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  5. Introduction to Autism
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  7. 4.2. Describe how these characteristics can vary from...

4.2. Describe how these characteristics can vary from individual to individual.

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In the previous section, we looked at some of the main characteristics that are found in individuals with autism, however it is important to be mindful that they will vary significantly between individuals.

For example, some individuals with autism may have significant challenges with verbal communication, including delayed speech development or a complete lack of verbal communication, whilst others may have advanced vocabularies.

Some individuals might actively seek social interaction but struggle to understand social cues or reciprocity, making interactions challenging. Others may show little to no interest in social interactions and prefer to be alone.

Some individuals may engage in highly repetitive behaviors, like rocking or hand-flapping, while others may not have any noticeable repetitive physical behaviors but may still have repetitive thought patterns or routines.

Some individuals might have very rigid routines and get extremely upset with small changes, while others may have a higher tolerance for variation in their schedules.

These differences underline the importance of understanding each person with autism as an individual. While there are common themes in the experiences of those with ASD, the way these traits present can be highly individual, shaped by factors like co-occurring conditions, personal history, and environmental influences. The mantra “if you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism” holds that each individual’s experience with autism is unique.

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