Autism vs. Virtual Autism: Understanding the Differences


Introduction to Autism

Autism is also known as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). It is a complex neurodevelopmental condition that affects different individuals differently. It typically occurs in early childhood. Sometimes it persists throughout a person's lifetime. There are some key autism symptoms which indicate that consultation with an expert is needed. Autism is mainly defined by a range of difficulties related to social interaction, communication and repetitive behaviors. At times sensory sensitivities also get categorized as one of the signs of autism. The exact cause of autism is not fully understood. However, experts believe that autism is a result of a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

What is Virtual Autism?

Recently, a term known as "Virtual Autism" has come to notice. It has caused deep confusion and curiosity within the autism experts. Virtual Autism is not an official medical condition. Experts regard it as a concept that refers to the experiences of individuals who may display autism symptoms when interacting in virtual or online environments. It is important to say that Virtual Autism is totally different from traditional autism. One should treat these two differently despite some similar signs.

Symptoms of Autism

Those who are not familiar with autism may wonder about the signs of autism. How does it get detected?  

  1. Social Challenges: Individuals with autism usually struggle with social communication. They face problem in making eye contact, understanding social cues, and developing relationships.
  2. Communication Difficulties: Some people with autism face difficulty with both verbal and non-verbal communication. These difficulties include language barriers, limited vocabulary, or repetitive language patterns.
  3. Repetitive Behaviors: Repetitive body language, such as hand-flapping, rocking, or fixation on specific objects are common in people with autism. Some get fixate with certain topics.
  4. Sensory Sensitivities: Heightened sensitivities to sensory stimuli, such as lights, sounds, textures, or tastes, can be disturbing for individuals with autism.
  5. Rigid Routine and Interests: Rigid routines can be noticed in patients of autism as well. They fail to get out of their daily routine and stick to pattern with stubborn determination.

Causes of Autism

Even though autism symptoms have been detected, the exact cause of autism remains unclear to the experts. However, some believe that autism come out of a combination of genetics and environmental factors. Environmental factors, such as exposure to certain substances, infections, or complications during pregnancy, may lead to autism.

Difference Between Autism and Virtual Autism

As it has been said earlier, there are many differences between autism and virtual autism. Even though some signs of autism may be noticed in people suffering from virtual autism, these two conditions should be treated differently.  

  1. Nature of Interaction: Autism primarily refers to real-life social and communication challenges.  Virtual Autism relates to individuals who may appear to have autism-like traits in virtual world but these individuals may function differently in face-to-face interactions.
  2. Context-Dependent: Virtual Autism is context-dependent and may not occurs when individuals are not engaged in virtual activities. Traditional autism is a lifelong condition that affects individuals in various situations.

How to Treat Autism:

Treatment for autism involves a combination of therapies matching the individual's specific needs. These may include:

  1. Behavioral Therapies: Applied Behavior Analysis and other behavioral therapies help individuals learn and develop social and communication skills.
  2. Speech and Language Therapy: Speech therapists help individuals to improve communication and language abilities.
  3. Occupational Therapy: Occupational therapists work on sensory sensitivities and help individuals develop daily life skills.
  4. Medication: In some cases, medication gets prescribed to manage conditions like anxiety or hyperactivity.

How to Behave with People with Autism:

When interacting with individuals with autism, it's essential to be patient and affectionate. People often forget that these individuals are driven by their inner forces which they are unable to control. So, it is advised to treat these people with care.

  1. Be Patient: Give individuals time to process information and then respond.
  2. Respect Sensory Preferences: Be careful of sensory sensitivities and try to create a comfortable environment.
  3. Use Clear Communication: Simple and direct language always help. It is essential to avoid sarcasm at any cost.

When to Consult a Counselor:

If you suspect that you or someone you know may have autism be sure to consult with a healthcare professional or autism specialist. Early diagnosis can significantly improve autism condition. A counselor or therapist can also provide support and guidance for individuals with autism.