What makes a person autistic

I'm researching autism and I cannot see a clear definition like you would for other mental health issues.

Is there a consist trait that only is present in autism and I read all the time that everyones autism is different, if this is true then in which ways is there a difference?

And I have also read that everyone has a bit of autism, and reference to a scale of autism if so is autism a sensitivity to our own senses and our severity of autism is only how over active our senses are to the natural environment?

What traits other than sensitivity overload would be associated with autism.? 

  • Hello K,

    Have you tried googling the DSM-V and/or ICD-10 diagnostic criteria?

    Also, please note that autism is a developmental disorder not a mental health issue i.e. you are born with autism whereas MH conditions are acquired. 

    Good luck with your research,

    Nessie

  • Hi Nessie 82,

    Thanks for the info I'm looking at the ICD-10 diagnostic criteria at the moment, the other I can't seem to find as Reading material only reference I'll have another look later I think.

    I was hoping thou to get feedback from the point of experience of an autistic person but the manual is good to. 

    What do you think to the idea that everyone is on the autistic spectrum? 

    I think sometimes that's the case but then I see some of my acquaintances and colleagues and I second guess that idea, as they love being social all the time and they thrive in complexity of everythg all at once, ha not like me at all and being the only autistic person I know really I'm not sure what autistic people are like and there are so many realisations I haven't had about myself  so it'hard to know what's me and what is the autism hence the questions. 

  • You're welcome. Try this site for a summary of the DSM-V: https://www.autism-watch.org/general/dsm.shtml

    there are so many realisations I haven't had about myself  so it'hard to know what's me and what is the autism hence the questions

    Ah, I completely understand. Trying to understand where our personalities stop and the autism starts is a completely justified and natural thing to want to do.

    I'm still learning, I'm afraid, and not sure I'll ever stop. I was diagnosed 7 years ago, but as I move into each new stage in life—and even each new situation—I have to reassess what's me and what's the autism. My gut is, in some cases, you really can't separate the two because it's just how our brains are wired. E.g. Is it my autism that means I don't like jazz music because I find it too chaotic, or do I just not like jazz music (lots of neurotypical people do and lots don't)?

    Generally speaking, I think things that cause me extreme internal distress or confusion are mostly autism-related, including those for which my mother repeatedly chastised me as a child, as well as the unintentional upset I've occasionally caused people as an adult. I'm certain that, fundamentally, I'm a good, kind and honest person. However, given that the autism makes me a natural rule-follower (a goodie-goodie), who only deals in facts (I really can't lie), and always expects others to act and feel the same (theory of mind stuff), maybe I wouldn't be such a nice person were it not for the autism. Who knows? 

  • Please see the following description found on this website

    www.researchautism.net/.../Diagnosis

    Autism (Autism Spectrum Disorder)

    Diagnostic Criteria

    ICD-11

    The 11th edition of the International Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, which is due for publication in 2019, notes that 

    "Autism spectrum disorder is characterized by persistent deficits in the ability to initiate and to sustain reciprocal social interaction and social communication, and by a range of restricted, repetitive, and inflexible patterns of behaviour and interests. The onset of the disorder occurs during the developmental period, typically in early childhood, but symptoms may not become fully manifest until later, when social demands exceed limited capacities. Deficits are sufficiently severe to cause impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning and are usually a pervasive feature of the individual’s functioning observable in all settings, although they may vary according to social, educational, or other context. Individuals along the spectrum exhibit a full range of intellectual functioning and language abilities."

    It also notes that there are are several sub-types of autism spectrum disorder:

    • "6A02.0 Autism spectrum disorder without disorder of intellectual development and with mild or no impairment of functional language. All definitional requirements for autism spectrum disorder are met, intellectual functioning and adaptive behaviour are found to be at least within the average range (approximately greater than the 2.3rd percentile), and there is only mild or no impairment in the individual's capacity to use functional language (spoken or signed) for instrumental purposes, such as to express personal needs and desires.
    • "6A02.1 Autism spectrum disorder with disorder of intellectual development and with mild or no impairment of functional language. All definitional requirements for both autism spectrum disorder and disorder of intellectual development are met and there is only mild or no impairment in the individual's capacity to use functional language (spoken or signed) for instrumental purposes, such as to express personal needs and desires. 
    • "6A02.2 Autism spectrum disorder without disorder of intellectual development and with impaired functional language. All definitional requirements for autism spectrum disorder are met, intellectual functioning and adaptive behaviour are found to be at least within the average range (approximately greater than the 2.3rd percentile), and there is marked impairment in functional language (spoken or signed) relative to the individual’s age, with the individual not able to use more than single words or simple phrases for instrumental purposes, such as to express personal needs and desires. 
    • "6A02.3 Autism spectrum disorder with disorder of intellectual development and with impaired functional language. All definitional requirements for both autism spectrum disorder and disorder of intellectual development are met and there is marked impairment in functional language (spoken or signed) relative to the individual’s age, with the individual not able to use more than single words or simple phrases for instrumental purposes, such as to express personal needs and desires.  
    • "6A02.4 Autism spectrum disorder without disorder of intellectual development and with absence of functional language. All definitional requirements for autism spectrum disorder are met, intellectual functioning and adaptive behaviour are found to be at least within the average range (approximately greater than the 2.3rd percentile), and there is complete, or almost complete, absence of ability relative to the individual’s age to use functional language (spoken or signed) for instrumental purposes, such as to express personal needs and desires. 
    • "6A02.5 Autism spectrum disorder with disorder of intellectual development and with absence of functional language. All definitional requirements for both autism spectrum disorder and disorder of intellectual development are met and there is complete, or almost complete, absence of ability relative to the individual’s age to use functional language (spoken or signed) for instrumental purposes, such as to express personal needs and desires."

    DSM 5

    The fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders published in 2013 notes that autism spectrum disorder is characterised by: 

    "A. Persistent deficits in social communication and social interaction across multiple contexts, as manifested by the following, currently or by history : 

    1. 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. 
    2. Deficits in nonverbal communicative behaviors 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. 
    3. Deficits in developing, maintaining, and understanding relationships, ranging, for example, from difficulties adjusting behavior to suit various social contexts; to difficulties in sharing imaginative play or in making friends; to absence of interest in peers. 

    "B. Restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities, as manifested by at least two of the following, currently or by history: 

    1. Stereotyped or repetitive motor movements, use of objects, or speech (e.g., simple motor stereotypies, lining up toys or flipping objects, echolalia, idiosyncratic phrases). 
    2. Insistence on sameness, inflexible adherence to routines, or ritualized patterns or verbal nonverbal behavior (e.g., extreme distress at small changes, difficulties with transitions, rigid thinking patterns, greeting rituals, need to take same route or eat food every day). 
    3. Highly restricted, fixated interests that are abnormal in intensity or focus (e.g, strong attachment to or preoccupation with unusual objects, excessively circumscribed or perseverative interest). 
    4. Hyper- or hyporeactivity to sensory input or unusual interests in sensory aspects of the environment (e.g., apparent indifference to pain/temperature, adverse response to specific sounds or textures, excessive smelling or touching of objects, visual fascination with lights or movement). 

    "C. Symptoms must be present in the early developmental period (but may not become fully manifest until social demands exceed limited capacities, or may be masked by learned strategies in later life). 

    "D. Symptoms cause clinically significant impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of current functioning. 

    "E. These disturbances are not better explained by intellectual disability (intellectual developmental disorder) or global developmental delay. Intellectual disability and autism spectrum disorder frequently co-occur; to make comorbid diagnoses of autism spectrum disorder and intellectual disability, social communication should be below that expected for general developmental level."