Before a child could undergo speech therapy with the diagnosis of Autism, he should pass a criteria of characteristics first that is given by the DSM-IV. So here are the criteria for a child to be diagnosed with such conditions.
Autistic Disorder Criteria: Social Interaction
First off, a child should have impairment in social interaction. This could be manifested by at least two of the following behaviors. First is a marked impairment with the use of different non-verbal behaviors like facial expression, eye-to-eye gaze, and body posture.
Second is the child’s failure to develop peer relationship that is appropriate for his developmental level. In this case the child may seem to have difficulty gaining friends, or even just relating to other children within his age.
The child may also have the lack of spontaneity to share his emotions and thoughts. He may not share enjoyment, achievements, or interests to other people. In this case, the child doesn’t usually bring or point to objects that interest him.
The lack of emotional reciprocity is also possible. No matter how hard you try to connect or show your emotions and feelings to the child, he wouldn’t care less.
Autistic Disorder Criteria: Communication
The child also has communication impairment. Having at least one of the following conditions manifests this.
First is having a delay, or even total lack of spoken language development or expressive language. In this case, the child doesn’t even try to use of compensatory strategies to communicate or other means of communication like gestures.
For children that have adequate speech, the communication impairment is manifested by not being able to initiate or sustain a conversation with other people.
The child can also have stereotyped and repetitive use of language. This phenomenon is actually called idiosyncratic language, where what the child keeps on saying seems to me meaningless. He may keep on saying the word “blue” for countless of times, even for the whole duration of the day.
He can also lack the ability to have varied, spontaneous make-believe play or social imitative play that is appropriate for his developmental level. Play is one of the notable things that differentiate a child with Autism with normal children. For an Autistic child, play does not exist. The main concern is that play is an important factor for language development since it is a prerequisite or co-requisite of inner language.
Autistic Disorder Criteria: Repetitive And Stereotype Behavior Patterns
An Autistic child also manifests repetitive behavior. This criteria is judged by having at least one of the following conditions.
The child may have an encompassing preoccupation with one or more restricted and stereotyped patterns of interests that may seem abnormal in respect to focus and intensity. For example the child can sit and look at the ceiling fan for the whole day, and doesn’t care what is happening in his environment, all that matters is the fan.
The child also has fetish with routines and rituals. If he passes by a certain way to school, it has to be the same way. If you use the main stairs going to his classroom, then taking a different route like the elevator would definitely agitate him, make him angry and have tantrums.
The child may also have repetitive behaviors or mannerisms. Hand flapping, finger twisting, and complex body movements are examples of these.
Lastly, he can also be preoccupied with object parts like buttons, screws and other small details.