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characteristics of asd

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social emotional reciprocity
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individuals with autism struggle with using communication for social interaction and therefore may experience a lack of social emotional reciprocity. this means that they fail to maintain the flow of everyday communication by reciprocating the back and forth of a conversation. this is because individuals with asd generally do not rely on social interaction to share their interests and emotions. therefore they rarely initiate social interaction and may fail to other peoples attempts to do so. they cannot maintain the normal flow of conversation and therefore communication is usually one sided. in addition they may approach interaction inappropriately for example by licking or sniffing somebody.
individuals with asd also struggle with nonverbal communication. though facial expressions and body posture are usually critical for social interaction they fail to adhere to this, for example struggling to make eye contact or respond to social cues such as social smiling. their facial expressions are generally limited or exaggerated and gestures such as pointing or nodding are used inappropriately. furthermore individuals may struggle with body posture for example by facing away from the person that they are talking to, avoiding eye contact. as nonverbal communication does not accurately show their emotions there may be a contrast between the emotions apparently being displayed and their tone of voice.
individuals with autism also experience repetitive behaviours, interests or activities. repetitive behaviour patterns can include individuals using language unusually for example by repeating what they have just heard. this is known as echolalia and can include long phrases as well as individual words. in this characteristic, language can also be extremely formal and pedantic - this is known as 'little professor syndrome'. movements can also be highly repetitive for example individuals can make the same hand gestures repeatedly such as flicking or whole body movements such as rocking or spinning. in addition objects such as toys can be used in the same way over and over again such as lining up their toys in a specific order.
asd individuals can stick inflexibly to routines and rituals, and may carry out a behaviour such as playing with their toys in a step by step sequence with no variation. they may also engage in verbal rituals and demand that others say things in a specific way also. they may overreact to changes in routine, for example becoming distressed if the dinner table layout is changed. individuals may also struggle to detect sarcasm and distinctly prefer literal forms of speech.