Autism has often been described as a “neurological disorder.” This description implies that it is centrally and primarily related to issues in the nervous system, particularly the brain.
This conception is based upon clear evidence of brain abnormalities in autism, and the logical idea that “aberrant” behaviors must be caused by problems in the brain.
Other neurological features common in autism include
- Seizures [Pubmed-ASD; Recent Feed-ASD]
- Sensory issues such as hypersensitivity, hyposensitivity or other problems
- Sleep disturbance [Pubmed-Autism; Recent-Feed; Selected Papers; General Info on Sleep]
- Proprioceptive issues (perception of where the body is in space)
- Motor coordination issues
- Stereotypies (repetitive stereotyped movements and behaviors such as hand flapping, rocking, flicking)
- Self-injurious behavior
- Issues with paying attention (ranging from great distractibility to hyperfocus compared to neurotypicals)
- Speech and language challenges (articulation disorders-Pubmed;
- Apraxia or dyspraxia (disconnect between intending to do something and the motor implementation of carrying out the intention)
- Catatonia (great difficulty in initiating movement)
The ways that brain differences might “cause” autism are discussed in this website in the Brain section under “WHAT CAUSES AUTISM.
Here there are several question to raise.
- Are there any ways that the above list of diverse neurological features hang together?
- What proof is there that the brain is definitively the starting point in the chain of events or cascade leading to the above neurological symptoms and to the “autism?”
- Have we determined that autism is a “neurological disorder” by excluding other possible definition (or other primary start points in the cascade of events) or by assuming that this one must be true?