Autism is a condition associated with a lack of social interaction development and understanding. High functioning autism affects people of average or above average intelligence. Characteristics of high functioning autism are not extreme and often mistaken as simple shyness and resultant withdrawal. There are, however, big differences between the two.
The cause of the social anxiety is one difference.
Persons with high functioning autism have trouble understanding and interpreting the feelings of others. They are unsure of how to react in social situations. This causes them to become withdrawn.
People with high functioning autism will often withdraw from or physical affection and contact. Hugs may either revolt them or they have no understanding or feeling toward them. Children with high functioning autism may seem to be functioning normally until they begin school, where their lack of social skills becomes more evident.
High functioning autism characteristics may also include a lack of eye contact.
A person with high functioning autism may repeat the same phrase many times or have an obsession with a particular part of an object. For this reason, many people with high functioning autism are seen merely as quirky or odd, rather than being diagnosed and treated for autism.
Treatment for high functioning autism varies according to the needs of the individual.
Most involve some form of behavioral therapy. Rewarding good behavior such as attentive communication with others is often quite successful in treating high functioning autism. The patient not only learns that communication is a good thing, but practices communication through repetition to seek reward.
Memorization skills are often strong in high functioning autism patients.
This makes memorization an excellent resource for treatment by teaching communication and social skills. For instance they might learn a statement such as, "Smiles and hugs make people happy". The patient learns by repeating this statement each time someone smiles or hugs them thus imprinting the statement as a concept.
High functioning autistic patients often focus intently on one thing at a time.
Treating them by making lists enables them to concentrate on each step of an action separately. This works with their strong single focus skills. For instance washing dishes can be broken down into fill the sink, add the soap, wash the dishes, rinse the dishes, stack the dishes, dry the dishes, put the dishes in the cupboard.
High functioning autism comes with an avoidance of socialization.
Treatment that includes language and speech skills may be necessary. Once again, repetition is a helpful tool. Treatment for this type of autism requires one on one teaching. It may be helpful to concentrate on one concept at a time and move on only when that concept has been absorbed to memory.
Treatment for autism should also include motor skill refinement.
Since patients with high functioning autism focus on one task at a time, coordinating motor skills may be lacking. Add one skill at a time that leads to completing an entire task. This is similar to list making but with verbal commands, so that the autistic individual must practice communication.
Treatment for high functioning autism should take the skills of the individual into account.
Lack of social skills often leaves autism patients feeling inferior to others. Treatment should always focus on the strengths of the individual and use that strength to learn new skills. This leaves the patient with a more developed self esteem and encourages them to continue treatment.
This article was previously published by this author on a closed Yahoo! property.