The Early Signs Of Autism

Children with autism exhibit developmental differences in their behaviour, social and language skills as they reach their second birthday. Some of them sit, crawl or walk on time, but changes in the progress in their language, body gestures and avoidance of eye contact often go unnoticed by parents. Along with these early signs of autism in children, they display other behavioural differences such as loss of interest while interacting with peers.

Identifying The Signs Of Autism

Children on the spectrum lack in social, communication, and behavioural skills. Some of the symptoms of autism or differences in their conduct that need immediate attention are:

1. Social Differences 

  • Make little or no eye contact when addressed
  • Fail to decipher facial expressions and gestures
  • Do not point out objects of personal interest
  • Do not show appropriate facial expressions
  • Show concern or empathy for others
  • Prefer to stay alone even when in a group
  • Uninterested in making friends

2. Communication Differences 

Some of the early signs of autism in children that indicate a lack of communication skills are:

  • Do share things such as toy and games with others
  • Do not speak single word/words, even when they complete16 months of age
  • Imitate or repeat exactly what they hear or see (parroting or echoing) without understanding the meaning
  • Do not respond when called by name
  • Show no desire to communicate or take part in a conversation
  • Do not indulge in ‘pretend play’ using toys to represent people around them
  • Some children have a good rote memory for numbers and can easily memorize songs or advertisements aired on radio or TV

Some of the children go into regression and lose their language and other social milestones, between the ages of 15 and 24 months, if not treated.

3. Behavioural Differences – Repetitive, Compulsive or Obsessive Behaviors

Obsessive and repetitive behaviour disorder is considered an anxiety disorder that individuals with autism experience through repetitive thought and action. Some of the behavioural disorders that differ from person to person are:

  • Rocking, hand-flapping, finger-flicking, walking on toes, jumping or twirling
  • Prefers a fixed routine. The slightest change or transition can upset them easily
  • Obsessed with parts of their toys (wheels of a car, neck or limbs of a doll) rather than the whole toy
  • Do not feel pain when hurt
  • Children with autism are sensitive to touch, sound, light, smell, and sound

There is no cure for autism. Still, various interventions help in diminishing the dire symptoms. For treating symptoms of autism such as social, behavioural and communication (verbal/non-verbal) skills, successful approaches and trained therapists are required. Therapies like occupational therapy, applied behavioural analysis, speech therapy, and art therapy are some of the main tools for building lost skills.

Medical Management – Relief From Recurring Symptoms

Some of the medical conditions in people with autism can be treated with medicine. This medical management of autism can improve their health and quality of life.  

A clinical approach for autism includes the confirmation of autism diagnosis and the intensity level of core behavioural symptoms. The behavioural symptoms need several treatment options, including therapies that include occupational therapy. This therapy improves fine motor skills, self-help abilities, and also treat various sensory issues (touch, vision, noise). 

Gastrointestinal conditions, epilepsy and sleep problems occur more frequently in children with autism. Medical management for autism is a symptomatic approach aimed at treating the underlying core symptoms. Several medicines benefit children on the autism spectrum when other options fail. They do not treat autism completely, but offer relief from recurring symptoms. 

Medication Options 

There are medications for treating antipsychotic conditions, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms, and also antidepressants and anti-psychotic conditions. They do benefit the children but fail to treat the developmental syndrome of autism. 

Antidepressant and Anxiety Medication

Children with autism are challenged by anxiety or obsessive behaviours. These behaviours include the impulse to evade or run away from new situations, the fear of separation, and obsessive/neurotic behaviour that can cause a huge problem in their daily life. Anxiety in children is similar to ‘black-and-white’ thinking that can trigger self-injury, explosive temper and violent behaviours. They also develop depression, which may worsen if not treated with the right medication prescribed by a physician.

For antidepressant and anxiety symptoms, the prescribed medications are Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) that include Citalopram, Escitalopram, Fluvoxamine, Fluoxetine, and Sertraline. These medications have been approved for children with autism. They help in easing obsessive thought, anxiety, and compulsive behaviours. Parents must closely monitor signs of side effects.

Antipsychotic Medicines

Medications like Risperdal or Aripiprazole are approved as the best way to manage bad temper. The doctors also prescribe these atypical anti-psychotics drugs to improve aggression and mood swings in children with autism. These antipsychotics are also beneficial in improving anxiety.

