Related Disorders

There are many conditions that can be present alongside autism spectrum disorders, such as fragile X syndrome and epilepsy. About 10–15% of autism cases have an identifiable Mendelian (single-gene) condition, chromosome abnormality, or other genetic syndrome, and ASD is associated with several genetic disorders. However, autism and other autism spectrum diagnoses, including Asperger syndrome, are diagnosed strictly as a cognitive disability, as a brain disorder that begins in early childhood, persisting throughout adulthood, and affecting three crucial areas of development: communication, social interaction and creative or imaginative play.

Other present conditions may include:

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD):

These children find it difficult to sustain focussed attention and are impulsive, disorganised and socially clumsy.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD):

A term used interchangeably with the above, where the child is very active or fidgety.  Autism Concern hosts the county’s ADHD provision, for more information on this service click here

Dyspraxia:

Defined by the Foundation as “an impairment or immaturity of the organisation of movement”. Other names for this condition are ‘clumsy child syndrome’ and ‘developmental co-ordination disorder’. Children with dyspraxia have difficulty controlling and co-ordinating conscious patterns of movement. They may have difficulties with tying shoe laces, handwriting, riding bicycles and other gross motor activities.

Verbal Dyspraxia/Articulatory Dyspraxia:

Are interchangeable terms used when the child has difficulty speaking, although there is no damage to muscles or nerves. A child with verbal dyspraxia may have difficulty producing individual sounds as well as putting together the sounds to make words, phrases and sentences.

Fragile X Syndrome:

A genetic condition. Diagnosis is established by a DNA or Chromosome test. Fragile X is the most commonly inherited cause of learning disability.

Learning Difficulties:

The 1996 Education Act defines learning difficulties as when a child:

  • has significantly greater difficulty in learning than most other children of the same age or;
  • has a difficulty, which prevents him/her from using ordinary school facilities.

Learning difficulties can be “specific” in that they affect only one area, like sequencing, memory, visuo-spatial skills, etc and include the pattern commonly known as dyslexia.

Learning Disability:

When a child is in the bottom 2% for their learning it is considered a ‘disability’ rather than a difficulty. Learning disabilities are often divided into mild, moderate (MLD) or severe (SLD).

Literacy:

Some people with ASD may be hyperlexic, this means they may have a good ability to decode print but may not understand the meaning of what they are reading.

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