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D is for Diagnosing Autism

Diagnosing Autism: DSM-IV is the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition is the accepted standard for defining psychological and other abnormal cognitive conditions.  The DSM-IV specifies several clusters of criteria for an autism diagnosis.

  1. Impairment in Social Interactions
    1. Impairment in non-verbal communication, such as eye-to-eye contact, body postures, and hand gestures
    2. Failure to develop age-appropriate friendships
    3. Lack of interest in sharing achievement or enjoyment with others
    4. Impairment in communication
      1. Delay in speech development or lack of spoken language development
      2. Decisive impairment in maintaining a conversation
      3. Repetitive use of worse or phrases
      4. Lack of spontaneous make-believe play
      5. Repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, and activities
        1. Intense, focused preoccupation with a single interest
        2. Inflexible adherence to specific rituals or habits
        3. Repetitive body movements (i.e. rocking)
        4. Preoccupation with parts of objects

Diversity – Bio-Diversity refers to the wide variety of life on our planet, and Neuro-Diversity is the wide variety of different ways our brains can work. Understanding and accepting Neuro-Diversity is one factor in understanding the Autism Spectrum.

Diet – Diet changes can impact symptoms of autism in some individuals, and nutrition is important for everyone on the spectrum.

Decode – Someone on the autistic spectrum may be non-verbal, there are other forms of expression they can employ and it is up to us to learn to decode their modes of communication.  Pay attention to gestures and use other methods of communication such as pictures or speech enhancing devices.