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DSM IV: item A

Autism Butterfly
Autism Butterfly

Admittedly, the discussion on diagnosis can be dry. Yet, it is the first step in learning how to live, and not just survive, with an autism diagnosis. As previously discussed there is a DSM criteria for diagnosing autism. Each category will be an article and so it is important to know for there to be a diagnosis a total of six or more items on A, B, C, with at least two from A and one from B and one from C. While this can be confusing imagine this. You watch your child wandering around the yard, on their own without interacting with anyone, praying to themselves. Are they autistic? Chances are probably not since it does not interfere with life function, hasn't occurred for six months or more, and while it qualifies as "impaired social function" is only one of two requirements of A. Chances are your child is probably going through a phase.

Today's discussion is on Item A: Impaired Social Function. First mentioned under A is the inability to understand and monitor non-verbal cues from others such as facial expressions or eye -to-eye contact. Eye-to-eye contact, interestingly enough, is not even comfortable for autistic individuals since they already struggle with sensory overload eye contact is one more thing that distracts them.

The second item under A is an inability to develop peer social relations. It seems they relate to either older or younger people, preferably older. It seems adults usually have a higher tolerance level and handle the idiosyncrasies of autism more so than children.

The third and fourth items complement each other. The third item is the inability to reciprocate socially or emotionally. This does not mean they are not compassionate, it simply means they lack the ability to interactively play with others and prefer solitary play.

While some behaviors can be noticed at birth, social impairments are not really noticeable until they start interacting with other children at daycare, nursery school, or begin school. If you suspect at an early age your child may have autism it is good to not only have someone diagnosis your child, but to keep a journal of behaviors as well. Autism can mimic other disorders and your child may receive an initial diagnosis that does not provide a good fit. A written journal of behaviors for the doctor will help immensely in a proper diagnosis.