You must be wondering what low functioning autism is. Usually, those who are diagnosed with level 3 autism need additional support than others. They have symptoms that are more defined and affect day-to-day functioning to a great extent. There are certain challenges they face like difficulties with verbal and non-verbal communication, social difficulties, and harsh behaviors. Treatments are available for severe autism and they are much effective when implemented early.
What is Low functioning autism? – An overview
The only difference between high functioning autism and low functioning autism is mainly behavior. The behavior is low functioning autism prevents the ability to perform day-to-day activities. Children or adults diagnosed with low functioning autism require more support. They face obstructions in communication and managing their behaviors.
In children, the symptoms are easily identifiable in early childhood. Children having autism spectrum disorder (ASD) do not meet the benchmarks of neurodevelopment on time. children may experience learning delays in self-soothe, talking, and forming bonds. Children having serious autism are likely to have medical conditions that co-occur with another. It includes conditions like tuberous sclerosis, fragile X syndrome, and epilepsy. Check out the lactose intolerance symptoms in children.
Levels of autism
The categorization in autism is done in levels based on the Diagnostics and Statistical Manual of Mental disorder (DSM-5).
It is the highest functioning category. Children with autism require support learning but they learn a variety of social skills on their own. It helps them gain some independence.
Level – 2
The second level of autism have deficits related to social, verbal, and behavioral. Even while getting the support they may face difficulties with this behavior.
Level – 3
At this level, the autism patient has great difficulty in non-verbal communication, speaking, and socializing. They experience immense distress in a situation that is outside their comfort zone.
Symptoms of severe autism
In children, doctors can identify the signs of low functioning autism in infancy. In the age of preschool, the symptoms are more noticeable. Here are the several signs and symptoms that scientists have discovered in their research.
- Communication difficulties
Having trouble in communication is the initial sign of a child having autism. In early infancy, a child with autism may not be able to babble or point. It becomes difficult for them to speak phrases at the age of two. The autistic children are unable to communicate pain, hunger, or preferences, this makes them isolated or frustrated. The symptoms they may show are not responding to their name, remaining non-verbal till the age of four, repeating certain phrases, and so on.
- Impaired social interaction
For children with severe autism, social interactions can be difficult to nearly impossible. Some children may experience regression after hitting a milestone. Some children may never develop the skills required. These children are often mislabeled for not being understanding. The poor emotional intelligence can make relating difficult. It is challenging for them to express empathy.
One of the crucial signs of low functioning autism is inappropriate responses. socializing also becomes difficult. They might find an imaginative play boring and will struggle to maintain the rules of the game. Autistic children are not acceptable to change even if it is for a home routine or a game. When changed something they may show signs of aggression, resistance, disruption, or passiveness.
- Sensory processing difficulties
Low functioning autism children may find physical touch distressing. A cuddle or a hold may also be very difficult for them to accept. Their movements may become stiff, clumsy, or exaggerated. All this is due to their hyper-awareness of sensation and movement. Their evolving sensitivities will trigger a frustrated and angry response.
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder, behavior, and anxiety
Children with low functioning autism may often show symptoms related to obsessive-compulsive disorder. The common triggers for compulsions and obsessions are overload in senses or deprivation. They play in a certain pattern that may be abnormal to neurotypical individuals. Even in the environment with low stress, they may display behaviors of hitting and spitting. Check out the problem of obesity in childhood.
Therapy and treatment for low functioning autism
The initial years are very vital for a child for their development, future growth, and learning. By being supportive and acting, parents help children realize their best outcome or behavior. Early intervention is also beneficial to the parents as they provide them the tools and insights to use and learn the relationship with their child of special needs.
No two people with severe autism are the same, especially when they are diagnosed with various medical conditions like ADHD, sensory processing disorder, anxiety disorder, Tourette’s syndrome, and many others. Some of the therapies to cope with their special needs include speech therapy, applied behavioral analysis, alternative and augmentative communication, occupational therapy, physical therapy, dietary restrictions, and treatment, and diagnosis of comorbid medical conditions. Some parents also go for pet therapy and music therapy.
What it is like living with a low functioning autism
No parent is ever prepared with their child’s diagnosis that they have autism, especially when it is level 3 autism. Thankfully, with the increase in the awareness of autism, there are various support options available for you and your child. The information is readily available regarding its symptoms and treatments.
One of the most important steps is to select a team of professionals that help treat your child. The team usually consists of a psychologist, therapist, pediatrician, and others depending upon your child’s diagnosis and symptoms. The professionals help you understand your child’s behavior, give you advice on interacting with them and things you can do to keep them safe and improve their symptoms.
Another crucial step is to get support for yourself. There are various challenges and unexpected twists and turns living with an autistic child. It becomes overwhelming and emotional and you will require people to share your experience and understand your circumstances. Joining a group of parents or individuals that deal with the skills necessary for autism and those who can share their experience is invaluable.
How to keep your child with autism safe
Most parents with autistic children always worry about how to keep their children safe. There are issues and obstacles that parents of normal children do not even have to consider. Certain symptoms of autism-like wandering, hiding, self-harm, eloping, head-banging, and running are more common in autistic children. It is necessary to make your home and your child’s surrounding safety proof.
Autistic kids are not much aware of their safety concerns. They have no idea that some things can be dangerous and are also not aware of their impact. When they get overwhelmed, they may run into the streets without even noticing the cars on the roads.
A recent study has shown that 50% of children with autism wander or elope. Despite several safety measures, parents report their child eloping.
If your child is diagnosed with low functioning autism, the first step you must take is to get all the necessary information regarding your child’s autism according to the diagnosis. You must also explain to your family and friends about how to behave in a certain way with your child. Your child may require special arrangements and you must get it done quickly; you will also have to change your way of thinking according to the behavior of your child. For more information, visit healthclubfinder.