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What is Autism


Autism is described in a book called the DSM 5 - The Diagnostic Statistical Manuel. It's a reference book used internationally. It describes autism and defines how it is diagnosed. There's another book called the ICD 10 - International Classification of Diseases that is used in a similar way. In Australia we usually refer to the DSM 5. There are are 5 parts from A - E.


Part A from the DSM 5

To meet diagnostic criteria for ASD according to DSM-5, a child must have persistent deficits in each of three areas of social communication and interaction (see A.1. through A.3. below) plus at least two of four types of restricted, repetitive behaviours (see B.1. through B.4. below).

  1. Persistent deficits in social communication and social interaction across multiple contexts, as manifested by all of the following, currently or by history (examples are illustrative, not exhaustive; see text):

  2. Deficits in social-emotional reciprocity, ranging, for example, from abnormal social approach and failure of normal back-and-forth conversation; to reduced sharing of interests, emotions, or affect; to failure to initiate or respond to social interactions.

  3. Deficits in nonverbal communicative behaviours used for social interaction, ranging, for example, from poorly integrated verbal and nonverbal communication; to abnormalities in eye contact and body language or deficits in understanding and use of gestures; to a total lack of facial expressions and nonverbal communication.

  4. Deficits in developing, maintaining, and understanding relationships, ranging, for example, from difficulties adjusting behaviour to suit various social contexts; to difficulties in sharing imaginative play or in making friends; to the absence of interest in peers.

If we start by looking at number 1 this means that communication is really difficult for autistic people most of the time in most situations - always has been - from young to adult.


Number 2 means that it might be hard to continue a conversation back and forth. Sometimes it might be hard to even reply or answer when spoken to. Bumping into someone at the shops might be hard and people might try to avoid it. It might be hard to start a conversation, as well as keep it going.


Number 3 means it can be hard to look people in the eyes, you might not wave goodbye, you can't tell if you're being boring, standing too close or maybe a blank face (sometimes called resting b*tch face) for example.


Number 4 means it might be hard to play pretend, make friends because maybe you liked being on your own more, or doing and saying awkward things when you're with others.


If you are thinking about an assessment for Autism you can do a free screen quiz on the website. You can download the free ebook called What to Expect. If you'd like to make an appointment please email or give us a call. 94971548. sunshinepsych@gmail.com.



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