Signs of Asperger’s Syndrome / Autism

Through December 2016, I will be writing several comprehensive posts about my experiences with Asperger’s Syndrome that will be shared with my college course blog. Access to this blog is only available to my Washburn University students and professor.

0

Perhaps over the last few years, you have heard on the radio, or seen a few of the television spots or trailers while waiting for your movie to begin at the theaters.  The Ad Council released several advertisements with fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger and NASCAR driver Jamie McMurray, talking about their close family members were affected with autism.  As of press time, The Ad Council and Autism Speaks have taken down the television spots and movie theater trailers according to iSpot.TV.  However, I was able to locate the radio spots by way of YouTube that was ran in 2015.  Coming up in several weeks I will share more on the facts and numbers about the “1:68” factor.

Radio Spot - Jamie McMurray

Radio Spot - Tommy Hilfiger

While the advertisements for Autism Speaks & the Ad Council direct you to a website about the signs of autism and Asperger’s Syndrome.  Their list more highlights on infants and toddlers up to two-years-old; today I went on a research scavenger hunt to come up with a better idea of the signs.  This is not only from birth to infant and toddler stage, but I wanted to include looking at signs as a child and even to teenagers based on many variables I have found.  I want to break it down for you by age group of what can be expected.

Infants & Toddlers
1. Not being able to make eye contact when feeding, smiling or when the child is smiling on their own.
2. The baby is not responding to his or her name, or even to a familiar voice.
3. They are not following visual objects such as toys being engaged or following a gesture of you pointing to a toy.
4. The baby is not waving hello or goodbye or other gestures to communicate.
5. When needing to get attention, they do not make any noise.
6. They do not respond or initiate a response to cuddling or reaching out to be picked up.

As it comes to older children who are in elementary school, there are many other noticeable signs to be watching for:
1. Speaking in an irregular voice character as if asking a question.
2. Repeating the same words or phrases over repeatedly, even if asked a question.
3. The child uses language mistakenly or refers to themselves as in the “third person.”
4. Difficulty in communicating their needs or desires, such as not understanding directions to an assignment.
5. Takes what is said by a person, or seen on television, movie, or video too literally – missing the undertone of the message being funny or sarcastic.
6. Avoiding eye exchange with someone who is speaking.
7. Using facial scowls that do not match to what he or she is saying.
8. Unusually reacting to senses of smells, sights, and textures. He or she may be sensitive to loud noises or sounds not heard by others.
9. Having an irregular stance while sitting or walking.

Some children with Asperger’s Syndrome (ASD) or with autism have trouble picking up on the nonverbal cues by people their own age or those in authority such as a teacher.  A few things I will add from my experience growing up, including in today’s age is those with ASD or autism will have a rigid routine such as how they set-up a workspace, walk to courses, to the way they shop at the store.  One of the things those that have ASD or autism have they will go through what is called a “stimming period” sometimes the individual will notice they are doing it, and sometimes they are not.  A stimming period is when the individual is going through the same actions or movements repeatedly such as flapping hands, rocking back and forth, twirling their hands around each other or in their hair.

Next week we’ll take a look at people who are on the spectrum, some you know today and others you may not even know.  Also, we will take a look at Autism Speaks more in-depth.  As a bonus for my web network Insiders, I will bring you a College Experience vlog on what has been happening behind the scenes here at college.