italian Italiano


Here is a small vademecum of the most used terms when we talk about Asperger's Syndrome and Autistic Spectrum.

alexithymia: difficulty in describing and identifying emotions, decoding can be problematic for both one's own and those of others.
It does not mean not to feel emotions therefore, but not to have words to tell them.
It has a higher incidence in the autistic population than in the general population.

aspie: colloquial and friendly term for Asperger people. Also used as an adjective to describe a situation, an object, a behavior.

Aspie-FRIENDLY: made to measure for Asperger's person.

AUTIE: colloquial and friendly term to refer to people in the Autistic Spectrum.

AUTISM: it is a pervasive developmental disorder. It is a neurodiversity (see definition) comprising characteristics that influence the way an individual relates to the surrounding environment and with other people.

BURNOUT: it presents itself with strong exhaustion, depersonalization and derealization. People whose work is strongly involved in relationships are mainly affected.
Autistic Burnout, on the other hand, can be a simple consequence of surviving and extricating oneself from a purely neurotypical world. It comes up after an excessive overload, it manifests itself with total shutdown. It lasts for medium-long periods.

COMORBIDITÀ/ COMORBILITÀ: in psychiatry, a diagnosis added to the previous one. In autism, intellectual disability, depression, anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, mood disorders can be comorbid. DSA, etc. Almost always in an autistic person there is one or more comorbidities.

dyspraxia: it is a disorder of motor coordination. It involves a poor perception of the surrounding space and of one's body. It can also occur on a mental level, causing learning problems and organization.

DSA (Specific Learning Disorder): the "specific learning difficulties”, Concern issues related to basic skills such as reading, writing and calculation. They include: dyslexia (reading), dysgrafia (graphic trait), dyscalculia (calculation), dysorthography (knowing the orthographic rules and not being able to apply them), reading disorders and text comprehension.

DSM: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

echolalia: involuntary repetition of words or phrases pronounced by other people. It occurs mainly in autistic people, but may also be diagnosed with schizophrenia, Tourette syndrome and ADHD.

EXECUTIVE FUNCTIONS: set of mental skills and processes that help to self-regulate and achieve goals.

gaslighting: when others deny or manipulate your feelings.

SPECIAL / ABSORBENT INTEREST: the intense passion of an autistic person.

hypersensitivityÀ: the brain is unable to process too many messages from different sensory channels. It creates mental chaos and you cannot make sense of them.

IPOSENSIBILITÀ: few sensory messages reach the brain, the channels are not very open.

Meltdown: the meltdown is an intense response to situations of overload. It occurs when a person is completely overwhelmed by the condition of the moment and therefore temporarily loses control.
Loss of control can be expressed verbally (shouting, screaming, crying), physically (towards things, mainly, or oneself) or both. The meltdown is caused by sensory, social or environmental stress.

SELECTIVE MUTISM: it is an anxiety disorder that mainly affects the little ones. Although the child has a developed language, he does not communicate under certain circumstances.
It could, for example, speak correctly and fluidly with some family members or with a few selected adults, but not at school or in contexts far from the "home".
In the most serious cases the communication could take place with only one adult (usually a parent).

NEURODIVERSO (abbr. ND): term generally used to refer to the entire population of the autistic spectrum, but also to dyslexic, ADHD and bipolar people.

NEUROTYPE (abbr. NT): is the term conventionally used to describe the whole non-autistic population. The term was introduced by Autism Network International, founded by Jim Sinclair and Donna Williams in the 1992.

prosopagnosia: difficulty or inability to recognize people's faces. It occurs in different forms, from mild to severe (in this case it is not possible to recognize even oneself). Other people are often remembered for details (glasses, beards, hairstyles) and not for the entirety of the face or because they are associated with certain contexts.

Shutdown: it is a kind of extinction, of a brain blackout. It occurs in moments of sensory or emotional overload or due to excessive stress and is somehow used to recharge, not to go crazy.

ASPERGER SYNDROME: it is a pervasive developmental disorder and falls under Autistic Spectrum. It does not involve impairment of intelligence and autonomy.
Asperger people IQ is average or above average.
Currently the SA is no longer indicated as a specific diagnosis in the DSM 5 (although the terms are still widely used by many specialists and at a cultural level) as it merged into the global definition of Autistic Spectrum (see heading).

SENSORY OVERLOAD: excess of visual, olfactory, auditory stimuli, etc. It can lead to meltdown or shutdown.

SPD (Sensory Integration Disorder): it occurs when the brain has difficulty in performing one of its main tasks correctly: to elaborate, organize and respond to the sensory input received.
It is present in most autistic people.

AUTISTIC SPECTRUM: means the whole radius of the autistic population. We speak of Spectrum in that within it are included different ways of being Autistic. Characteristics and intensity of the traits can in fact change, even considerably, from one person to another.
It is subdivided into 1-mild, 2-medium and 3-grave levels depending on the type of support required (DSM-5).

Stimming: self-stimulating, repetitive and / or comforting behavior in case of anxiety and / or stress. They can be stimming, rocking, clapping or manipulating objects.

TANTRUM: the tantrum is a "manipulative" (but not always intentional) behavior aimed at modifying the behavior of others and obtaining (or avoiding) a consequence. The more attention receives the behavior the more it does not cease, it is reduced by ignoring it.
It should not be confused with the meltdown, although it can be implemented by autistic children and can lead to it because of the high emotional level it entails.