Kanner’s autism, which is commonly referred to as autism disorder, is a developmental disorder that is characterized by a decreased social and communicative function and the presence of repetitive behaviors. The onset is usually before the age of 3, and its effects last for the patient’s life. Initial symptoms include delayed onset of speech, lack of interest in activities of peers or appearing to tune others out. Most symptoms can be organized based on their function and are often used as measurements for diagnosis.
Social Interaction Problems
One of the primary problems the patient has relates to how he socializes with others. Lack of interest in sharing his own joy or pain, failure to establish friendships with other children the same age, and deficits with nonverbal communication (such as eye contact, posture and facial expressions) all combine to severely stunt the social growth of the individual. In addition, the patient demonstrates a marked lack of empathy, or the ability to be in touch with the emotions of others.
These can include problems with verbal and non-verbal communication. Development of speech is markedly affected, and those who can talk have problems either starting a conversation or keeping it going. Patients also use repetitive language, which can include repeating phrases or words inappropriately during conversation. They also fail to catch the nuances of conversation such as humor and implied meanings and tend to interpret conversations very literally.
Apathy To Activity
Children with autism do not play or engage in activities like typical children. Examples include fascination with components, such as fixating on one building block out of dozens and only playing with that instead of the whole set. They also engage in repetitive behaviors like repeated head bobbing, hand waving, blinking, etc. The occurrence of activities outside a specific routine is also distressing as many insist on events happening repeatedly in order on a daily basis or irritation and aggression can result.
- “Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics, 18th Edition;” Kliegman; 2007
- “Massachusetts General Hospital Comprehensive Clinical Psychiatry, 1st edition;” Stern; 2008
- Pediatric Clinics of North America. “Autism: Definition, Neurobiology, Screening, Diagnosis.” Rapin I, Tuchman R. Volume 55, Issue 5 (October 2008)