Symptoms of High Functioning Autism

As a practicing speech and language pathologist since 1993, I have worked with numerous children and adults with the diagnosis of Autism. In this brief article, I would like to share my experience regarding the subtle differences that those individuals with high functioning autism experience on a daily basis, more specifically the adults, who tend to try and compensate for their own disorder.

Social interaction deficits are a symptom of high level autism. Difficulty maintaining eye contact is just one of these symptoms. Internally, there may also be an actual fear of situations, because often, the individual with high functioning autism may not completely understand certain situational cues, or the higher elements of language, like humor. I believe that these individuals internally understand that they cannot follow these social cues or elements of language and as a result, utilize social”scripts” that have been developed many years earlier to assist in specific communicative interactions. These self- taught “scripts” have assisted the individual in the past and may or may not help in the present moment.

Individuals with high functioning autism continue to prefer routine and order, even as adults. Although these symptoms have presented themselves in early childhood, they tend to improve as the individual ages, if the person has the desire to improve themselves and get “out of their comfort zone”. Personal relationships are usually problematic, secondary to the inability to appropriately communicate wants, needs feelings with loved ones.

Other symptoms of high functioning autism may include irregularities with coordination, motor skills and gastrointestinal disturbances.

Studies show that individuals with high functioning autism, either diagnosed or undiagnosed are very intelligent people.  With that said, it is my experience that if an adult individual truly wants to improve their communication abilities, then that individual will have to  learn various communication “rules” that are present in our society.  Some of those communication rules that I address in therapy include:  Initiate conversation in appropriate situations, use contingent queries and responses, respond to clarification requests from the listener, give appropriate verbal feedback when asked,  give appropriate non-verbal feedback,  allow appropriate pause time between interchanges,  not interrupt and/or overlap partner, give appropriate amount of information, make relevant comments,  ask questions that are relevant, send clear and concise messages to the listener and use polite/friendly form, as appropriate.

Please leave your comments below or feel free to contact me here for more information about communication and high functioning autism.

 

 

About Kyle Meades

John Kyle Meades, CCC-SLP has practiced Speech & Language Pathology since 1993. Therapy Group of Tucson, PLLC provides private, powerful and effective speech and occupational therapy services in Tucson, AZ

Comments

  1. lisa and izzie says:

    Happy New Year Kyle! Many wishes for an extraordinary 2014! Miss you!

  2. Wendy White says:

    I have a grandson diagnosed with autism and developmental delay. he is currently receiving speech therapy at TMC and we have been told there will be no speech services after june and he will be placed on a waiting list. this is unacceptable to me as they have already changed therapists three times. if you can help in any way i would like to meet with you to discuss this situation. I can be reached via email or my phone number is 520 342 6395. thank you for your consideration.

  3. Wendy, give the office a call so that we can get you scheduled. 520-232-2021. I also sent you a private email. Thanks for reaching out to us.

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