What you should know about severe autism

Media is slowly getting better in it’s portrayal of people with autism in both movies and television, while many still hold onto to the perception of “Rain Man”, I do believe we are moving in the right direction. Still, little is discussed or talked about when it comes to children and adults with severe autism. Some may refer to severe autism as “low functioning when in fact autism is a spectrum in both symptoms and behaviors and varies from person to person.

Children and adults with severe autism often display the following signs :

  • Impaired social interaction
  • Difficulty in communicating- both expressive and receptive
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder
  • anxiety
  • aggressiveness
  • self-injurious

According to the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), there are 3 levels of severity based on social communication impairments, restricted, and patterns of behaviors. The severity level (Level 3) is defined as requiring very substantial support. For example the person may exhibit very limited initiation of social interaction and extreme difficulty with coping and change. signs may include an indifference in others, using negative behavior to communicate, very little or echolalia, sensory sensitivity will vary from severe to none, may be self-injurious and have an intellectual disability.  Below you will find articles on understanding severe nonverbal autism:

5 nonverbal children that found their voices

Autism: How do you communicate with a non-verbal child

Helping nonverbal kids to communicate

I have nonverbal autism…Here is what I want you to know

Nonverbal autism: Symptoms and treatment activities

Missing brain wave may explain language problems in nonverbal autism

Overview of nonverbal autism

What can we learn from studying severe autism?

What makes severe autism so challenging?

Why being nonverbal doesn’t mean being non-capable

Why children with severe autism are overlooked?

Updated 8/23/2020

Developmental Disability Data/Survey Resources

ADHD

ADHD and psychiatric comorbidity

ADHD throughout the years (CDC) 

National Prevalence of ADHD and Treatment

National survey of the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD and Tourette Syndrome -Survey about children aged 2 to 15 years old in 2011-2012.

What types of treatment do children with ADHD receive?

Autism

Autism Data Visualization Tool– prevalence estimates and demographic characteristics at the national, state and community levels (CDC)

CDC releases first estimates of the number of adults living with autism spectrum disorder in the United States

New ASD prevalence numbers show gaps are closing, but more work is needed

National Database for Autism Research– HealthData.Gov

Prevalence of self-injurious behaviors among children with autism spectrum disorders

Cerebral Palsy

Birth prevalence of cerebral palsy

Prevalence of cerebral palsy, co-occurring autism spectrum disorders, and motor functioning

Developmental Disabilities

Increase in developmental disabilities among children in the United States

Trends in the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, hearing loss, intellectual disabilities, and vision impairment, Metropolitan Atlanta, 1991-2010

Mental Health

U.S. children with diagnosed anxiety and depression

Study Reveals Increased Prevalence of Mental Illness in Adults with CP

Source: Cerebral Palsy News Today
Written by: Marisa Wexler

A recent study found that adults with cerebral palsy have a higher risk of developing mental health conditions, highlighting the need for better holistic care in this population.

The study, “Prevalence of Mental Health Disorders Among Adults With Cerebral Palsy: A Cross-sectional Analysis,” was published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.

Most research on cerebral palsy (CP) focuses on children because, until relatively recently, it wasn’t that common for people with CP to live through adulthood. That paradigm is rapidly changing, so it’s necessary for researchers and clinicians to understand the challenges adults with CP face so they can be given the best possible care and support to have not just a longer life, but higher quality of life. Click here to read the rest of the story.

Could motor problems be one source of autism’s social difficulties?

Source: Spectrum
Written By:

For 6-year-old Macey, lunchtime at school is not so much a break from reading and math as it is an hour rife with frustration.

Here’s how Macey’s mother, Victoria, describes Macey’s typical lunch break: In her special-education classroom an hour north of San Francisco, Macey’s classmates gather at a big square table, chattering away and snatching one another’s food. Macey, meanwhile, is sequestered away at a small white table in a corner, facing a bookshelf. She grabs the handle of a spoon using the palm of her right hand, awkwardly scoops up rice and spills it onto her lap. She wants to be at the big table with her peers, but she sits with an aide away from the other children to minimize distractions while she eats. (Victoria requested that we use her and Macey’s first names only, to protect their privacy.)

After lunch, the children spill out onto the playground. Macey, wearing a helmet, trails behind, holding her aide’s hand. She can walk, but she often trips on uneven surfaces and falls over. She tends to misjudge heights, and once pulled a muscle while climbing on playground equipment. When she was 3, she tripped and fell headfirst out of a sandbox, scraping her face, chipping one tooth and dislodging another. Click here to read the rest of the story

Social Anxiety Traits Overlap Between Fragile X Syndrome, Autism Spectrum Disorder

Published by: Fragile X News Today
Written by: Vijaya Iyer

Social anxiety and autistic traits are prevalent in males with fragile X syndrome and these behaviors overlap with those observed in individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) without a known genetic syndrome, a study reports.

The overlap of traits between the two clinical subgroups makes their measurement extremely challenging, researchers said.

The study, “Biobehavioral composite of social aspects of anxiety in young adults with fragile X syndrome contrasted to autism spectrum disorder,” was published in the American Journal of Medical Genetics. Click here to read the rest of the story