Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

The symptoms of autism vary widely between people with ASD. The following are examples of some common symptoms that affect many ASD people, which can include but are not limited to:

  • aversions to certain foods
  • a single focused special interest
  • very rigid adherence to routines
  • “stimming” – repetitive and unusual behaviours such as hand-flapping, rapid blinking, rocking, tapping, etc.
  • challenging behaviours
  • avoidance of social interaction
  • inability to be tactful
  • lack of eye contact
  • literal thinking with the inability to discern lies or deceit
  • meltdowns – an intense response to overwhelming situations – becoming completely overwhelmed by their current situation and temporarily losing behavioural control

More information can be found at the National Autistic Society

There are three specific difficulties which must be present before Autism is diagnosed:

  • Difficulty with Social Communication
  • Difficulty with Social Imagination
  • Difficulty with Social Interaction

The following links are examples of tests psychologists use to determine if there is a requirement for testing for ASD:

The Childhood Autism Spectrum Test (CAST)  is a 39-item, yes or no evaluation directed at parents. The questionnaire was developed by ARC (the Autism Research Centre) at the University of Cambridge, for assessing the severity of autism spectrum symptoms in children.

The Autism Spectrum Quotient Test (AQ) is a diagnostic questionnaire measuring the severity of Autism-Spectrum Disorders in individuals published in 2001 by Simon Barron-Cohen and his colleagues at the Cambridge Autism Research Centre.

The Empathy Quotient (EQ) is a 60-item questionnaire designed to measure empathy in adults. Developed by Simon Baron-Cohen at the Autism Research Centre (ARC) at the University of Cambridge.

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