What is Mild ASD
As Autism is now recognized as a "spectrum disorder" with its wide range of symptoms, it has become imperative to understand where a child falls on the spectrum. Earlier, in the DSM-IV-TR, there were five different Autism Spectrum diagnoses - Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, Rett's Syndrome, Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD-NOS), Kanner's Syndrome, and Asperger's Disorder. In 2013, however, the diagnostic criteria (DSM-5) were changed. Rather than five separate Autism spectrum diagnoses, there is now only one: Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). This also includes three specifiers to the severity of ASD. For example, level 1- “requiring support”, level 2- “requiring substantial support”, or level 3 “requiring very substantial support”.
So, where does your child fall on the Autism Spectrum?
There are people with ASD who cannot write, speak, or understand emotions, and there are people with ASD who excel in various sports, or even travel to different places. People with ASD may exhibit varying behaviors depending on the situations, circumstances, and expectations placed on him/her. A child with ASD can be a scholar, yet find it hard to shake hands with anyone. To give you a more in-depth understanding, we have listed various behaviors that are typically seen at the very mild-moderate levels of ASD:
Very Mild: The child may be capable of communicating verbally, at age level. He/she engages with other children, by talking, playing, and may even collaborate from time to time. He/she might find certain interactions and activities difficult, but with minimal support, they will still be able to indulge in typical social activities. He/she finds it difficult to understand sarcasm, tell/get jokes, etc.
Mild: The child may be able to communicate verbally, at age level, but some languages can be anomalous. With minimal support, he/she is able to learn effectively in typical environments like playground or classroom. Kids with mild ASD are often aware of their differences and might feel bullied or segregated from their peers. He/she may have significant sensory challenges (extreme responses to light, sound, pain, heat, cold, etc.). Play skills may be erratic: sometimes they plays with other children, but may find it complicated to keep up with pretend play.
Moderate: Children with moderate ASD may have verbal skills, but not at age level. Their language skills may suffer. Though they can use words to communicate their needs, wants, etc., it is difficult for them to become accustomed to, or manage functioning in a typical or mainstream classroom. They may or may not have significant sensory challenges. However, they may have some areas of real academic strength. They tend to have breakdowns, when they’re overwhelmed or frustrated.
Children who have mild ASD are generally considered to be Level 1, but might still need a great deal of support depending upon their surroundings and circumstances. For example, a child with mild ASD may have brilliant verbal skills, but on the other hand, may find it difficult to use the toilet. As a result, children with mild ASD might face a lot of difficulties at school, home, or in public areas. To understand the impact of ASD on their life, you will need to ask specific and direct questions to the child about social, verbal, behavioral, and sensory challenges.
Literary works on Einstein’s life reveal situations where Einstein exhibited behavioral problems related to ASD. His verbal development was slow, but he had an innate curiosity about ordinary things like space and time.
Every child on the Autism Spectrum Disorder is an individual and has unique needs, and so, each intervention plan should be tailored according to what best fits the child areas of need.