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Understanding High-functioning autism

Autism is a developmental disorder known to effect 1 in every 69 people across the world. Some people with autism may have intellectual disabilities while there are few who may have an IQ of 70 or greater. Such people are known to have a High-functioning autism (HFA).

Autism has various symptoms, severities and impacts on the life of people. Even people with high-functioning autism have behavioral, social issues and find it difficult to communicate with others.

They may also have delayed development of speech and language in the initial years. However, people with high-functioning autism may have talents and abilities that make them stand out.

Dr Vasntha is a parent of child with HFA and has lots of experiences and insights about autism. She feels children need full support and motivation of parents to realize their own potentials.

She says, "The most important thing is to accept the child and encourage them with love and affection. As parents we can make a lot of positive difference in our children instead of comparing them with others and putting g extra pressure on them."

Those with HFA may have very good computing skills, memories, talent in arts such as music, painting etc. No two people with autism are the same and they have different personalities and behavior. The same holds true for children and adults with high-functioning autism. Attention to details, beauty, patterns, sticking to routines are what they may like the most.

Padma is a mother from Chennai and her son Sachin has high-functioning autism. Sachin has a super memory and is extremely good at calculating.

Sachin has the ability to tell the day if you tell him the year and date even for years long gone by. He is also very much interested in learning new languages and picks up the information from nay resource. Even by looking at shop banners and hoardings in various languages, he can learn them quickly. - Padma, parent

Children with HFA tend to be interested in some particular subject and then try to learn all about it. It could be talents such as learning languages, scripts, coding, musical instruments etc.

Challenges

Despite their high IQ, these children may still face a lot challenges due to the underlying issues that occur due to autism.

• Issues in understanding verbal communication.

• Sensory issues.

• Anxiety and depression.

• Emotional outburst.

• Lack of planning and executional skills.

• Understanding social cues

Children and adults with high-functioning autism are intellectually bright in some fields but still face massive challenges in lives. They can be misunderstood by others and expected to lead their lives like everyone else as they tend to show certain exceptional abilities. However, it is important to create awareness about their social, behavioral or sensory problems and treat them with care and compassion.

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