Day #279 – Tucker’s Version of Autism

(Note:  Before reading – be sure to read Day #278 – What Is Autism?   This post is a continuation of those ideas.)

Confused yet?   I agree.

It all seems different, and the same.

The graphic below is from a presentation on the new DSM 5 diagnostic criteria for autism spectrum disorders prepared by Dr. Walter Kaufmann (MD at Boston Children’s Hospital). I appreciate this graphic of ASD.  Why?  It looks messy – which is exactly what autism diagnoses are – messy.  It’s a little of this, some of that, and a whole lot of the other.  Different people inhabit the different spheres to varying degrees – but they all fall in the spectrum.  This is why one person with autism is very different from another, yet quite similar  (re-read Day #160 – Alike and Different).  It’s like every person has their own version.


Unfortunately SPD has yet to be listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual used by psychiatrists and psychologists which means that it is difficult to get services for a child if they have SPD.  I would argue that SPD belongs here as well. Why?

Here is what I know.  SPD was Tucker’s original diagnosis.  It was the first thing we noticed.  We were lucky enough to be in a district that offered services to him.  As he matured we noticed that it wasn’t just his sensory inputs.  The sensory inputs were simply the easiest to notice.  It was easy to recognize melt-downs in Wal-Mart, tearing off socks, and spitting out food.  It was easy to recognize chewing on books and the need for body pressure.  I would describe it as an ‘in your face, look at me…there is something going on…pay ATTENTION!!!!”

After we began paying attention to the sensory difficulties we were able to understand that the sensory difficulties were simply a precursor to a host of other stuff.  An example?  He was having melt-downs because he couldn’t say what he needed to say.  When looking at the lists of characteristics yesterday here is what I was able to pull out for Tucker’s version of autism and a sampling of the corresponding days that I have written about that characteristic.

Within Classic Autism:

  • Impairment in the use of multiple nonverbal behaviors – eye contact, gestures, postures – anything to help regular social interaction (Day #17, Day #30, Day #254)
  • Failure to develop peer relationships (Day #42, Day #276)
  • Lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment with others (will engage upon direct instruction) (Day #43)
  • Delay in the development of spoken language  (Day #43)
  • Impairment in the ability to initiate or sustain a conversation with others  (Day #43)
  • Repetitive use of language  (Day #31, Day #43)
  • Preoccupation with an interest (Day #13, Day #92)
  • Inflexible adherence to specific, nonfunctional routines or rituals (Day #24, Day #32)
  • Repetitive motor mannerisms (e.g., hand flapping or rocking) (Day #40)
  • Persistent preoccupation with parts of object (Day #5)
  • Delay in social interaction and communication (Day #30, Day #42, Day #191, Day #276)
  • Delay (or absence of) imaginative play (Day #79)

Within PDD-NOS:

Within Aspberger’s:

So, yes – it’s quite complicated, but not.  Why?  I don’t now, nor ever have, considered an autism diagnosis to be a life sentence of any kind.  I abhor the idea that Tucker’s  diagnosis is a problem to be solved.

I simply consider the diagnosis a different way of being and experiencing this human existence – beautiful nonetheless.

4 thoughts on “Day #279 – Tucker’s Version of Autism

  1. Pingback: Day #327 – Indexing | 366 Days of Autism

  2. Pingback: Day #361 – Severity | 366 Days of Autism

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