Synonyms in the broadest sense

  • early childhood autism
  • childish autism
  • Asperger's autism
  • Autistic
  • Autism in children

English: autism


As a rule, the term autism is understood in adults as well as in children to isolate themselves or to isolate themselves from the outside world. Those affected live in their own world of thoughts and ideas. Access from outside is difficult.

In children, a distinction must be made between early childhood and childhood autism. They differ from one another essentially through the age of the child. Early childhood autism is a contact disorder that already exists in infancy. The mentally disturbed behavior is developed before the age of three. Childhood autism is more common in boys of school or adolescent age. As a rule, this so-called Asperger's autism does not become noticeable until the age of four. Overall, the symptoms are less pronounced.

Read more on the subject at: Early Childhood Development, How to Identify Behavioral Problems in Baby


Out of around 10,000 children, 4 suffer from early childhood autism and slightly more from Asperger's autism. Boys are more often affected than girls. It has not yet been proven whether autism is associated with other mental illnesses.

Read more too Autism tests

Autism Spectrum Disorders

Autism spectrum disorders include several clinical pictures autism and are among the developmental disorders. The main features include, among others decreased interest in social relationships and noticeable or decreased linguistic development. In addition, there may be restrictions in movement. A special interest in unusual things and hobbies is often noticeable. Autism Spectrum Disorder includes all forms of autism, and one does not have to be the same as the other. Because they differ in their symptoms and how strong or weak they are.

This means that a patient with autism may not attract attention because of the illness because the symptoms are mild and a normal life is possible. The various forms of autism include the early childhood autism or Kanner syndrome called. This affects small children before the age of 3 and is also described as "classic autism". Another form is that Asperger syndrome. Children from 4 years of age are more likely to be affected. With Asperger's Syndrome, there is primarily one increased IQ and the Island talent connected.

Asperger syndrome

Asperger's Syndrome is one of the autism spectrum disorders and is different from the other autism syndromes. In society, Asperger's Syndrome is often associated with exceptionally gifted people. This is a peculiarity of this syndrome and can occur in some patients with Asperger's syndrome. However, this is not always the case. Asperger's syndrome affects more boys than girls. Most often the disease occurs from the age of 4 years. One of the main characteristics of Asperger's Syndrome is the impaired ability to social interactions. Patients often have no interest in interpersonal relationships, find it difficult to put themselves into other roles and understand the feelings of others. It appears that the patients have no emotional interest.

Patients with Asperger's Syndrome often have sophisticated language that is often developed over age. However, they have difficulty identifying humor or seriousness in the language. In addition, Asperger's patients often have abnormal motor skills. They are not very flexible and awkward in some movements. Some children have an above-average IQ and are interested in special things and hobbies that they are very good at. This is also called island talent. Children and adults with Asperger's Syndrome are at increased risk of developing mental illness. These include obsessive-compulsive and anxiety disorders, depression, ADHD, tic disorders, and schizophrenia.

More information can be found here: Asperger's Syndrome


In the making of the autism not all secrets have been revealed yet. Various factors are included in the considerations:

  1. genetic factors:
    Man assumes a genetic disposition in early childhood autism.
    If family members are already autistic, the risk of developing the disease for the offspring is generally higher. Twin studies have shown that if one twin is sick, the other twin is very likely to develop autism. With identical twins this probability is 95%, with dizygotic twins it is still 35%. In addition, there is the fact that early brain damage in the child increases the genetic disposition.
  2. neurological factors:
    In autistic people, certain brain areas seem to be less developed or developed than in normal people. Brain damage before birth also promotes the development of autism. The extent to which the brain is damaged or underdeveloped appears to be related to the severity of the disease.
  3. biochemical factors
    In many autistic people, an increased level of a certain messenger substance was found in the blood: Serotonin. This is an attempt to explain the learning difficulties.
  4. Conditions of birth
    A recent study has shown that there is a link between autism and low birth weight and congenital birth defects. In retrospect, it was found that many autistic sufferers had this Conditions at birth have been present.


Of the early childhood autism manifests itself in infancy through a lack of contact. In the case of the infants there is no reaction whatsoever to the attention to the environment. So you are unable to enter into social relationships. Linguistic and non-linguistic communication problems are in the foreground with this form of autism. Usually the children have a distant gaze ("Staring holes in the air"). The establishment of eye contact is almost completely absent and the gestures are not understood by the children concerned. The social contact clearly suffers, since they also do not like physical contact and try to avoid it. Although the children understand their parents' language, they show a language disorder and language development delay. A special feature here is the so-called echolalia, so words or sentences are simply repeated and presented as an answer (example: Question: “Are you coming?” Answer: “Are you coming?”) Also compulsive gaming habits, especially misappropriated or excessive Strong attachment to individual objects (favorite toys) can indicate the presence of autism. Repetitive actions are also typical.

Of the childish autism, which occurs preferentially among boys of school age, manifests itself in a poor relationship. The children find few or no friends at school and appear withdrawn. Most of the time, however, these children are gifted. Often there are special skills in the talent area, such as playing the piano. This form of autism is also called Asperger's autism. Most of the children are also poor in their motor skills and appear "clumsy".

Both forms of autism show certain patterns in thinking and behavior. Thinking, for example, is affect-guided and contradicts reality, which is ignored by those affected. The children often take refuge in fantasies.

Autistic children all have difficulty adjusting and making friends. Her character is reserved, weak and cool. Autistic children find it difficult or impossible to understand and show feelings. For example, they don't know what a sad or happy facial expression is. Nor do these children know what a real danger is. For example, you simply run out onto the street without being aware of the danger of cars passing by. They react very sensitively to any change in their usual environment.