Along with potential benefits it also comes with the risk of side effects which include a threat of developing diabetes and weight gain among others. Blood sugar and weight must be regularly monitored in children consuming these medicines.

Thus, medical management of autism may benefit children with autism. The medicine not only treats a few autism traits, but also offers relief from common recurring symptoms. Parents need to decide which medications would be beneficial for a child’s life. Appropriate medications allow children to move forward in their lives.

Intervention Program: A Treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorder

Children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) show problems related to social, communication and behavior deficits. Known as a spectrum disorder, individuals with autism have either mild or severe symptoms. The type of treatment they receive depends on their individual needs. 

Early diagnosis coupled with effective intervention is vital for achieving the best possible future for children with autism. Diagnosis of ASD is possible from as young as six months and before the age of 3.  

Treatment Options For Managing The Symptoms

Different treatment options for autism spectrum disorder are applied to improve their social, speech and behavior deficits in individuals. These treatments depend on his/her individual needs, but the goal is to reduce the symptoms and enhance development.

The most effective treatment options for autism spectrum disorder are applied behavioral analysis (ABA), speech therapy, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, art therapy, medical management, etc. At times, a prescribed medication and diet plan also helps in managing their conditions. Intervention program works to minimize the impact of ASD symptoms and to maximize the functional and quality of life of individuals. 

Speech Therapy

Individuals with autism spectrum disorder have deficits in verbal and non-verbal communication. They also have trouble producing speech sounds, and their language, if present, is hard to understand. Speech therapy done under the guidance of a speech-language therapist helps individuals to express their needs or wants. Electronic talkers, picture communication programs, massaging lips or facial muscles to improve the articulation of speech are some of the useful tools implied by the therapist to improve communication abilities.

The speech therapy sessions assist the participants to understand both verbal and nonverbal cues such as tone of voice, facial expressions, and body language. The speech therapist work with family members, caregivers, and teachers to promote communication skill in the natural setting at home and school.

Occupational Therapy (OT)

The goal of occupational therapy is to improve social interaction, behavior, and to help the child lead an independent life.

Occupational therapy is useful in treating sensory integration issues related to autism. It refines the fine motor skills to help individuals in tying shoelaces, buttoning the shirt, combing hair, writing and cutting with scissors. It improves their quality of life and the capability to participate in day-to-day activities. Each occupational therapy program is based on goals to improve sensory integration, fine motor issues, enhance social behavior and independence.

Physical Therapy 

Apart from behavioral, sensory and communication difficulties, individuals with autism spectrum disorder also experience difficulties with motor skills. Physical therapy is one of the best treatment options for autism spectrum disorder to improve gross motor skills. It improves the muscle tone of the individuals and their ability to participate in activities (balancing, hopping, skipping or riding a bike) with more refined and sophisticated body control.  

The various treatments or therapies for autism are effective when integrated into the individual’s early intervention programs.

Some Of The Signs Of Autism Seen In Children

Autism or autism spectrum disorder is a complex neurodevelopment disorder that is marked by social, behavior and communication difficulties in children. Being overly focused on certain objects, avoiding eye contact, and failing to involve babbling at a certain age are few of the signs of autism in children. Sometimes, they may appear to develop normally till reach age three, then become indifferent towards social engagement.

Sometimes, children with autism may sit attain their motor milestones (sitting, crawling, walking) at the right time, but may have developmental differences in their social and communication skills. They may show delays in spoken language and social interaction with their peers. Thus, children with autism have differences in their behavior, social, and communication skills when compared with those who are not on the spectrum.

Social Skills

Children with autism have problems with their social skills do not know how to engage with others and prefer to be alone. Some of the socially linked symptoms of autism seen in kids may include the following:

  • Avoid or make little eye contact
  • Do not reply to their name 
  • Show no emotion or facial expressions
  • Do not point out to objects of interest
  • Unable to understand the feelings of others by their tone or facial expressions
  • Have no concern or sympathy for others
  • Unable to make friends 

Communication Skills

Not every child with autism has a speech issue. Their ability to communicate depends on intellectual and social development. Children with autism are self-absorbed in their thoughts and unable to successfully communicate with others. As they have difficulty in language skills and understanding, they find it hard to interact verbally and also non-verbally through hand gestures, the nuances of vocal tones, and facial expressions. Some of the signs of autism in children with communication difficulties are:

