotypes that support observed behavioral groupings.
     
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  16. Crossbreed

    Crossbreed Neur-D Missionary ☝

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    That was the position of the DSM-4.
     
  17. MountainTrails

    MountainTrails Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Thanks for that info. I'm sad, then, because I think a behavioral focus obscures the entire matter.
     
  18. tducey

    tducey Well-Known Member

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    I think Autism is a condition of many things and our reactions to them.