Symptoms of Autism

Professor David Skuse describes the key symptoms of autism, which include language impairment, communication difficulties, and rigid/repetitive behaviors.

The classic symptoms of autism that we recognize from many years of research of this condition fall into three broad groups. One is difficulty in social interactions, what is called technically, social reciprocity. So that means the to and fro of social intercourse – listening to somebody, responding, they listen to you, they respond. Normal conversations, normal everyday interactions with people have a sort of turn-taking quality to them, if you will, which autistic people find very difficult to manage. The second aspect of autism that is very well described, after the problems with social interaction concerns the use of language. People with autism have a very particular strange use of language. They tend to be very concrete and they tend not to put things into context. So, they might talk about a subject completely out of the blue, and you can’t really figure out what they’re talking about for a while because nothing led up to it. They also will tend to talk about the same subjects over and over again and their favorite subject might, for example, be vacuum cleaners or it might possibly be oil refineries, or something like this, which to most people, isn’t hugely interesting. A colleague of mine, I didn’t realize he had Asperger syndrome until one day he said to me, “you know David, there is something immensely interesting about marine engines,” and then proceeded to tell me a great deal that I didn’t really need to know, about marine engines. So, that unusual use of language is very typical of people with autism. The third aspect of autistic behavior that we recognize is a certain rigidity, a certain inflexibility. Sometimes this is associated with agitation when people with the condition get excited which might be reflected in sort of flapping like this or sort of rocking back and forth and there are other symptoms associated with that aspect of the condition that involve certain sensitivities to smell and taste and touch and so on. So, a whole bunch of things that goes together. So, essentially we’re talking about social problems, language problems, and then stereotype, repetitive behaviors, lack of flexibility and resistance to changes, particularly dominant in people with autism.

autism, autistic, symptom, diagnosis, language, communication, social, interaction, inflexibility, repetitive, rigid, stereotype, behavior, flapping, david, skuse,

Related Content

876. Autism Boundaries

Professor David Skuse discusses the importance of identifying autism symptoms. Failing to diagnose the disorder can disrupt their social and educational attainments.

  • ID: 876
  • Source: G2C

1267. Do Autism Symptoms Cluster Together?

Professor David Skuse explains that the language and social difficulties associated with autism correlate more closely than repetitive behavior symptoms.

  • ID: 1267
  • Source: G2C

884. Background to Autism

Autism is a disorder in brain development that becomes apparent in earliest childhood. It is defined by problems in socialization, communication, and repetitive behaviors.

  • ID: 884
  • Source: G2C

1265. Distinguishing Autism from 'Normal' Behavior (2)

Professor David Skuse discusses the problems in defining a threshold between normal behavior and autistic behavior.

  • ID: 1265
  • Source: G2C

1133. Autism - Repetitive Behavior

Children with autistic spectrum disorders often prefer repetition. Here, two autistic children engage in stereotypical repetitive behaviors.

  • ID: 1133
  • Source: G2C

1264. Distinguishing Autism from 'Normal' Behavior (1)

Professor David Skuse explains that symptoms of autism are not precisely distinct from 'normal' behavior.

  • ID: 1264
  • Source: G2C

1975. Autism

An overview of autism-related content on Genes to Cognition Online.

  • ID: 1975
  • Source: G2C

1131. Autism - Social Symptoms

Autistic individuals often have poor social skills. Here we see an autistic child who does not interact in typical social play.

  • ID: 1131
  • Source: G2C

908. Autism Candidate Genes

Use this chromosome map to explore genes associated with autism.

  • ID: 908
  • Source: G2C

1130. Autism - Gender Ratio

Professor David Skuse explains that autism is more common in boys than girls.

  • ID: 1130
  • Source: G2C