  • Delayed language skills 
  • Repeat what they hear without understanding 
  • Speak in a robotic or a singsong voice
  • Use mixed-up pronouns ‘you’ for self and ‘I’ for others 
  • Cannot initiate a conversation  
  • Do not pretend play
  • May remember dialogues and songs or can speak on a specific topic without understanding the meaning 
  • Unable to stay on a topic when answering questions
  • Cannot identify a sarcasm from a joke

Behavioral Disorders

 Disruptive behaviors, such as aggression, are seen in children with autism. Some of the challenging symptoms of autism that involve behavioral issues in children are:

  • Repetitive actions (stereotypic behavior) such as rocking, spinning, or flapping hands 
  • Prefer to stick to a fixed routine and become aggressive due to instant changes
  • Being obsessed with particular activities or certain parts of the toys
  • Maybe over-sensitive or under-sensitive to touch, sound, smells, lights, and touch
  • Hurt themselves (headbanging) without exhibiting pain

 If a child shows signs and symptoms of autism, remember that a consultation with a pediatrician can make a big difference!

Treatment Options To Teach Skills To People On The Spectrum

Autism is a neurological disorder that is marked by behavioral conditions. It is characterized by impairment in social interaction, deficiency in communication skills, difficulty adapting to change, and repetitive or stereotypic patterns of activity and interests. The symptoms linked with autism are visible before the age of 3 years. The symptoms vary in severity differently in each individual. Diagnosis of the ‘spectrum’ and involvement of various treatment options for autism help individuals to lead an independent life.

Diagnosis

For diagnosing autism spectrum disorder, the doctor investigates the developmental delays to detect whether the child displays any signs and symptoms of autism spectrum disorder. The child is then referred to a psychologist and a neurologist for an evaluation.

A specialist who treats children with an autism spectrum disorder, such as a child psychiatrist or psychologist, pediatric neurologist, or developmental pediatrician, for evaluation and treatment options for autism spectrum disorder. To determine the disorder a specialist may:

  • Ask if the child’s behavior, social interactions, communication skills have developed/changed with time
  • Tests the child’s hearing, speech, social, communication, and behavioral issues
  • Include other observations and remarks of other specialists after diagnosis
  • Advise genetic testing to test whether the child has other genetic disorder like Rett or fragile X syndrome

 Treatment

There is no treatment that can completely cure autism spectrum disorder. Still, the involvement of various treatment options for autism spectrum disorder such as occupational therapy, speech therapy, aqua therapy, play therapy, and drama therapy can maximize a child’s ability by reducing the severity of the symptoms and supporting development and intelligence. Early intervention helps the child to acquire essential social, communication, behavioral and functional skills.

To treat the child, the professionals create a treatment strategy to meet his/her requirement. Depending on the needs, speech therapy is introduced to improve communication skills, physical therapy to improve motor skill and balance and occupational therapy helps the child to learn activities of daily living while a psychologist can resolve problematic behavior.

Some of the treatment options for autism spectrum disorder include:

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA): Applied behavior analysis is one of the best treatment options for autism that help children to acquire new skills to be used in multiple situations through a reward-based motivation. ABA therapy removes unwanted behaviors and install desired behaviors and skills in a child with autism. The therapy is known to reduce outbursts such as tantrums, teach a child to sit quietly and wait for his/her turn, and use words such as ‘please, sorry and thank you’. A reward also helps the child to share toys and brush his/her teeth. 

Speech therapy: Kids who have language issues can benefit socially, emotionally and academically from speech therapy. A speech therapist uses pictures, charts, and books or asks the child to imitate sounds which he/she finds difficult. They also demonstrate how to move their tongue and lips to create specific sounds. Speech therapy helps a child to speak clearly, feel more confident and less frustrated. 

Occupational therapy: The goal of occupational therapy is to assist individuals with autism to participate in the activities essential in everyday life. Occupational therapy combines various strategies which include physical activities to develop body awareness, play activity for enhancing better interaction and communication, etc

The Advantages of Art Therapy

Autism is a group of disorders, evolving due to the neurological condition, developed before or after birth. The symptoms include social impairment, repetitive or compulsive behaviors, and trouble with communication. Children with autism also have trouble with sensory processing (hypersensitivity to sounds). Early intervention therapies for autism aims at treating behaviors related issues through conventional or complementary treatments such as art therapy.

