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  • Writer's pictureAshley Carol

Autism Spectrum Disorder

Updated: Nov 16, 2023

Autism Spectrum Disorder(ASD) is a neurodevelopmental condition frequently identified in children. Autism was once the label used to describe ASD, and many people still do. However, the range of ASD encompasses a number of conditions. Your child's interactions and communication styles are altered by ASD. Autism cannot be cured, however, the symptoms may decrease with time and therapy.

What is autism?

A neurodevelopmental disorder, autism is now referred to as autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Developmental disabilities like ASD are brought on by anomalies in your child's brain. It's possible for persons with ASD to behave, engage, and learn differently from other people. They could struggle with verbal and nonverbal cues, as well as social relationships and communication in general.

Autism definition

Autism means your child may have:

  • difficulties engaging with others or difficulties interacting with others

  • difficulty using and comprehending nonverbal communication, such as gestures, facial expressions, and eye contact

  • linguistic development that is absent or delayed

  • difficulty understanding and forming relationships

  • repetitive motions in the body or voice, such as flapping arms or rocking body, and repetitive speech or play

  • insisting on the same routine or environment

  • uncommon or intense interests

  • sensory phobias, such as an aversion to loud noises, or sensory-seeking behaviors

The intensity of your child's symptoms will determine how effectively they can manage their daily activities. With the broad variation in ASD severity and functional impairment, some people's symptoms aren't always obvious.

Autism vs. autism spectrum disorder (ASD) — what’s the difference?

The term autism spectrum disorder was adopted by the American Psychiatric Association in 2013. The various forms of autism are now referred to collectively as ASD. The autism spectrum encompasses disorders that doctors once thought should be treated separately, such as:

  • Autism.

  • Asperger syndrome.

  • Pervasive developmental disorder — not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS).

Asperger Syndrome vs. Autism-Is there a difference?

Asperger syndrome is no longer officially recognized as a separate condition by healthcare professionals. Before, Asperger syndrome and autism were seen as separate diagnoses. Formerly associated with an Asperger's diagnosis, the symptoms are now classified as being on the autism spectrum. Asperger's is regarded by providers as a moderate version of autism. Some still refer to their condition as having Asperger's syndrome.

What is high-functioning autism?

High-functioning autism isn’t an official medical diagnosis. Nonetheless, some individuals use the phrase to refer to a moderate type of autism that only needs minimal help. On the milder end of the autism spectrum, people can communicate verbally, read and write, and perform everyday tasks. Previously, healthcare professionals referred to the condition as Asperger syndrome.

Is ADHD on the autism spectrum?

There are many parallels between autism spectrum disease and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), however, ADHD is not a part of the autism spectrum. Autism and ADHD symptoms can coexist. Both disorders make it difficult for kids to pay attention, and both can have an impact on how well they interact with others. Sometimes these converging symptoms can result in inaccurate diagnoses.

In addition, there is a genetic link between ADHD and autism. Your child is more likely to get the other of these conditions if they have one of these.  The likelihood of a close family having ADHD is higher for a child with autism.

How common is autism?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that one in every 44 8-year-old children has an ASD. Autism is far more likely to occur in boys than it is in girls. It affects boys more frequently than girls, by a factor of more than four.

When do ASD symptoms begin to appear?

ASD is thought by researchers to be a condition of very early brain development. Between the ages of 1.5 and 3 years old is the average time frame when the behavioral features of autism first appear.

Is autism a disability?

Healthcare professionals do categorize autism as a disability. People with autism spectrum disorder are protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This implies that they might gain certain advantages. Companies are required to make workplace modifications that are reasonable. Students must be given accommodations by schools. You might also be qualified for Medicaid and Social Security benefits for people with disabilities, depending on the amount of assistance you require.

How is autism treated?

Behavioral interventions or therapies are used in the treatment of autism. They impart fresh knowledge on how to deal with the fundamental deficiencies in autism and lessen its symptoms. Every autistic child is different. In order to best address their unique needs, your child will get a tailored treatment plan. To ensure that your child continues to benefit from therapy throughout his or her life, it is ideal to start interventions as soon as possible.

Many individuals with ASD also suffer from other medical issues. They include digestive and eating problems, seizure disorders, and sleeping problems. A treatment plan may include medication, behavioral therapy, or both.

Your entire family and possibly a group of specialists are involved in the early rigorous behavioral therapy. Your child may receive a customized treatment plan as they grow and develop to meet their unique needs.

Children may gain from transition services during adolescence. They may foster independent-thinking abilities that are crucial for adulthood. At that stage, career opportunities and training for new skills are the main concerns.

An educational advocate can help:

If you suspect your child might have ASD contact us for a consultation so that all necessary educational accommodations and modifications are put into place.

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