Level 1 autism spectrum disorder
The least severe form of autism is level 1, generally considered “mild autism.” Children with level 1 autism may struggle in social situations and raise concerns about restricting or repetitive behaviors, yet require limited assistance to perform their daily activities.
Children with level 1 autism may find it difficult to engage in conversations. They also may form social bonds, but establishing and retaining friends may not come easily to them.
Those diagnosed at this level may prefer established routines and find changes or unexpected events unsettling. On the other hand, they might prefer to do things in their own way.
Level 1 autism: traits and behaviors
Without specific intervention, people with level 1 autism may experience difficulties participating in social communication and may experience the following:
- Inflexibility with ideas and actions
- Difficulty switching between activities
- Executive functioning limitations
- Difficulty building and maintaining social relationships
- Hypersensitivity to light, sound, or other stimuli
- Nonverbal conversation challenges during conversations, such as appropriate distance, volume, or tone
- Uncoordinated or clumsy movements
Symptoms of autism vary from child to child. However, several patterns appear in children who fall within a level 1 autism diagnosis. Some of these attributes can be perceived as assets, such as possessing exceptional focus and perseverance, while others are usually obstacles to overcome.
Typical symptoms of level 1 autism
Those defined as having mild autism may exhibit:
- Failure to make eye contact or read social cues properly
While everyone is different, many children have difficulty reading social cues and keeping eye contact during conversations.
- Challenges in establishing or maintaining conversations
Initiating conversation might be difficult for children who struggle to understand social signs, especially when it comes to understanding the other person's point of view. They may see things in black and white, right and wrong, good and bad, which causes issues when viewpoints possess conflicting, paradoxical, or ambiguous components, as many do.
- Enhanced dependence on routines
Many children enjoy routines to feel secure and comfortable in expectation, but individuals with level 1 autism may find themselves facing issues at home or school whenever there are variations within the schedule.
- Apprehensive behavior
Children with autism sometimes struggle to socialize, which can cause severe anxiety and even panic attacks. This can lead to apprehension in social situations, even when no one has attempted to engage them in conversation.
- Difficulty processing images and reactions
Children with mild autism can have trouble predicting someone's reaction to what they say or do and can struggle with imaginative situations as it can be difficult to develop an image to correspond with ideas, especially those that are abstract in nature.
- Trouble shifting focus
Cognitively and emotionally, children with autism frequently struggle to move their focus away from specific ideas. For example, they may compulsively obsess over a specific song or certain memory.
Autism affects each child differently. On the spectrum, the severity of disability and the combination of symptoms can vary substantially, making it important for every child and adolescent with autism to receive a proper diagnosis and care plan.
Songbird Therapy is a technology-enabled provider setting a higher standard for children’s autism care. With a deeply passionate team and innovative technology, we’re building a world where every child can access world-class care at home, uniquely tailored to them.