Staff Writers (2022) say that children with Autism have persistent difficulties, beginning in the developmental period. Problems with the social use of verbal & nonverbal communication which are not better explained by another reason, such as having Non-Verbal Learning Disability (NVLD). A child with Autism, depending on the Level of Severity, has difficulty with age-appropriate spoken language. While the child with NVLD, has a wide vocabulary & strong language skills.
< My Thoughts > “‘Level of Severity’…”
Autism Spectrum Disorder, Level 1 – The individual ‘Requires Support’ for daily functions. This is the mildest form of autism.
Autism Spectrum Disorder, Level 2 – The individual ‘Requires Substantial Support’ for daily functions. Due to narrow interests combined with purposeless repetitive behaviors.
Autism Spectrum Disorder, Level 3 – The individual ‘Requires Very Substantial Support’ for daily functions. Like Levels 1 & 2, but to an extreme degree. Staff writers (2022)
Authors go on to say that another possible comparison is that of ‘visual-spatial’ processing. Both may experience this in ways which make them seem disoriented, clumsy, or focused on one detail, instead of the ‘big picture’.
A child with ‘repetitive behavior’ as a possible tool for self-calming can include repeating phrases or pacing back & forth.
‘Visual-spatial’ processing requires organizing visual information into meaningful patterns, plus understanding how these patterns operate/function. Such as the mathematic rules of operation & processing; or, the ability to see the 3-diamensional aspects of objects during observation.
A child with ‘repetitive behavior’ may repeat phrases from TV commercials, their favorite movie characters’ dialog, or something they’ve heard in a song. Our non-verbal son usually responds laughingly to my demands when prefaced by Buzz Lightyear’s phrase – “I have a laser, & I will use it!”
According to the Staff Writers (2022) poor spatial skills, paired with good language skills, are the essential features required in the diagnosis of Non-Verbal Learning Disability (NVLD). But, this is often undiagnosed or misdiagnosed until noticed by teachers when the student is having difficulty with grade-level school performance. Students may then be referred to additional professionals for observation & testing. This would be necessary to determine if the child has Autism or a Non-Verbal Learning Disability (NVLD).
DSM-5 (2013). American Psychiatric Association: Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th Edition).
Staff Writers (2022). Retrieved online from – https://www.verywellhealth.com/what-are-the-three-levels-of-autism-260233.