So much information on autism is about the symptoms and challenges, but not every child with autism will have the same experiences. However, this article will discuss seven authentic characteristics of autism in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. We will also provide parenting tips on raising healthy kids on the spectrum. Parenting a child with autism can sometimes be a significant challenge, so being familiar with the characteristics of autism can go a long way toward understanding your child with autism.
Raising a child with autism can be an enriching and enlightening experience with the right tools and resources!
7 Authentic Characteristics of Autism Spectrum Disorder
1. Many children with autism have a keen ability to think outside the box.
These children often see the world in a completely different way than neurotypical children. This unique perspective can be both a blessing and a curse for many children on the spectrum. The advantage of their view is it allows them to devise creative solutions to problems. A negative characteristic of autism is that it can make some children with autism seem odd or difficult to understand. Parents must encourage children to utilize their unique perspectives and characteristics of autism to communicate in their special way.
2. Often, children with autism have a special interest and can hyperfocus on one subject or activity.
Children with autism often express intense fascination and focus when interested in something. They may fixate on their topic of interest for long periods, sometimes without taking breaks. This can be frustrating for parents who want their kids to pay attention to them, but it can also be harnessed to help children learn.
If your child is fixated on a particular subject, try to find ways to incorporate their passion into their schooling or extracurricular activities. Understand that their fixations are a characteristic of autism. Discuss their interests with the professionals and providers that work with the child, as this can be helpful information for treatment.
3. Children with autism thrive on routine.
Many kids on the spectrum thrive when they have a set schedule and know what to expect daily. This characteristic of autism can make parenting more manageable, as you can plan around your child’s needs. However, it’s essential to be flexible as well. Children with autism often need time to adjust to changes in their routine, so don’t expect them to be able to handle unexpected events right away.
Understanding that most children on the spectrum function best with structure can alleviate many headaches and potential meltdowns. Knowing that change can be difficult for a child with autism can help parents communicate more effectively during stressful events. Helping a child cope with an exasperating situation can help establish expectations and manage anxiety. Social stories and visual supports are great tools for this!
4. Many children with autism often have difficulty processing emotions.
Difficulty processing emotions is often a characteristic of autism. This doesn’t mean children don’t feel emotions but have trouble understanding and expressing them. This difficulty in processing emotions can be a challenge for parents, who may not know how to respond to their child’s outbursts or tantrums effectively. Difficulty processing emotions is a characteristic of autism that BCBAs and RBTs can work through with treatment like ABA therapy. Parents must remain patient and understand the child is likely feeling overwhelmed and struggling to cope with their environment or circumstances.
5. Often, children with autism often have sensory processing issues.
Children with autism may be sensitive to certain sounds, textures, or lights. This is a common characteristic of autism. This can make everyday activities like going grocery shopping or getting a haircut difficult. As parents, it’s imperative to be aware of the child’s sensitivities and make accommodations accordingly.
6. Many children with autism often have difficulty with social interactions.
Difficult social interactions can be one most challenging characteristics of autism for many parents. It’s critical to remember that the child is not trying to be rude or demanding. They simply don’t know how to interact as neurotypical children do. They may have difficulty with social interaction, but that doesn’t mean they don’t enjoy friendships.
7. Children with autism often have a high level of intelligence.
People with autism can have a broad spectrum of intelligence. Some people with autism are nonverbal and have an intellectual disability, while others may be highly verbal and have normal to above-average intelligence. However, most people with autism fall somewhere in between these two extremes. Many people with autism are knowledgeable and have remarkable gifts in specific areas, such as music or math. While autism can be a challenge, some characteristics of autism are also sources of strength and talent.
Autism is sometimes considered a “hidden disability” because many people with the condition can function significantly. However, these individuals may still struggle with socializing. As a result, they may appear to be aloof or uninterested in others. They may also have difficulty reading nonverbal cues, such as body language or facial expressions. Despite these difficult characteristics of autism, many people with the condition can lead successful lives.
What Is Autism Spectrum Disorder?
Autism Spectrum Disorder is a clinical term used to characterize a group of complex disorders of brain development. Autism is considered a “spectrum” condition because there is wide variation in the type and severity of symptoms people experience. Autism is generally diagnosed in early childhood, although symptoms may not be apparent until later in life. Autism is a lifelong condition. Most individuals affected need ongoing support to function independently throughout childhood and adulthood.
How Does Autism Appear in Children?
There are many misconceptions about autism. Some believe that people with autism are savants who can’t speak or communicate at all. Others think those with the condition are just like everyone else, except they are a little quirky. The reality is that autism is a complex condition that manifests differently in every person it touches. While some common characteristics of autism exist, each person with the disorder is unique.
The varied symptoms of autism range significantly from one individual to another. Some people on the spectrum may be completely nonverbal, while others may speak but have difficulty carrying on a conversation. Some people with autism may be knowledgeable, while others may have severe cognitive impairments.
Research has concluded that there is no cure for autism, but various therapies can help manage the symptoms. These include Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). With early screening, diagnosis, and intervention, people with autism can lead happy and fulfilling lives.
Early Intervention Through ABA Therapy
Every individual on the autism spectrum has a unique experience with the condition. However, many children with autism benefit from early intervention. Early intervention can help to improve communication skills, social skills, and behavior. It can additionally help to manage the more complicated characteristics of autism. Finally, it can also help to promote learning and development.
In some cases, early intervention can even lead to significant improvements in intelligence. Research has established that children who receive early intervention have higher IQs than those who do not. As a result, early intervention can be a valuable tool for children with autism.
What is Applied Behavior Analysis?
ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) therapy is a type of early intervention that is effective in improving the ability of children with autism to communicate, cooperate and interact with others. ABA therapy involves using a system of positive reinforcement to encourage desired behaviors and discourage problematic behaviors. Many children with autism benefit from early intervention with ABA therapy, which can help them acquire the essential skills required to succeed in school and life.
Every child with autism is different. There is no one-size-fits-all treatment approach to the characteristics of autism, as every child with the disorder is different. Some children may benefit from behavior therapy, while others may need medication to help with symptoms. The most vital thing is to work with a team of professionals to create an individualized treatment plan. If you begin to suspect your child may have autism, immediately starting the conversation with their medical provider is essential.
Autism and ABA Centers of America
For more information about ABA therapy at ABA Centers of America and how we can help support your neurodivergent loved one, call us at 844-923-4222 or visit us at abacenters.com.