What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Apr 25, 2016 Comments Off by

According to the most recent estimates by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) affects approximately 1 in 68 children. ASD is 5 times more common in boys (1 in 42) than in girls (1 in 189). Autism crosses all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic boundaries, and about half of the children diagnosed with ASD have average to above average intellectual ability.ASD includes autistic disorder, pervasive developmental disorder – not otherwise specified and Asperger Syndrome. In 2013 all autism disorders were put under the umbrella of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Diagnosing ASD can be difficult, since there is no medical test, like a blood test, to diagnose the disorders. Doctors look at the child’s behavior and development to make a diagnosis. ASD can sometimes be detected at 18 months or younger. By age 2, a diagnosis by an experienced professional can be considered very reliable. However, many children do not receive a final diagnosis until they are much older. This delay means that children with an ASD and their families might not get the help they need.

In many cases, parents are the first to detect behaviors that may be signs of autism. According to Dr. Zwaigenbaum, who has spent his career devoted to Autism, “Parents are the experts when it comes to their kids and their observations are really valuable. In some respects, parents are picking up on differences at six and nine months of age that we have a much harder time seeing in the clinic.” Therefore, as parents, make sure to be an advocate for your child if you have concerns as early intervention can help with skill development and improve outcomes. However, the signs or symptoms of autism vary greatly, thus making it even harder to detect. According to Autism Speaks, some common areas to be aware of are:

• Social interaction challenges

• Communication difficulties

• The tendency to exhibit repetitive behaviors

For more detailed information go to https://www.autismspeaks.org/sites/default/files/docs/adult_symptoms.pdf

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