Autism refers to a broad spectrum of human behavior and symptoms. There is no single definition of “autism,” but a wide variety of symptoms and behavior varying in severity and display. Most behaviors associated with autism are normal human behavior, only abnormal in their intensity. The American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-V defines autism spectrum disorders the following way. To be diagnosed as autistic, all of these categories must be fulfilled.
- Persistent deficits in social interaction with others appropriate for developmental level. Especially tell-tale signs are lack of eye contact and the inability to understand non-verbal communication. Autistic people have a hard time with anything that is not explicitly spelled out. They are not able to “read between the lines” the same way that their peers can. Obviously, this would be a major impairment in socializing with others!
- Restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior. Those with autism are often adamant about strictly following a rigid routine. Small changes in their environment may upset them. One of the most common signs of autism or an autism spectrum disorder is a “special interest,” or single activity, pastime, or subject of study that one is intensely interested in. It could be anything from trains to bus schedules to something less dry such as movies or music. Echoalia, or the repetition of what one hears, as one commonly sees in children, is also common.
- The relevant symptoms must have been present since the patient was a child. If you have recently become obsessed with routine and intensely interested in a single subject, it is probable that you are not suffering from an ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder). Autism is present from birth.
- The symptoms of the patient must impair everyday functioning. If you are slightly awkward and overly intense in your interests but functional as a person, you cannot be diagnosed as suffering from an autism spectrum disorder. To have a disorder, something needs to be dysfunctional!
If you meet all of these criteria, there is a good chance that you may be suffering from an autism spectrum disorder. Of course, self diagnosis is never a good idea. If you believe that you are suffering from autism, it is recommended that you consult a local expert in the area for an evaluation. A trained medical professional will always be able to provide a more worthwhile opinion than a random website on the internet. It really is essential.
Although they can be helpful, autism cannot be diagnosed over the internet. If you believe that you meet all of the criteria for an autism and the question of “Am I autistic?” is troubling you, you may want to contact a professional specializing in the subject in your area and have yourself evaluated.
Please note that this site is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice. The user of this site should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified health care provider, specific tests, physicians, procedures, opinions, or other qualified medical information.