Autism is a spectrum disorder. This means that some people are mildly affected by the disorder while others have severe symptoms. Therefore, people with autism usually have a unique set up symptoms. An number of problems are relatively common among autistic people such as seizure disorders, gastrointestinal issues, mental retardation and mental illness. It is unclear why these are more common with people diagnosed with autism. Although they are more common to occur together, not everyone with autism also has a concurrent disorder.
Often autism is suspected in a person because of social and communication deficits or differences. These include:
- Delayed or unusual speech patterns
- High pitched or flat intonation
- Difficulty deciphering tone of voice and body language as a way of expressing sarcasm, humor, etc.
- Lack of eye contact
- Inability to see situations from another persons perspective
Often autistic people are sensitive to external stimulation like light, sound or crowds. People with autism can be either hyper or hypo sensitive. This may manifest as covering their ears, avoiding or reacting to bright light, or craving strong hugs.
Some often common behaviors shared between people on the spectrum of autism are to:
- Engage in repetitive behaviors
- Have one or a few passionate interests
- Have difficulty in making and keeping multiple friends
- Prefer activities that require little verbal interaction
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