Low-functioning autism (A complete guide)

low-functioning autism

In this brief blog, we will be talking about low-functioning autism, the symptoms of low-functioning autism, how to treat low-functioning autism, and more information about low-functioning autism.

What is low-functioning autism as a spectrum of autism?

This kind of autism as a spectrum of this group of psychological disorders has been defined as the autism where the affected person can’t function well in daily life.

This kind of autism spectrum disorder can make the person less likely to do their personal activities alone, unlike people with high-functioning autism.  

This kind of autism can bring out distress in affected people who can’t seem to do well in life, especially if early intervention was not introduced to these affected people.

This kind of autism can actually elicit the need for early intervention since symptoms are very prominent in childhood.

This kind of autism can show symptoms where the affected child is not able to function well in social situations and some situations for oneself.

This kind of autism is more likely to get intervened than children or people with high-functioning autism. 

Symptoms of low-functioning autism

Doctors are able to determine this kind of autism in affected infants. The following are the prominent signs of this autism spectrum disorder:


Impaired Social Interaction in low-functioning autism

Children with this autism spectrum disorder are more likely to show episodes where they have regressed to an early developmental age.

This is where these affected people will show some younger behaviours such as peeing on the bed even when they have grown this sign.

These affected children with this autism spectrum disorder are less likely to show empathic behaviour which is needed in social interactions.

These affected children are also less likely to act considerately of their peers which can make them be considered as unlikely friends in a friendly relationship.

These affected children with this autism spectrum disorder are more likely to exhibit inappropriate affect in a social situation.

For instance, these affected children will laugh when a fellow peer got hurt in the midst of a game.

This behaviour in a social situation can make their peers feel uncomfortable about having these affected children as their friends.

In this case, these affected children are more likely to need support when they are trying to socialize with peers.

These affected children with this autism spectrum disorder are also more likely to be uncooperative and restrained when it comes to playing with other children.

This behaviour in a social situation can only make peers feel awkward when they have to let these affected children in their games.

This situation can only make the symptoms of these affected children with this autism spectrum disorder worse because the lack of social interaction can only make these people deal with themselves more and can only lack the social interaction that is needed in the younger years.

There are a lot of social opportunities that these affected children can do through therapy which can help a lot.

Low-functioning autism (A complete guide)

Communication Difficulties

These affected children with autism spectrum disorder are affected with the lack of communication skills in their lives.

These affected children don’t know how to communicate if they are in pain or they are hungry.

These affected children with this autism spectrum disorder can become less likely to grow their psychological disorder if they are unable to talk about their needs to loved ones.

This can lead these affected children to feel less inclined to talk about their current needs even if it hurts them.

This situation is where these affected children who have this autism spectrum disorder would have concerns about developing their communication skills since they don’t start out small such as telling their parents about what they need.

These affected children with this autism spectrum disorder will find it more fulfilling for them to be taught by their parents about how to communicate since they are necessary in teaching them and putting this education in the classroom.

These affected children who have this autism spectrum disorder are also prone to repeat behaviours and speech from other people and most of the time, the words and actions are not necessary for the child.

For instance, a child with this autism spectrum disorder would repeat the words said by the adult such as “I need it now!”.

These affected children with this autism spectrum disorder may appear annoying to other people since they are following the same words and behaviours that are displayed by other people.

This is why therapy for this autism spectrum disorder will be focusing on helping the affected child know what to say in different kinds of situations.


Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Anxiety, and Behaviour In Low-Functioning Autism

These affected children with this autism spectrum disorder are also more likely to be comorbid with obsessive-compulsive disorder.

This comorbidity can be seen with their need for organisation and there is also sensory overload which is customary to the anxiety associated with this psychological disorder.

These affected children who have this autism spectrum disorder are also more likely to have some disturbing behaviours that are customary to anxiety where they might be shown to have some anxiety attack where they scream inappropriately as if they are having a tantrum.

However, this behaviour is more characteristic of a meltdown since they are experiencing a sensory overload in the environment.

These affected children who have this autism spectrum disorder are also more likely to show that they are afraid of being in crowded places which can be a sign of agoraphobia on their part since this can set up a fear of being in public places.

Of course, these affected children can also have other fears such as fear of dogs due to the sensory overload felt when hearing a dog’s bark.

These affected children who have this autism spectrum disorder are also more likely to be scared about leaving their parent’s sides due to the lack of competence in social interactions when it comes to dealing with strangers.

These affected children would want to be with loved ones at all times when they have to deal with strangers in their line of sight.

These affected children who have this autism spectrum disorder are also more likely to react hastily when they are thrust upon a social situation that they do not want to be a part of.

These affected children may run away or fight back when they are feeling anxious in a social situation.