Art based therapy, such as dance therapy, drama therapy, and music therapy, promotes mental and emotional growth. Art therapy for autism is conducted to address various deficits and problematic behaviors.

For Verbal Communication

One of the hallmarks of autism is impaired communication skill! Children with autism lack self-expression and language (verbal and non-verbal) difficulties. Art therapy for autism helps individuals to ‘speak out their thought’ and express themselves without words. These individuals are highly visual thinkers and can sketch or paint what they think in a picture or image form. The therapy acts a relief from the struggle to express one’s thought through words.

For Social Skills

Individuals with autism struggle with interpreting a person’s voice tone or facial expression and building a conversation is stressful. Working together on group projects (such as music therapy and drama therapy) promotes teamwork and cooperation. Art therapy helps them to understand a person’s point of view and what he/she wants to express.

For Sensory Processing Disorder

Individuals with autism get agitated or simply ‘shut down’ to escape the unpleasant stimulus. Art therapy deals with sensory processing disorder in individuals with autism and helps them to increase tolerance towards textures, smell, light and sound. He/she can learn to handle slimy paste (paper mache craft), the strong smell of color (painting), bright lights (stage) and the sound of instruments (music).

Music Therapy

Soothing sounds or music stimulates the brain and directly affects our senses.  As music has a direct impact on an individual physical and emotional functioning, music therapy for autism is an effective treatment for people with neurological disorders.  This therapy is an important tool for encouraging communication.

An Outlet for Emotion

Music therapy for autism provides an outlet for a person’s built-in emotion. Individuals who suffer from mood disorders such as depression and anxiety, learn to improve their coping skills and confidence, improve self-regulation, self-awareness, verbal and non-verbal expression and reduce anxiety.  

Music therapy session:

  • Assist with song composing to help them become aware of their feelings and understanding their emotions.
  • Help to generate music with various instruments to help them enjoy creativity, nonverbal expression, and an opportunity to work/play in unison.

Music Therapists 

Music therapists are professionals trained to observe each individual’s behavior and interaction skills. They design a well-planned strategy with a set goal to address their needs. They plan and implement music therapy sessions to develop skills essential to achieve an optimum level of success.

Effective Treatment Options For Autism

Autism or autism spectrum disorder related to the brain, impacting the way an individual communicates and socializes with others. It causes problems in social interaction too. The term “spectrum” in autism refers to the wide range of symptoms that varies from person to person in its severity.

Autism sets in early childhood, causing hindrance in normal functioning as the person grows up. Children show symptoms of autism within 8 to 12 months. They may appear to develop normally, but suddenly go through a phase of regression between 18 and 24, making the symptoms of autism become obvious.

Symptoms

Some children have difficulty in remembering or memorizing, while some have lower than normal intelligence. Children with normal to high intelligence have the capability to learn quickly, still, at times, they may have trouble communicating and adjusting to their social situations. Thus, each child with autism spectrum disorder has a unique pattern of behavior. According to their level of severity and behavioral pattern, they are prescribed with various treatment options for autism.

Because of the unique symptoms found in each child, the severity of autism can sometimes become difficult to determine.

Causes

Parents of children with autism often inquire as to what causes autism spectrum disorder in babies. No single cause indicates the onset of autism in children. Some of the suspected possibilities that lead to autism include:

  • Having a history of autism in the family
  • Genetic mutations
  • Genetic disorders such as fragile X syndrome
  • Babies being born to older parents
  • Premature deliveries and low birth weight
  • Metabolic imbalance
  • Exposure to environmental toxins
  • Viral infections

 

Treatment 

Treatment options for autism spectrum disorder depend on the symptoms and their severity. Before providing treatment, the individual has to undergo several tests and screening to determine which treatment would be best suited for him/her. The treatment of the individual depends on his individual needs.

The treatment options for autism include different types of therapies to develop behavior and speech. Sometimes, medications are also given to manage any medical conditions such as sleep disturbance and hyperactivity which are related to autism. The treatment depends on the child’s condition and needs, but the goal of the treatment is to diminish his/her symptoms.

Behavior and Communication Treatments

Applied behavior analysis (ABA): Applied behavior analysis is based on the techniques with to improve the individual’s learning skill. This approach improves a wide range of skills that are beneficial in different situations.

