Autism is a congenital, profound developmental disorder that begins before the age of 3 and presents sit self in very different combinations of symptoms and degrees of severity. Today we mostly speak of “Autism Spectrum Disorder” (ASD) and differentiate between the types of autism “Early Childhood Autism”, “Asperser’s Syndrome” and “Atypical Autism”.
There are common central characteristics for all variants, which can be assigned to three core areas:
- interactive social behavior
- linguistic and body language communication
- The repertoire of interests, activities, and behavioral patterns.
About 45% of autistic people suffer from intellectual disabilities, while a few are gifted (such as Asperger’s Syndrome). All abnormalities are due to changes in the structure and functioning of the brain. These lead to the fact that those affected by autism do not see through inter-personal processes and relationships and find it difficult to learn basic social behavior patterns, e.g. B. Paying attention to and understanding other people’s social signals (such as frowning or approving nods), making eye contact, imitating, and creating a shared focus of attention (such as showing the other something interesting).
There are irregularities (anomalies) in the processing of sensory stimuli
(e.g. hypersensitivity to noises, light stimuli, touch or smells), when evaluating and conclusively processing information (e.g. isolated, incoherent perception of details, such as perceiving all red blobs of color in an image without recognizing the girl) and in the so-called “executive functions” (e.g. organization of one’s actions, how to get dressed). This generally results in an unusual way of learning and thinking, which has an impact on inter-personal events and leads to mutual misunderstandings and insecurities.
The range of language disorders is very broad.
About half of autistic people do not speak at all or communicate in the beginning with the help of stereotypical words or short sentences, memorized idioms (empty phrases), or literal repetition of words or sentences they have heard (echolalia).
Simon cannot speak at all and can hardly react to being spoken to; he isolates himself and sorts his marbles for hours.
Others have difficulties with articulation, vocabulary, grammar, or storytelling. Still, others express themselves at a high level, but without taking into account the rules and norms of interpersonal dialogue. B. to pay attention to whether the partner is still interested in the topic.
Max is completely fixated on his topics and, wherever he goes, covers other people with long monologues; The formulations are chosen and the speech melody sense.
Regardless of whether you can speak yourself, the understanding of language is also more or less impaired. While some of those affected barely understand the words and sentences purely linguistically, most of them have a handicap elsewhere: They cannot trace back what a language abbreviation such as “Even more!” or “Yes something!” unspoken reference, and what with pictorial expressions like “The young vegetables first!” is meant in the respective situation. In addition, they miss body language Signals through gestures, facial expressions, posture, tone of voice, etc., with which linguistic expressions are reinforced and concerns and feelings are revealed.