"Other Signs of Autism To Deal With!"
Other signs of autism deal with a number of personality traits and characteristics. Most aren't very different from what other members of the general population may experience. In fact, many items in this list are not unique to children or adults with autism.
And some of these other signs of autism intersect with ADHD as well. It looks more like a hodge podge of symptoms that confuses more than gives direction.
Here's the list:
• 75% of autistic individuals have an IQ below average.
• The other 25% have average or above average IQ.
• Some perform at genius levels such as in mathematics.
• 25-35% of children, with autism, have seizures.
• Some have uneven gross and/or fine motor skills (well developed in some areas, poorly developed in others).
• Some have aggressive or self-injurious behaviour.
• Some may be very inactive or overactive.
• They have tantrums.
• They have short attention spans.
• They may respond abnormally to pain by expressing too much sensitivity or too little.
• They have eating problems.
• They have sleeping problems.
• They don't respond to normal teaching methods.
• They play in odd or unusual ways.
• They have inappropriate attachment to objects.
• They have no apparent fear of dangerous situations.
• They may be unaware of the feelings of others.
• They may be withdrawn.
• They may be anxious.
• They may be depressed with their problems.
• Some children with autism who express affection, may express it indiscriminately.
Let's go through some of these other signs of autism symptoms.
"Uneven Gross And/or Fine Motor Skills"
Are all normal kids equal in their motor skill and fine motor development as the list for other signs of autism suggests? Certainly not. My son, Nolan couldn't print or write very legibly. He was a preemie, one month early, and hadn't turned over when he was 8 months old and didn't crawl until he was 13 months, but walked a month and a half later!
He could turn a page of a book when he was only a few months old without ripping it. At 9 months, he could pick up a raisin and pop it into his mouth quicker than you could serve it! The nurse who was testing him, had to rerun the test and then make sure she didn't take her eyes off him. When it came to food, Nolan would only happily cooperate.
Nolan was delayed physically but he focused his energies on speaking at a very early age (7 months).
My youngest, Aidan, had very strong large motor skills. He almost turned over, and it wasn't the way he was lying down in the hospital crib, when he was about a DAY old. He'd turned his body onto his side and his tiny foot was waving in the air. I watched him as I was trying to wash off a messy diaper change I'd just done, hoping he wouldn't flip himself off the crib!
A few months later, he was creeping on his BACK, arched back, elbows and knees bent and found mobility that way. Of course, he couldn't see where he was going and learned the hard way when he'd bang his head into furniture. Eventually he learned to crawl and did that for months before he finally walked.
Nolan couldn't print or write to save his life. Aidan's printing was very legible. Nolan's the engineer. Aidan's the artist.
Either of my boys could've been diagnosed with autism, but the inclination was never there that something was wrong with them.
"Kids Have Tantrums"
Are all normal kids always well behaved, without tantrums? Isn't having tantrums and asserting themselves, a normal right of passage for toddlers? Today, it's considered abnormal behaviour. Yes, it's embarassing, but normal.
Tantrums are a natural thing for kids to do. But it's included in the list of possible other signs of autism.
"They Are Very Inactive Or Very Overactive"
Is too much activeness and too little activeness really limited to children that might be autistic? The list of signs of autism seems to point to it.
Can't normal kids be unusually inactive? Yes, if you encourage them to stay indoors all the time and play video games or watch TV! I've seen it and so have you.
Can't normal kids be unusually active? Yes, so you have to channel that into constructive activity and plenty of it.
My dad use to run us off by the Lachine Canal in Montreal, where I grew up, most nights, to tire us out. That was family time too. We'd be tired and sleepy and ready for bed.
Aidan, 6 years younger than Nolan, was born with active muscle twitch! He used to run around a full size soccer field to keep him occupied during his brother's games. Boy, he was fit!
Nolan's team mates adopted his little brother as their mascot and cheered him on. On his own soccer teams, Aidan was the fastest sprinter and often saved a goal by getting back to help the goalie.
In Grade 11 Aidan achieved the highest level he could in high school athletics, winning Gold in the 100 and 200 metre sprints at City Championships. He also took 2 bronzes in the Provincials that year. And that's because he focused his energies on being a champion.
"A Primed Prima Donna"
I remember the story of Canadian Prima Donna Veronica Tennant. She danced with the National Ballet Company and worked with famous male dancers such as Mikhail Baryshnikov and Rudolf Nureyev.
When she was a little girl, she auditioned in front of her teacher. She jumped forward and fell flat on her face! Her teacher immediately saw the energy and potential that came out of this little girl and so, Veronica was accepted into the program and the rest is history.
If someone had pointed out at the time that there was something wrong with her, instead of seeing the great potential, Veronica would not be the same person today. Today someone might point out the other signs of autism and that would've ended her career before it started!
Autistic people are thought as disadvantaged. It's a myth.
Children need a focus for all that energy. And if they're relatively inactive, then they need help to find an activity that is healthy, that they like doing. They don't need to be labeled with a list such as other signs of autism.
"What's Wrong With Placing Objects In Lines?"
This is an interesting signs of autism.
Aidan was a toddler at the time. He was disciplined one day and had to sit quietly facing the wall. The very next day, we returned from work to find that he had lined up every single one of his stuff toys, all facing the wall! We laughed. It's amazing how quick kids learn.
Aidan also had a rubber road mat, on which he drove his little toy cars. It fit perfectly on the coffee table. He lined up his toy cars on that mat and he KNEW when someone moved a car. He would complain! I thought, "Wow! What powers of concentration this kid has!" This went on for at least another year. That coffee table was his domain!
Was this really part of the other signs of autism or just a way for him to express his personality?
"Who Says You're Responding Abnormally?"