Parents can visit: https://www.autismconnect.com/standard-treatments/conventional/applied-behavior-analysis-aba

Occupational therapy. This treatment helps the individual with autism to acquire ‘life skills’ like feeding, tying shoelace, dressing, bathing, and understanding how to communicate and share a pleasant bond with other people. The skills help him to live an independent life. Parents can visit: https://www.autismconnect.com/standard-treatments/conventional/occupational-therapy

Sensory integration therapy: If the individual gets easily upset by things like loud sound, bright lights, or hate being touched, then this therapy helps him adapt and deal with his/her sensory issues. Parents can visit: https://www.autismconnect.com/standard-treatments/conventional/sensory-integration-therapy

Medical management

There is no complete cure for autism spectrum disorder with medication. But some prescriptions provided by doctors can help in treating symptoms like depression,  insomnia, and seizure. Parents can visit: https://www.autismconnect.com/standard-treatments/conventional/medical-management

To know more about what causes autism spectrum disorder in children: https://www.autismconnect.com/what-causes-autism

Drama Therapy to Treat Autism

The word drama projects the setting of a stage where the artists communicate using a monologue or singing combined with rhythmic dance, measured steps, and interpretive movement. Dialogue delivery, acting dancing, and singing are important tools that help the person who sees the world through eyes of autism. Although some of the individuals with autism … Continue reading “Drama Therapy to Treat Autism”

The word drama projects the setting of a stage where the artists communicate using a monologue or singing combined with rhythmic dance, measured steps, and interpretive movement. Dialogue delivery, acting dancing, and singing are important tools that help the person who sees the world through eyes of autism.

Although some of the individuals with autism are verbal, still they lack the skills to speak or interact smoothly. At times their language skills are repetitive (echolalic) and they tend to stutter over words. Some of them can recite big parts of dialogue from movies or TV shows with perfection. Drama therapy is an opportunity to help individuals with autism to improve their imitative speech strength by practicing and perfecting their ‘lines’ in fun and play sessions.

Drama therapy for autism involves theatrical exercises and creativeness while preparing for scene acting, body language or gestures, etc., to strengthen their social speaking and communication skills. Drama therapy for autism offer people many other interventions including the appropriate touch, right movement, the soothing sound of recorded music, holding hands with other participants, handling objects, modulating voice, mirroring/copying and singing.

A drama therapist uses appropriate methods for individuals with autistic spectrum. Some of the benefits of drama therapy for autism are:

  • Children with autism having ‘no spoken language skill’, learn that body movement and gestures are important for communicating their thoughts and feelings.
  • Being in contact with their drama therapist, children maintain eye contact more confidently during rehearsals.
  • For children who are wheelchair-bound most of the day, being physically supported (to stand) by the drama therapist while delivering a dialogue can produce a sense of safety and comfort.

Drama therapy allows individuals to know about their abilities. It helps them to free themselves from the confinements of helplessness. For children with autism, thundering applause is a huge motivator for them to discover how ‘special’ they are.

A drama therapist can help individuals with autism to:

  • Improve self-confidence
  • Improve the ability to recognize and react to emotions
  • Improve both verbal and nonverbal communication skills
  • Explain ways to interact successfully
  • Improve the ability to interpret gestures and signs
  • Develop body movement
  • Increase imagination and creativeness

Drama therapy is a time-tested approach to treat people with a spectrum of challenges and to improve their ability to interact successfully with others.

How can a Dietician help a Child with Autism?

How can a dietician help a child with autism

Parents of children with autism try different approaches to help their kids succeed. After consulting the therapists, they seek treatment options such as speech therapy, occupational therapy, applied behavioural analysis (ABA), aquatic therapy, animal therapy, play therapy, along with other therapies including a perfect diet plan for autism.

For those with children on the spectrum, mealtime can be the most daunting task!To get the most out of the mealtime experience, it is important for parents to understand the four main challenges faced by children having autism.

1. Sensory challenge
2. Fine and gross motor problems
3. Colour preference
4. Food dislikes

Most children with autism can be demanding, selective and particular about the foods they eat. A registered dietician or nutritionist can identify the health issues in children and also give satisfying answers about diet plan and supplements to help eat well and stay healthy healthfully. An autism dietician can provide help by:

Managing Food Selectivity

A majority of children with autism have problems with food selectivity.They are more likely to avoid foods and show fear of trying new foods(neophobia), unlike their siblings and peers.As a large number of individuals with autism have Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), it can affect the preferences of the foods they eat. Eating food is a sensory-rich experience where the child can:

  • Smell the aroma of the food
  • Feel the texture with each portion
  • Hear the crunch of crisp food
  • Sense the temperature (hot/cold)
  • See the colours
  • Perceive the appearance of the food

For a child with SPD, this can be an anxiety-provoking experience.

