TMy daughter, who is three, has just been diagnosed with autism, and I am finding it very hard to accept the diagnosis. She is affectionate, makes eye contact and loves Montessori school, and her teachers. She also loves playing with other kids and her cousins. The only thing that I ever noticed
about her was the delay in her speech. Is there a chance that this diagnosis is incorrect? Can children with autism display all the characteristics I have described above about my daughter? My family think I am in denial, and maybe I am. I would love a bit more information on the
range of behaviours you have seen in children with autism. he timing and presentation of symptoms of autism can vary greatly from child to child. Some children show signs very early, whereas in others it may be more delayed. Children may appear to develop normally initially and then regress, often after 24 months of age.
Autism is not just one condition but a range of disorders referred to as the Autistic Spectrum. There are specific diagnostic criteria that help define autism. When someone is diagnosed with autism they may exhibit some or all of these in varying degrees of severity. During the diagnostic process a child will be assessed along a range of verbal and social interaction and communication.
One condition aligned with the autistic spectrum relates specifically to communication. It is the Social (Pragmatic) Communication Disorder. Criteria include persistent difficulties in the social use of verbal and non-verbal communication. This includes: deficits in using communication for social purposes, impairment of the ability to change communication to match context or the listeners needs, difficulty following rules of communication such as taking turns and difficulty understanding what is not explicitly said such as metaphors, idioms or humour. These deficits then result in difficulty effectively communicating, participating socially, achieving academically or later in occupational performance.
Communication limitations often start in early development, but they may only become more obvious once a person has developed to a stage where more advanced communication skills are needed.
Autism Spectrum Disorder itself is defined as “persistent deficits in social communication and social interaction across multiple contexts”, DSM IV. Deficits here may include difficulty in