Children, this article is not diagnostic, written not by a specialist, but by the mother of a child with autism in order to introduce others to what autism looks like in everyday life. The signs listed below will not necessarily be in all children with ASD, but are quite common. If you see that your child does something similar, it does not mean that he has the same diagnosis, please do not use this article as a method of diagnosis, there are other, proven tests for this.
- The most famous example, perhaps, which is familiar even to people who have never dealt with autism — commitment to certain clothes. Depending on the degree of severity, this can be a refusal to wear other clothes than your favorite, say, t-shirts and jeans, and refusal to wear clothes made of some fabrics, for example. In my daughter, this is manifested in the commitment to shoes, especially winter. Persuading her to switch to lighter shoes is not easy. When changing shoes, she feels discomfort, she needs to get used to new sensations and it takes time (from a few days to a few weeks).
- Selectivity in food. Very often I meet examples of the fact that up to a certain age children ate very well, the menu was diverse, and then everything changed. Most often it occurs after the first year of life, sometimes closer to two years. The child ceases to eat soups and porridges in the usual form and eats them only in the form of mashed potatoes. Someone eats only certain foods. One of the mothers once shared that her son eats almost only cucumbers, it is difficult to make him eat other food. Alice loves fried chicken, she is ready to eat only it, but also eats soups and cereals, although not so willingly. Now I slowly accustom her to eat soups and porridges not in a frayed form, but this is a very slow process, although there are some successes. AVA therapists even have a “Food training”, which aims to teach the child to eat a variety of foods.
- The closing of a door. If there is a door in the room-it should be tightly closed. Again, could be manifested in different ways, someone, in principle, does not tolerate the open door, somebody closes them in a certain situation. For example, my daughter cannot sleep if the door to her room is ajar. I used to think that this is peculiar only to her, but after talking with other mothers, it turned out that many children have a similar love for the doors is present.
- Turn off / on the light. It may be that the child, entering any room immediately turns on the light there or turns it off. He does as he feels comfortable. Know one boy with RACES, which needs, to all lamp in of it burned and he necessarily this is checking and controls. My daughter turns off the lights before going to bed everywhere, the whole apartment should be dark. Since she still has a mild degree of autism, it is possible to persuade her to leave the light, for example, in the hallway, especially if she is in a calm state.
- Rituals. A very broad concept. We have it manifested in the road. If we go to a place, it determines it by the route. If we go to classes a certain route and, suddenly, this route was violated (for example, repair of the road and we went to a detour), then for her it means that we go to another place and when we arrive at classes she may refuse to get out of the car. Several experts with whom we worked advised not to change routes and not to give the daughter an extra reason for stress. I went the other way, we always say where we are going, then began to use visualization (showed her on the computer screen the end point of the trip) and it became much easier. At all with this problem very well mismanaged visual timetable (hi AVA-therapy).
- Fear of loud sounds. When we go in the Elevator, Alice always covers her ears with her hands at the moment of stopping and departure — she does not like the sound of the Elevator doors closing. If someone screams loudly, she feels great discomfort and can cry. We often encounter this in kindergarten. The daughter goes to the group “Special child” and it is always very noticeable how they wind up each other. For example, everything is calm and everyone is busy with their business, then there is a loud sound that is unpleasant to one of them, he begins to scream and already from him the rest of the chain are started. With this, too, can be work and cope with fear of utterance help classes on sensory integration.
- Aversion to touch. Someone can not tolerate the touch of others, someone can not stand the touch of strangers, someone only to certain parts of the body. Alice is very not like when you touch the head. So we learned to wash our hair quietly for a long time. Hairstyles, too, she did not give a long time to do, but gradually she got used to the comb and to pigtails and tails. I can braid her, she’ll wear her hair all day, but as soon as she gets home, the first thing she does is take all the rubber bands off her head and let her braids down.
- Stereotyped behavior. It is a very difficult question and I will not dive deep into it, just give examples. Alice loves to swing on the swing, it’s a thrill. But the main stereotype that we have is jumping on the spot. Jumping on the floor, on the couch, on the trampoline, everywhere. She jumps when she is happy, when it is good, when it is fun. Someone is spinning around, someone is swinging, there are a lot of options. The calmer the emotional state of the child, the less such stereotypical actions are manifested, as soon as something begins to strain him, unnerve such actions appear stronger. Some experts say that such actions help children to calm down, to reconcile with the world around them.