A registered dietician work with parents to help children increase their food selection by chalking out a perfect autism diet plan.  They work in collaboration to increase their food intake.

Solving gastrointestinal problem

Children with autism exhibit developmental disabilities and are more prone to experience gastrointestinal symptoms such as bloating, constipation and diarrhoea. These issues could be related to,

  • Food sensitivities
  • Imbalance of the gut bacteria
  • Low fiber diet
  • High casein consumption
  • Less water intake
  • No physical activity.

Food Sensitivities

Parents must know the difference between food allergies food sensitivities. A ‘food allergy’ is an immune system reaction that follows soon after the consumption of certain food resulting in digestive problems and hives. Whereas, ‘food sensitivities’ cause chronic inflammation in the body and gut and body, leading to some of the symptoms such as:

  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Functional Diarrhoea ,
  • Migraine, Epilepsy,
  • Irritable Bowel,
  • Insomnia,
  • Depression,
  • Fibromyalgia

Weight Management

Food selectivity in children with autism can cause them to be underweight and malnourished. By eating only a few selected food, they do not get the essential calories and nutrients, to stay healthy and maintain a normal weight and show other signs of nutrient deficiency too. With a perfect autism diet plan, a dietician can treat nutrient deficiencies and help the kids grow in good physical shape.

Solve sleep issues

Sleep issues are commonly linked to gastrointestinal problems. People with autism have difficulty digesting gluten & casein.Nutritionists opt for ‘autism diet’ which is a gluten- and casein-free food prescribed for people diagnosed with the digestive disorder. Foods that contain gluten such as wheat, rye and barley are eliminated and also are dairy products. It has been noticed that when the gastrointestinal issue in a child is solved, the sleep issue also gets resolved.

When opting for a diet plan for autism, it is advisable for parents and caretakers to consult with a registered nutritionist. To know about the best dieticians or nutritionists, near your vicinity, kindly follow the link here.

What Are The Severity Levels of Autism Spectrum Disorders?

Before the year 2013, people with autism used to be assigned a specific category of diagnosis. These categories were Asperger’s syndrome, autism disorder, or PDD-NOS (to be clear, pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified). Sometimes, they might even have been diagnosed with Rett syndrome or childhood degenerative disorder. This was mainly done in order to classify them according to the severity levels of autism.

In 2013, however, a new version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders was released, and autism diagnoses were completely redefined. The previously mentioned categories were all done away with and Rett syndrome disassociated from autism. For those who had only mild autism-like symptoms, a new diagnosis, social communication disorder, was created. Autism spectrum disorder became a single diagnosis comprising everyone who would have been in one of the five categories previously used for diagnosing autism.

DSM-5 now includes ‘levels of support’ distinctions to diagnose autism. This is because the autism spectrum has great variation. Some people with autism are brilliant while others may be intellectually disabled. Some have severe communication problems while others are writers and public speakers. To address the issue that there no longer exist categories to classify individuals according to the severity levels of autism, the DSM-5 diagnosis includes three “functional levels”, based on the amount of support an individual in each category requires in order to function in general society. In theory, an autism spectrum diagnosis with a functional level should help to draw a clearer picture of the individual’s abilities and special needs.

The Three Levels of Support described in the DSM are:

Level 3: Requiring Very Substantial Support

Those with this level diagnosis have severe deficits in verbal and nonverbal communication and social skills, causing severe impairments in functioning, very limited initiating of social interactions, as well as very minimal responses to overtures from others.

Level 2: Requiring Substantial Support

This diagnosis means that the individual has significant deficits in verbal and nonverbal social and communication skills. These impairments are apparent even with support being provided. These people rarely initiate social interactions and also react in quite reduced and abnormal ways to social overtures made by others.

Level 1: Requiring Support

If people in this category do not have support, their deficits cause noticeable social impairments.

They have difficulty initiating interactions as well as responding to overtures made by others.

Based on the severity levels of autism in each individual, many basic therapies needed to treat autism can be applied.