Autism spectrum or autism spectrum experience (traditionally considered a disorder) describes a range of conditions generally classified as neurodevelopmental disorders in the DSM-5, Individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) must present two types of symptoms. Interestingly many visionaries, geniuses and game changers experience and present various symptoms and characteristics affiliated with the condition. The two was the spectrum is defined as:
• Deficits in social communication and social interaction
• Restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests or activities
The DSM-5 redefined the autism spectrum disorders to encompass the previous (DSM-IV-TR) diagnoses of autism, Asperger syndrome, pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified(PDD-NOS), and childhood disintegrative disorder.
Features of these disorders include: social deficits, communication difficulties, stereotyped or repetitive behaviors and interests, sensory issues, and in some cases, cognitive delays. This mish mash of symptoms isn’t really a diagnosis at all but what it sounds like…a mish-mash of symptoms.
These diagnoses change every few years in order to encompasses previous diagnoses of autistic disorder, such as Asperger’s disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder, and PDD-NOS.
Compared with the DSM-IV diagnosis of autistic disorder, the DSM-5 diagnosis of ASD no longer includes communication as a separate criterion, and has merged social interaction and communication into one category. This really isn’t science but guess work. Obviously anyone who fits in these categories has special needs but to label them autism spectrum misses the point. In fact slightly different diagnostic definitions are used in other countries. For example, the ICD-10 is the most commonly-used diagnostic manual in the UK.
Finally after decades of mis-categorizing these symptoms and diagnoses, the DSM-5 has adopted a dimensional approach to diagnosing disorders that fall underneath the autism spectrum umbrella. Still there is no consensus concerning this approach.
Some have proposed that individuals on the autism spectrum may be better represented as a single diagnostic category. Within this category, the DSM-5 has proposed a framework of differentiating each individual by dimensions of severity, as well as associated features (i.e., known genetic disorders, and intellectual disability). Now the DSM has made various changes so as to collapse social and communication deficits into one domain. Thus, an individual with an ASD diagnosis will be described in terms of severity of social communication symptoms, severity of fixated or restricted behaviors or interests, and associated features. The restricting of onset age has also been loosened from 3 years of age to “early developmental period”, with a note that symptoms may manifest later when demands exceed capabilities. And so the changes go on and on.
The key in the end is to offer those who exhibit these characteristics (symptoms) and their caregivers a wide range of tools and support so that they can function more effectively in what any intelligent individual can see is a highly dysfunctional society. This can surely be done through Autism support organizations but it is still a trial and error process. Through a scientific approach that utilizes big data, asks parents, care givers and health professional for tips and strategies from their own experience and through the application of meta-heuristic algorithms to isolate effective techniques for supporting the extraordinary child to function more effectively in ordinary conditions real progress can be made.
As the article below indicates, Sesame Street has already acted to implement this type of thinking concerning Autism. It may not be that the individual presenting the symptoms associated Autism Spectrum needs to be fixed but rather understood. Rather than seeing them as a “diseased” person they need to be interacted with on the level of who they are. Talented, unique, extraordinary, and different than the ordinary.
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Lewis Harrison – RealUGuru, is a writer, mentor, success and wealth coach, content-rich, motivational speaker, and an entrepreneur specializing in problem solving and strategizing based on game thinking, applied game theory and Game Thinking.
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