Conditions That May Look Like Autism, but Aren’t

As you can see from the above conditions, some of the symptoms do overlap with autism. However, a diagnosis of any of these conditions or disorders needs to follow the DSM-V criteria and accurate diagnosis needs to be observed.

The condition is a result of mutation on the X-chromosome on a gene called MECP2. The MECP2 gene has over 900 mutations occurring in eight different “hotspots”.

Selective mutism as well can be mistaken for autism as a teacher may erroneously think the child is autistic. Also, typically developing children can certainly have anxiety at times. Look for a family history of anxiety.

49 Photos That Show What Autism Looks Like (2022)

Disorders Similar to Autism

49 Photos That Show What Autism Looks Like | HuffPost UK Parenting

ASD/autism results from how the brain develops early on in life. Atypical brain development can affect behavior, learning, social skills, communication, and more. Autism appears more often in boys than girls, and it is estimated that around 1 in 68 children in the US is on the spectrum. While autism is most often diagnosed in early childhood, teenagers and adults can also be diagnosed. [i]

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Autism-Like Symptoms, But Not Autism

Autism has several co-occurring disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), epilepsy, depression, gastrointestinal disorders (GI), anxiety and depression, and more.

Psychological assessments study cognitive or developmental function, motor control, and executive functioning. Additionally, psychological assessments that determine cognitive function help to gauge the social and communication abilities and are key to aid in the differentiation of cognitive impairments in autism versus other conditions.

Conditions That May Look Like Autism, but Aren’t

Many hospitals and laboratories perform blood tests to diagnose Fragile X syndrome. Several treatments are recommended for individuals with this disorder, including mild medications for behavior problems and therapies for speech and language and sensory improvement. Families are advised to seek genetic counseling to understand the inheritable nature of Fragile X Syndrome and to discuss with family members the likelihood other individuals or future offspring may have this disorder.

Angelman syndrome is a genetic disorder that affects the nervous system. Initial symptoms of this disorder typically manifest in the first year of life and become more apparent through early childhood. It is estimated that Angelman syndrome occurs in roughly every one in 15,000 people. Similarly to Prader Willi Syndrome, this disorder derives from a missing portion of chromosome 15, but unlike Prader Willi, this deficit comes from the maternal side.

Gastrointestinal problems (GI) associated with autism can be difficult to track due to other conditions and difficulties such as sensory sensitivity. It is important that parents of autistic children conduct medical checks, especially when the child presents with difficult eating habits because GI disorders can be misconstrued for difficult behavior.

Autism Misdiagnosis: Is it really autism? Or is it something else

49 Photos That Show What Autism Looks Like | HuffPost UK Parenting

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has a diverse array of markers and traits. So much so that every individual on the autism spectrum experiences a variety of symptoms different to the next person and many ASD symptoms can be found in other disorders similar to autism.

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Which conditions resemble or can be mistaken for autism?

Other psychoactive drugs, such as clozaril/clozapine , have similar effects on behavior but do not produce tardive dyskinesia as neuroleptics do.

Some of the behaviors which are common to both Prader-Willi Syndrome and autism are:

11 Photos That Show What Autism Looks Like | HuffPost Life

Let’s take a closer look at two of the main comorbidities: epilepsy and GI disorders.

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Epilepsy

It can present itself with a wide range of disabilities ranging from mild to severe and is dependent on the location, type of mutation and severity. In terms of prevalence, Rett syndrome occurs in one of every 100,00 female births and is rare in boys due to the mutation occurring on the X-chromosome.

Getting the correct diagnosis for autism is challenging in itself; treating autism can be even more complex.

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