Low-functioning autism (A complete guide)

Sensory Processing Difficulties In Low-Functioning Autism

There are also sensory processing difficulties that are evident in affected children who have this autism spectrum disorder. These affected children are very resistant when it comes to someone touching them.

This is because they feel things too much and human touch can be very tingling for these affected children who have this autism spectrum disorder.

This behaviour can only make them less likely to engage with other people since they are afraid of interacting with them due to this physical distance even if there are safe situations for touch.


These affected children who have this autism spectrum disorder are observant when they are in an entirely different environment.

For instance, these affected children would notice that they have moved from a carpeted floor to a wooden one. 

These changes can make these affected who have this autism spectrum disorder feel discomfort since they know they are in a new environment.

These affected children would not be comfortable about a new home or having a vacation in a different environment.

Other levels of autism in the DSM-V

There are other levels of autism aside from this kind of autism spectrum disorder that the article is discussing.

These kinds of levels are located in the manual of mental disorders to help clinicians determine what kind of support the affected person needs.

There are several kinds of support depending on how the affected person can deal with the social, academic, technical, and personal aspects of life.

These kinds of levels are not the accurate ones but these levels will become clear if you will get your affected child or your affected self to diagnosis.

These kinds of levels are there to let professionals know what kinds of treatments will be good for you.

There are several treatments but you should know when you can get your child diagnosed with this kind of autism spectrum disorder if he or she is showing signs of it.

Low-functioning autism (A complete guide)

When should I diagnose my child with low-functioning autism?

You should let your child get diagnosed with this kind of psychological disorder when you notice 2 or more symptoms of this autism spectrum disorder.

You should also observe if your child is severely affected by this kind of autism spectrum disorder in his or her life.

Diagnosis can help your child with this kind of autism spectrum disorder the treatment he or she needs.

The symptoms that are predominant and distressing to the affected child will be treated first before trying to improve other mild symptoms.

This kind of treatment is done to get those distressing behaviours for the sake of the affected child with this kind of autism spectrum disorder and others who care about the child.

The following are symptoms that the diagnostician will be taking note of during diagnosis:

  • First is your affected child’s ability to communicate even with this kind of autism spectrum disorder. Your child’s doctor will assess his or her verbal skills and nonverbal communication during the diagnosis.
  • Next, the medical team will observe your child’s behaviour during the diagnosis. This kind of team will watch for stimming and self-injurious behaviours in the affected child. This kind of team will pay attention to how restrictive and repetitive the behaviours are in the affected child.
  • Finally, this kind of team will consider the everyday impact of behaviours and communication complications.
Low-functioning autism (A complete guide)

Additional information: People who don’t have disorders such as Autism or ADHD are called as Neurotypical. To identify them, neurotypical tests are done.

Conclusion

In this brief blog, we have talked about low-functioning autism, the symptoms of low-functioning autism, how to treat low-functioning autism, and more information about low-functioning autism.

If you have any questions about low-functioning autism, please let us know and the team will gladly answer your queries.

FAQs: low functioning autism

What is the difference between low functioning and high functioning autism?

The difference between low-functioning and high-functioning autism is behavioural distinctions.

Low-functioning autism triggers behaviours that restrict the ability to conduct everyday life.

Children with high-functioning autism have similar abilities to his or her neurotypical peers in the early years. 

What does low functioning mean?

Low-functioning means the less affected characteristics related to autism.

In this case, affected people who are considered as having chronic cognitive dysfunction are people who have greater complication with social skills and academic performance. 

What is the lowest level of autism?

The lowest level of autism is Level 1. People in this kind of level have social complications that obligate some support.

These affected people can find it hard to start conversations with others and may respond inappropriately or lose interest quickly. 

What does level 2 autism look like?

Level 2 autism looks like people who may need substantial support.

The symptoms that are considered part of this level involve a more chronic lack of both verbal and nonverbal communication skills.

This kind of level typically makes everyday activities hard.

Can a child outgrow high functioning autism?

Yes, a child can outgrow high-functioning autism. This kind of conclusion was reached when most children have been found in a study to have outgrown this kind of autism spectrum disorder.

There is also a new study where researchers have found that the vast majority of those children still have complications that obligate therapeutic and educational support. 

Citations

Autism Parenting Magazine. Low Functioning Autism – What Sets it Apart.

Verywellhealth. What’s the Difference Between High and Low Functioning Autism?.

Low-functioning autism (A complete guide)

Juanita Agboola

Juanita Agboola is the editor in chief of HFNE and an expert in mental health online. She has been writing about online behavior, mental health and psychology issues since 2012. All Guides are reviewed by our editorial team which constitutes various clinical psychologists, PhD and PsyD colleagues.