So someone thinks they either respond too much to pain or too little. This is also included with the other signs of autism. Here's another tale of two brothers, born to the same two parents.
I used to think Nolan wasn't born with nerve endings. I swear this kid, at 8 months, from a sitting position, slapped himself down on his back and his head and he didn't make a sound! The sound I heard his body make, made me turn around. CRACK! He didn't cry. He just looked at me, calm as usual and smiled.
Then another time, he was a toddler. He ran at full speed into the wall of our living room. SMACK! And in disbelief, I watched him bounce off the wall and run off in a different direction. Again, he didn't react except to run in a different direction.
Today, should this really be part of the other signs of autism or was this just the way Nolan was?
Aidan, on the other hand, cried when he felt cold, and whenever he felt uncomfortable. He certainly felt pain - his nervous system seemed very mature. He ran into the door jamb of his bathroom and screamed, his face turned red with anger and he cried for several minutes, while I tried to comfort him.
For several years, in his young life, Aidan had low tolerance for pain and discomfort. He couldn't stand his baby teeth being loose in his mouth. They had to go.
He calmed down in his early teens. Surprisingly, he came back from a Christmas Soccer Tournament, after playing 4 games in 3 days. He had a sore shin and asked me for help. His curiosity about what I do was overcome by his dislike of physical discomfort because he knew I'd be needling him. And I had not even finished my first term at school yet. So I did a rudimentary treatment on him and it worked. No more pain. On the other hand, it's good that Aidan seeks help immediately instead of grinning and bearing it.
Again, should this really be part of the other signs of autism or is this just the way Aidan is?
This question about what is normal or not is totally subjective to the person who is experiencing the pain. Some people have higher or lower pain thresholds. How can this be regarded as abnormal behaviour?
"They play in odd or unusual ways"
This is also a subjective judgment call. Play should be left up to the person, who's playing. After all, play is about creativity. Should this really be part of the other signs of autism?
If it's torturing other creatures, there's a moral lesson to be taught and learned. Otherwise, play is an individual choice.
"What's Wrong With Being Fearless?"
Fearlessness shouldn't be part of other signs of autism. Here's why.
What's a dangerous situation? What situations do children place themselves in that might be dangerous? Of course, these things do in fact happen and children sometimes injure or die from their actions. We usually call them accidents.
If I were afraid of every situation my boys got themselves into, I'd be a nervous wreck. When Aidan was about 5 years old, we were hiking in Morraine Lake, in Lake Louise. He was wearing a bright neon green fleece jacket. Perfect for my little whirlwind.
We're at this very rocky part of the trail and we stopped to look around. Aidan decides, since we're standing at the foot of this mountain, that he's going to climb all the way up! After we were finished looking at what we were looking it, we turned around to look for Aidan.
He'd already scrambled half way up the side of the craiggy mountain. It's a good thing he wore the neon green jacket or he might have blended into the rock. But we saw him and his dad climbed up and brought him back down. He was a couple hundred feet up by the time we looked for him. And he had absolutely no fear. As for us, his parents, and his big brother, we just did the right thing, called him, and brought him back down. No panic.
This is the same kid, as a toddler, who used to get down on his stomach at the top of the stairs on the second floor. He stuck his arms out straight, with his hands in tight fists. And slid down the stairs as fast as he could. Yeap, fearless!
Age, coupled with life experience, teaches most people to think before they act or speak. The list of other signs of autism seem to contain a lot of personality traits, not actually a diseased state. There is no disease here.
"A Perfect 10"
Nadia Comaneci was the sweetheart of the Montreal Summer Olympics. I was in my late teens then and watched gymnastics intently in those days. She was only 14 years old and these were her Olympics. She scored the first ever perfect 10 in gymnastics!
She was an active child who enjoyed running and jumping. She was so active that she broke 4 couches at home, by snapping the springs! She was discovered by a gymnastics coach, Bela Karoloyi, who invited her to audition for his club.
The tests included a long jump, a 15 metre sprint, and a walk on a balance beam. The walk on the balance beam was the most important part of the test, because many people are afraid of it. It's only 4 inches wide and 4 feet off the ground. And Nadia walked on it like it was solid ground.
She was fearless. FEARLESS! And that fearlessness and confidence is what made her a champion.
When people are fearless, there is no fear for their personal safety. I've known kids along the way that have done some incredible things, without formal training, with their bodies. Like the little girl who one day did a backward flip from a standing position. Because SHE WANTED TO SEE IF SHE COULD DO IT. Her brother, also a super athlete, has appeared with the American National Hockey Team. He used to play soccer with Nolan.
Again, should fearlessness really be part of the other signs of autism or is this just the way these kids were? Due to their fearlessness they were successful at what they set their heart to do. Why are we scaring our kids into thinking there's something wrong with them?
"They May Be Anxious Or Depressed"
Human emotions cover all ranges. It's whether you can manage them in a positive way that counts. Certainly becoming so anxious or depressed that it affects your daily life is a serious problem. But even that can be dealt with in a positive and constructive way without drugs and years of psychotherapy.
Again, should these conditions really be part of the other signs of autism? Maybe the question should be why they are anxious or depressed. And get to the root cause of that. Maybe they don't believe in the diagnosis of autism? Deep down.
"Think This Over"
I want you to think all of this through. The stories I tell are about real people. They are real people who have been allowed to be mostly who they are. With my own sons, of course, I taught them what a good citizen looks and acts like, etc. I'm sure the other people in the stories had their parents teaching them whatever they needed, but they were essentially left alone and supported to be who they are.
Luckily they were also surrounded by other people who helped them to be the best they could be.
No one thought these people were autistic. But today the personality traits listed in other signs of autism would've said there was something wrong with them, instead of celebrating their greatness.
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