What is Autism?
Autism Spectrum Disorder
Autism Spectrum Disorder, ASD, refers to a group of related developmental disabilities that vary in severity. This group includes pervasive developmental disorder – not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), Asperger's Syndrome, and Autism. No two children with ASD are alike, but they do share common "characteristic signs" of Autism. ASD impacts a child's ability to communicate and respond appropriately in social situations. Due to the affect on communication the child may engage in maladaptive behavior to express his or her wants and needs. An average of 1 in 110 children born today will be diagnosed with ASD.
How is Autism Treated?
Every child with ASD is different and treatment should be tailored to each child's individual needs. There are many therapy options to choose from. It is best to explore the options available in your area and choose from the therapy options that have empirically valid evidence to prove their effectiveness. Options available include, but are not limited to: Applied Behavior Analysis/Verbal Behavior, Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy, and medical treatment for diet or other related issues.
What do I do if my child has any of these symptoms?
If your child has any of these signs or symptoms, speak with your pediatrician about your concerns to rule out any other medical condition that your child might have that would lead to similar symptoms. If your pediatrician feels your child may be affected with ASD, he or she will likely refer you to a Developmental Pediatrician who would be skilled in diagnosis. There is no medical test to diagnose ASD. A team of skilled professionals will observe and evaluate your child's communication, social, and behavior skills. Parent and caregiver information is vital in this process.
For more information and to access age-specific developmental checklists provided by the Center for Disease Control, please click here: CDC Developmental Checklists
- Failure to make eye contact
- Does not point or gesture to show interest by age 1
- Does not crawl by 1 year
- Does not respond to own name
- Does not respond when spoken to, but is aware of other sounds
- Child repeatedly plays with a toy in an unnatural way (spins tires on a car, twirls string, flaps object)
- Child engages in repetitive behavior such as spinning, rocking or flapping hands.
- Laughs, cries, or tantrums for no obvious reason
- Has little or no meaningful vocal speech
- Repeats words or phrases said to him in place of meaningful speech
- Trouble adapting to routine changes
- Child has a loss of skills (no longer says words in his or her vocabulary)
- Child has difficulty following simple commands (clap hands, sit down, come here)
- Does not search for objects that are hidden while he or she watches
For additional Autism Signs & Symptoms