An Autism Spectrum Disorder, or ASD for short, is a neurobiological developmental disorder. The exact causes are not known. The important thing is to know that you are different. However, this can also be positive. In our counseling, we focus to further strengthen your strengths and mitigate the negative symptoms. Thus, you will function optimally.
Characteristics of ASD include functioning differently in the areas of:
- Social contact, especially in social reciprocity
- The verbal and nonverbal communication
- Limited repertoire of interests and activities
It is called a spectrum because these characteristics can be present to varying degrees and in all their combinations. Autistic disorders can vary in severity and manifestation by individual and age. The characteristics need not always manifest themselves (directly) on all fronts.
A disorder of social contact, particularly social reciprocity
People with autism have difficulty interacting with others because social rules are very variable (depending on the context) and invisible. Moreover, both understanding of what others feel and think and seeing through social situations are very limited. This unintentionally gives you a lot of labels: stubborn, behaviorally disturbed, rude, eccentric, bizarre, selfish, strange, …
A disorder in verbal and nonverbal communication
Language is often understood literally by you. Facial expressions, body language and social cues often don’t work. Thinking in abstract terms is also often not easy for you.
A remarkably limited repertoire of interests and activities
Often you have an eye for only a few objects, subjects or activities (for example, turning wheels, trains or opening and closing doors). You have difficulty adapting to new situations and have difficulty with change. Often you have limited patterns of behavior and interest. When you have autistic traits you perceive the world in a different way. Often you focus on (unimportant) details and don’t see the whole, which also leads you to a different attribution of meaning.
A disorder of imagination
This disorder (not being able to sufficiently imagine/imagine something and assign meaning to it) can manifest itself in, among other things, a total lack of imagination, empathy, but also in an excess of fantasy.
These symptoms usually become apparent before the third year of life.
Autism expresses itself in thousands of different ways. And the older – or the more intelligent – a person with autism is, the more you have learned to compensate for and camouflage the disorder.
In terms of level of functioning, there are often outliers, both upward (e.g., in numbers or technology) and downward (e.g., social understanding or adaptability).
The disorder occurs in children and adults with varying levels of intellectual functioning, from profoundly retarded to highly intelligent and is significantly more common in boys than in girls.
Individuals with “Autistic Disorder” are classified worldwide within the diagnostic category of PDD (Pervasive Developmental Disorder), as in the DSM V.