What Is Autism Spectrum Disorder?
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is characterized by:
- Persistent deficits in social communication and social interaction across multiple contexts;
- Restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities;
- Symptoms must be present in the early developmental period (typically recognized in the first two years of life); and,
- Symptoms cause clinically significant impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of current functioning.
The term “spectrum” refers to the wide range of symptoms, skills, and levels of impairment or disability that children with ASD can have. Some children are mildly impaired by their symptoms, while others are severely disabled. The latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) no longer includes Asperger’s syndrome; the characteristics of Asperger’s syndrome are included within the broader category of ASD.
Early Signs & Symptoms
Symptoms of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) vary from one child to the next, but in general, they fall into two areas:
- Social impairment, including difficulties with social communication
- Repetitive and stereotyped behaviors.
Children with ASD do not follow typical patterns when developing social and communication skills. Parents are usually the first to notice unusual behaviors in their child. Often, certain behaviors become more noticeable when comparing children of the same age.
In some cases, babies with ASD may seem different very early in their development. Even before their first birthday, some babies become overly focused on certain objects, rarely make eye contact, and fail to engage in typical back-and-forth play and babbling with their parents. Other children may develop normally until the second or even third year of life, but then start to lose interest in others and become silent, withdrawn, or indifferent to social signals. Loss or reversal of normal development is called regression and occurs in some children with ASD.
A survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of health and school records of 8-year-olds in 11 communities throughout the country found that in 2010, the rate of ASD was higher than in past U.S. studies, around 1 in 68 children. Boys face about four to five times higher risk than girls.
After your child is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), you may feel unprepared or unable to provide your child with the necessary care and education. Know that there are many treatment options, social services and programs, and other resources that can help.
Some tips that can help you and your child are:
- Keep a record of conversations, meetings with health care providers and teachers, and other sources of information. This will help you remember the different treatment options and decide which would help your child most.
- Keep a record of the doctors’ reports and your child’s evaluation. This information may help your child qualify for special programs.
- Contact your local health department or autism advocacy groups to learn about the special programs available in your state and local community.
- Talk with your child’s pediatrician, school system, or an autism support group to find an autism expert in your area who can help you develop an intervention plan and find other local resources.
(I am not a doctor, I am not a therapist, I only know from experience what our family has dealt with and gone through over the years. I did not write this I gathered it from the National Institute of Health , You can go here and find much more information on Autism Spectrum Disorder or you can search many many other places to get the information you need)
NO one person with Autism is alike, Autism effects people differently and there are many levels of Autism.