Additionally, it has been observed that many autistic children often tiptoe in autism due to balance disorders.

What are the signs of autism?

The signs of autism can be many and varied. This often makes a clear diagnosis very difficult and is sometimes only made after years. If the symptoms are only mildly pronounced and the patient is socially well integrated, the autism disorder may even not be noticed at all or only become apparent in adulthood. There are, however, some signs that are characteristic of autism and are listed and explained below.

All people with autism often share the same characteristics, but they differ in the severity and distribution of symptoms. The first thing the parents notice is that the child behaves differently than other children of that age. The main characteristics of autism relate primarily to language development, interpersonal behavior, intelligence and interests. Autism is often associated with a reduced intelligence. However, this can be imperceptibly little, but it also means a mental handicap. However, there are also autistic patients with giftedness.

Delayed language development or loss of skills is common in children. A common trait is also little interest in social interactions. Parents notice that the child does not make eye contact and does not want to cuddle. People with autism often have an interest in specific things. With children it is noticeable that they only deal with one special feature on the toy. They also play less with other people of the same age. Sometimes patients also stand out for unusual ways of thinking and problem-solving, and may exhibit unusual movements. If a symptom applies to the child, it does not immediately mean that they have autism. There may be other reasons for the symptoms and should be clarified by a doctor. There are usually several symptoms in an autistic disorder.

This article might also interest you: Speech disorders


The diagnosis is only made based on the symptoms the child is experiencing. There are no specific tests to detect autism as the children “live like another world”. Thus, tests that involve the children must be dispensed with. This is to justify that the autism is often diagnosed in kindergarten, although it already exists at birth. The parent survey plays a major role. You know best how your child normally behaves and what abnormalities it shows.

The Diagnosis of a giftedness that may occur with however, it is more precisely defined.

What tests are there for autism?

Since the symptoms of autism can be varied and of varying severity or weakness, the diagnosis of autism is not easy to make. That is why doctors and specialists use special tests if they suspect autism. For one, there will be different Intelligence tests applied. In most cases, autism is associated with intellectual disabilities and language disorders. Especially the early childhood autism goes hand in hand with decreased intelligence. Specifically, these tests are the Hamburger changer test for children and the Hannover Wechsler Test for preschool age for children from 2-6 years.

Further tests are also used for language development. If these tests are abnormal, there are two special tests for autism to confirm the suspicion. The specialists use the for this Diagnostic observation scale for autistic disorders (ADOS) and the Diagnostic interview for autism (ADI-R). In the ADOS test, the social interaction, communication and play behavior of the child and the adult are observed and classified. In this test there are different modules that can be used depending on the age. It is a test that is used by default when autism is suspected.

In the ADI-R test, the parents or other main caregivers of the child or adult patient are interviewed. In the absence of the child, the persons are asked about abnormalities in communication, language development, social behavior, development, interest and play behavior. In total, the test can take up to 4 hours. In order to rule out a physical illness, the children or adults are also physically examined. These include, for example Hearing test, eye test, EEG or MRI.


Particularly important in therapy is parenting education, which takes up a large part of the therapy. There is no curative therapy for the hereditary disease of autism.
Psychiatric or psychosomatic care plays a major role. Here comes mainly the Behavior therapy to carry. The reward method is primarily used to treat autism. Desired behavior is rewarded. With a so-called auto-aggressive behavior (z. For example, hit the wall with your head) there may be a need for punishment. In this case, punishment means, for example, taking away your favorite toy. Such measures should only be used in exceptional cases.
Autistic children need a very stable family structure and an environment that is as unchanging as possible. For example, the child must immediately react appropriately to excessive behavior. Depending on which areas are particularly underdeveloped, these require special support (motor learning in children with weak motor skills).
Medicinal Preparations from psychotherapy come into question - but only in the case of severe illnesses with, for example, self-harm. Usually these drugs are used in schizophrenic patients. Here are Sulpiride and Risperidone to mention, which lower the serotonin level in the blood.In some children this can improve behavior and mental abilities. Medicines specifically geared towards autism are still not available. Autism is also not a curable disease, it can only be tried to contain the symptoms.


There is no prevention of the clinical picture of autism. However, the sooner the disorder is recognized, the earlier the child can be looked after individually. Help is available from social institutions.


Autism is an incurable disease, but it does not progress through life. It is said that the symptoms even decrease slightly over the years. However, a normalization of mental performance has not yet been observed. Here, too, there are different degrees of severity of the disease. Adults who suffer from Asperger's Syndrome can later manage their lives fairly independently. As a rule, however, they live very isolated socially. Other autistic people have worse prospects: They can hardly live independently and find their way around. They often need lifelong support.


Especially in children, two different types of autism are differentiated based on childhood:

  • the early childhood and the
  • childish autism.

But they also differ in the severity of the symptoms. The cause is assumed to be a hereditary component, which is more important in Asperger's autism. The children are closed and withdrawn. You are unable to perceive or show feelings in others. For example, they don't know what a sad face looks like. They are also not fully aware of the consequences of dangers. It is noteworthy, however, that they mostly show special skills in the talent area. The diagnosis, which results from the observation of the child, can be made much more easily with the help of the parents. After all, they are the ones who have the child around them all the time. The parents must also be involved in the therapy. Since there is no autism-specific drug treatment to date, behavioral therapy is used for this incurable disease. For the most part, this is done according to the reward principle. Unfortunately, this disease cannot be counteracted preventively, as the causes have not yet been clarified in detail. However, the earlier you recognize autism, the earlier you can start an adequate therapy. The prognosis depends on the extent of the disease. In general, however, it can be said that Asperger's autistic people find their way around relatively independently as adults.