News back to news page

The spillover effects… Another perspective on Autism 2nd, April 2018

Before Diagnosis:

People often say: “…but my child has good eye contact.”, “My girl approaches people and my son is smart.”

See autism is not all about poor eye contact and sitting alone in a corner as portrayed in some media ads and that is making families confused and in denial. The more the confusion and the denial, the late the intervention will take place.

Autism signs start with a language delay where parents report either a loss of previously earned language, no language other than some sounds or a limited language with few words.

As if this isn’t enough, it gets trickier with some people actually talking-fluently. So would we consider that a delay in language? Some of the people can be fluent while talking but if they can still talk out of context “can you tell me about your weekend”, person says “I like numbers”

or saying something relevant to only one key element in the question. When they hear” what’s your name?”, a person can say his dad’s name.

You ask them about or repeat some scripts: Every time something falls down, the child would say “oh that’s bad”. Always the same answer and intonation, a very predictable reaction

Language Spill-Over-Effects:

We communicate and express our needs through language, we can also think aloud and plan using Language “I’ll go to the grocery shop then pass by the pharmacy”.

Imagine a child delayed in language and compare him to another who’s not.

The latter starts saying ball, someone gives the ball. He plays with the ball and starts discovering certain moves with ball, now he squeezes, throws and kicks the ball… later on he asks for the ball and says “kick”, dad passes by and kicks the ball.

Both Language, eye contact, play and socializing starts being shaped towards more complex repertoires.

On the contrary, the child on the spectrum will not request items, the interaction will be less varied and includes only what others are offering. Thus requesting, eye contact, play and socializing become limited.

It’s a simple equation of: I request and when someone else delivers what I want, my request is repeated with eye contact to signal to that person to hand in the needed object.

The more items delivered through requesting the more that value of the other person increases.

Limited play with common toys that children usually play with, will most likely end up with a child trying an adequate play for the need to be occupied is there, it’s one of those behaviors that made humans survive. So a child who doesn’t have a ball, and a bowling set, or a basket hoop, will have fun playing inadequately with a rubber that he picks from the floor, staring at the fan or perhaps entertained by the shadows of his fingers.

It seems that language grows/is supposed to grow exponentially in the first years…over-selectivity in language can have over selectivity and variability on other behaviors as well like eating and playing and looking sometimes it’s there and sometimes it’s not depending on the person’s motivation in that very moment that might not take the social standards into account.

With regards to understanding the social rules that people on the spectrum generally have a problem with, it all can be related to the fact that humans learn through two ways:

learning from own experience which is after contacting the consequence or learning through rules that are determined by society: learning before and to prevent the experience “Don’t cross the road when the lights are red” there are lots of these right?!

So what really happens with someone who can’t understand the rules, the If-then relation because of a hindrance in their language? Do you think will most likely respond to pre-determined rules or through having their own experience.

While the cause of autism and according to many research remains genetic, the relation of language delay and other areas still needs further research.