Mild Autism

Mild autism is classed as being at the milder end of the spectrum. In other words, someone with this form of autism displays only a few signs of it such as difficulty in following a conversation or understanding a non-verbal gesture.

Children with mild autism

Children with mild autism are often of average or above intelligence and are able to communicate well with others. Their speech is normal and they can engage in a conversation with a group of people.

But what singles them out from other children is the following:

  • Intense focus on a particular interest
  • Difficulty in making friends with other children
  • Find it difficult to start a conversation or prolong it
  • Uncomfortable with a range of sensory inputs such as noise, bright lights, conversation etc.

A child with this type of autism is able to talk to other people although these are usually their parents or members of their family. They find this easier than talking to their peers or strangers.

Mild autism is often mistaken for Asperger’s Syndrome.

The symptoms of mild autism often appear in the formative years, usually around the age of 3 onwards. This does not affect the child’s IQ but is noticeable from a developmental aspect.

In some cases the child continues to exhibit the symptoms of mild autism without them ever being detected by their GP or a psychologist.

Adults with mild autism

Any adult who presents with mild autism may appear to behave in the same way as their friends or work colleagues but for a few differences. This person may be intellectually very bright and able to discuss a range of issues to a deep level: but they are awkward in the presence of others and have poor social skills.

They may exhibit strange patterns of behaviour such as repetitive movements or dislike the noise of everyday items. They have a compulsion to place objects in a line, e.g. ballpoint pens or have a routine for travelling to work which must not be deviated from, whatever happens.

The autistic adult’s colleagues may see this as strange or eccentric behaviour rather than assuming it is mild autism.

But the problem with mild autism is that it varies from one person to another. For example, someone may be highly intelligent and able to talk to other people but is paranoid about these people and is generally disorganised.

Another example is a person who is friendly and approachable but otherwise prefers their own company: they find it easier to talk about what they are interested in rather than taking an interest in other people.

This means it is hard to say if one person has milder symptoms than another person. Much of this depends upon the person and their social setting.

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