Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder. This disorder affects someone’s communication and social behavior. Autism has many challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication. Autism is usually developed around 18 months to 2 years old. It is possible to have a diagnosis later in life. While autism has no cure but with correct treatment it can help the symptoms.
Some signs of autism include social communication and behavioral problems.
1. Making inconsistent eye contact
2. Facial expressions and movements don’t match what is being said
3. Has trouble listening to others
4. Difficulty with back and forth conversation
5. Trouble understanding someone else’s point of view.
There are also signs of repetitive behaviors such as:
1. Repeats certain words or phrases
2. Repeats certain behaviors
3. May have long intense conversations on a certain topic.
4. Doesn’t like having routine changed
5. Sensitivity to lights, noise or certain clothing
Someone with autism may not experience all these symptoms. They may have irritability problems or problems sleeping. Even though autism is a neurological and developmental disorder. Those with autism often have many strengths such as:
1. Being a strong visual learner
2. Excels in math, science, music and art
3. Detailed learner
Someone with autism may also have other medical problems such as:
3. Gastrointestinal disorders
While autism runs about 1 in 59 children and is more common in boys than girls. What causes autism? Scientists have not been able to figure out what exactly causes someone to develop autism. They believe it may be environmentally developed. You could be at a greater risk if a sibling has ASD, if your parents are older when they have a child, or your born with very low birth weight.
Evaluating and diagnosing autism can be a very lengthy process and includes many specialists. The process includes:
1. Parent interview: learning about your child behavioral and developmental concerns. Will also discuss family medical history.
2. Medical exam: there will be a full screening to help diagnose developmental issues. There will be a medical exam with a primary physician, lab and genetic testing. Will also need a neurological exam.
3. Hearing exam: a sign of autism is language delays which can also be due to auditory problems. Testing for hearing impairments is very important.
4. Observation: a developmental specialist will observe a child in different settings.
5. Lead screening: lead poisoning can cause autistic like symptoms.
Depending on the outcome of those tests there may be more tests needed:
1. Speech and language evaluations
2. Cognitive testing
3. Sensory-motor evaluation
4. Adaptive functioning assessment
This is a process for someone who may have ASD and there are many specialists to help with this long process.
1. Child psychologist
2. Child psychiatrist
3. Speech pathologist
4. Developmental pediatrician
5. Pediatric neurologist
7. Physical therapist
8. Special education teacher
Its important for someone with autism to receive the right treatment for themselves. Everyone is different so treatment will vary by person. Treatment may include medications and therapies such as psychological, behavioral and educational therapy.
Brayden was screened for autism when we first began his treatment for his behavioral issues. He doesn’t have autism but has a lot of similar symptoms.
It is very important and necessary to remember autism is a diagnosis that doesn’t make a person any less of a person. Its like anxiety but I am not anxiety. Someone may be different that doesn’t mean they deserve to be treated different or treated different. We all have our obstacles some just have more challenges in life than others.