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variants of autism
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variants of autism

I have a friend whom I think her daughter might have autism. Can someone explain all the symptoms to me and if I should bring it up evan to her Iv suggested it in the past and I encourage her to have her tested because she has delays but shes scared to do so. This is my best friend and only real friend so I want to be very careful as to not upset her.
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other people have brought up the fact they think she's autistic too. Over the past 9 months Iv finally gotten her two hug and kiss me. she mostly plays by herself when i bring my kids over. she just turned three. she hardly talks mostly one word sentices. seems to have a need for order and points and waves her arms instead of speaking what she needs. she ignored me until just recently now I can sometimes get her attention. Her mother says she has signs of ocd counting and the 3 thing like with door nobs.
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The following is from a site (you can do your own searches if you would like to look deeper).  There is a wealth of material out on the web (autism society in many states also that you can look up in yours for a local chapter/group).  

Symptoms of Autism Differ from Person to Person

There is a saying in the autism field: "if you've met one person with autism, you've met one person with autism." In other words: every person on the autism spectrum is unique, and one person's set of symptoms is just that ... one person's symptoms of autism! This is, in part, because autism is a spectrum disorder: you can be a little autistic or very autistic.
But there's more to it. An array of problems are relatively common among autistic people such as seizure disorders, gastrointestinal issues, mental retardation and mental illness. At this point, no one knows why these conditions are so common among people with autism spectrum disorders. It is possible that these additional conditions are indicators of different kinds of autism, each caused by a slightly different set of circumstances.

While the conditions listed above are more common among autistic people than among the general population, they are by no means universal among people on the autism spectrum. In fact, many autistic people have no apparent mental or physical illness at all.

Social and Communication Symptoms
Most of the time, autism is suspected in a child or adult because of deficits or stereotyped differences in social and communication skills. Some examples of these differences include:
Delayed or unusual speech patterns (many autistic children, for example, memorize video scripts and repeat them word for word with the precise intonation as the TV characters)
High pitched or flat intonation
Lack of slang or "kidspeak"
Difficulty understanding tone of voice and body language as a way of expressing sarcasm, humor, irony, etc.
Lack of eye contact
Inability to take another's perspective (to imagine oneself in someone else's shoes)
While many autistic people have terrific language skills, there are many who have no language at all. In between, are people whose verbal skills are idiosyncratic: They may be perfectly able to talk, but have a difficult time with conversation, small talk, and slang.
Communicating with PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System)
Speech-Language Therapy and Autism: The Basics
Social Skills Therapy and Autism: The Basics
Book Review: Unwritten Rules of Social Relationships
Sensory and Motor Symptoms
A majority of autistic people are either hyper or hypo sensitive to light, sound, crowds and other external stimulation. Some have both hyper and hypo sensitivities. This often results in autistic people covering their ears, avoiding or reacting negatively to brightly lit areas, or -- on the other hand -- crashing hard into sofas and craving strong bear hugs.
While it's unusual to find an autistic person who is obviously physically disabled as a result of the disorder, most autistic people do have some level of fine and gross motor difficulty. This often manifests itself in poor handwriting, difficulty with athletic coordination, etc. As a result, when autistic people get involved with sports, it's usually in individual, endurance sports such as running and swimming.

While autistic people do differ from one another radically, it is fairly typical for people on the spectrum to:
Engage in repetitive behaviors and ritualized activities, ranging from lining up items to following a rigid routine,
Have one or a few passionate interests,
Have difficulty in making and keeping multiple friends,
Prefer activities that require relatively little verbal interaction.
It also seems to be the case -- for as-yet-undetermined reasons -- that certain interests are of particular interest to many people on the autism spectrum. For example, an enormous number of young children with ASD's are fascinated by trains (and the Thomas the Tank Engine toy), while a great many older children and adults on the spectrum are interested in computers, science, technology, and animals.

I chose this one because there are differences.  My daughter is on the spectrum and I have friends who have children on the spectrum from more of what is called Classic Kanner's syndrome (based on Leo Kanner) to higher functioning or what is called Aspergers.  The challenges of social skills is in all of them to varying degrees and also with stimuli in the environment whether it be sounds, textures, changes in the way furniture is arranged, etc. as well as seeming to be more self-focused.

As far as approaching a dear friend, you know her best to know her stress level and approachability in timing.  If there is something wrong that interferes in school learning, chances are that she will get a call from someone at the school.

I ran into that when I moved from Co. to WI. and was tired of the thick history my child was already accumulating with no clear answers, so I thought I would start fresh and not say anything to the school when I registered.  Within days, I got one of which was to be many calls which would eventually lead to having her assessed at the Waisman Center in Madison Wi that led to her diagnose of being on the Autism Spectrum.

When there is something wrong and it stands out like a sore way to avoid having to deal with it.

However, along the way I came to know many people who had "fallen through the cracks" from years ago when they were not so proficient in recognizing autistic traits and that there was a spectrum.  It was an eye opening experience.

Your friend is fortunate to have you and your support in wanting her child to be helped.  I wish you the best in coming alongside of your friend and being blessed in the process.
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