Different levels of on the autism spectrum can be identified in autistic children depending on the criteria and severity of their autistic features. 3 levels within the autistic disorder have been widely recognized throughout the years in calculating the amount of help an individual requires to partake in daily activities. It’s based on the presence of both social communication difficulties AND restrictive & repetitive behaviors as the level of severity for each of these areas can vary greatly for different children with Autism.
What is known as the 3rd level of severity is when the child or individual requires “ very substantial” support throughout the day for the simpler daily tasks. Regarding the social communication criteria, this individual is known to be extremely limited verbally and non-verbally, doesn’t seek out interactions, and rarely respond when others interact with them.
3rd level individuals on the spectrum are immensely inflexible so much to the point that it impacts all other areas of their life. Oftentimes if the routine is changed or disrupted, extreme reactions occur. This is similar to the restrictive and/or repetitive behaviors that these individuals display. These behaviors can be so strong that it may interfere with tasks in any environment. And it can also be very distressing when moving from one activity to another. When helping your loved one with 3rd level severity of autism, it’s essential to keeping slow and steady and see how they react to each new element throughout the day.
Individuals who inhabit level 2 severity of autism are classified as requiring “substantial” support. 2nd level individuals may be able to say words and basic sentences but social impairments are still apparent. While they may initiate social interaction at times, it’s usually very limited. Responses to people interacting with them are typically reduced or abnormal, or limited to very narrow specific interests.
While individuals on the autism spectrum along level 2 are usually inflexible as far as changes go, at times, they may be able to cope with some change but will usually increase stress levels. The strong restrictive or repetitive behavior that’s common to people in the level 3, is a little more subtle to people in level 2. However, it’s typically obvious to the unfamiliar people watching them. While they’re more likely to transition from one activity and participate in daily activities, it’s typically distressing, and these behaviors are reduced.
Individuals with level 1 severity of autism simply require support. Their social communication causes noticeable impairments unless support’s in place. While they’re able to talk in sentences, interactions are affected. They may come across as awkward as they find it difficult initiating in social interactions This results in atypical or unsuccessful responses when others attempt to socially interact; there’s no backward-forwards flow of conversation.
Regarding repetitive and/or restricted behaviors, autistic individuals classified in level 1 typically won’t function in one or more environment due to the inflexibility of behaviors. Also, while they’re more likely transition between tasks easier than the other levels, it’s still difficult to manage. Notably, there’s also lack in a level 1’s ability to plan and organize themselves, oftentimes requiring support for such help.
Autism spectrum disorder affects different people in different ways. Every person with autism is different, and there can be variations in the level of each functional impairment in the same person. In addition, among individuals diagnosed with the same level of autism, some dysfunctions might be more prominent in some people than in others. The functioning level assigned to a child or adult serves as a guide for what support he or she needs to achieve the best functional outcome by helping you in assessing the strengths and weaknesses.