You have concerns and we have answers.
We can help parents with a child on the spectrum understand how to support them.
Autism Spectrum Disorder
Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are names for a complex group of brain development disorders.
Individuals with ASD will often tend to experience difficulties with both verbal and nonverbal communication, social interactions, maladaptive behaviors and my engage in some kind of stereotypy.
Autism Diagnoses are on the rise. 1 in 54 people are often diagnosed with Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Common Signs of Autism
No two cases of Autism are the same. However there are many common symptoms that are seen across the board pertaining to Autism.
Avoiding eye contact
Echolalia (repetition of words or phrases)
Fixating on a particular toy or object.
Delay in motor skills
Not responding to name
Trouble with transitions
Delayed or limited imaginary play
Hypersensitivity to lights, sounds, smells ect.
Extremely picky eating habits
Lack of joint attention
Unusual sleeping habits
Limited use of gestures (ex. pointing or waving)
Repetitive behavior such as rocking, spinning ect.
At What Age Does Autism Typically Appear?
Since children have more remarkable development milestones when they are younger it is typical that characteristics of Autism can become present as early as 12-18 months of age. It is possible for the characteristics to appear even earlier however.
The early signs of Autism usually involve differences in the development of certain behavioral, emotional and cognitive milestones.
How Common Is Autism?
Autism Spectrum Disorder was formalized only as recently as 2013 with the publication of the DSM-5 diagnostic manual. It affects about 1% of the worlds population.(Quoted from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention).
In total that is over approximately 75 million people. Americans make up at least three million of that total if not more.
There are currently 10 times as many children who are considered to have Autism Spectrum Disorder compared to the amount from 40 years ago. This increase seems to be mostly tied to publicity, decreased stigma and awareness.
How Does Autism Develop?
It is widely agreed upon within the science and medical community that autism comes from a difference in brain function and structure.
A common misconception regarding Autism is that it can develop during childhood or even later in life. Autism isn't something that develops at a certain age, rather it is something you are born with. That being said, autism can possibly go unnoticed for a long time, with some cases not being diagnosed until the individual is in their late teens or early adulthood.
Although there is no concrete way to determine if a child will have Autism prior to being born, doctors and scientists believe there are many factors that increase the likelihood of autism. These factors include:
If there is family history of autism then the likelihood of autism will go up. If parents have one child that has been diagnosed with autism, it can increase the chances of them having a second child with autism should they become pregnant again.
Ages of the Parents
There are multiple studies that have been done that point to an increased risk of autism in children that were conceived by older parents. A study done in 2017 shows that parents in their 40's have a 1.58 percent chance of their child having autism compared to parents in their 20's having a 1.5 percent chance of their child having autism. This shows the risk associated with later life conception of children is not much.
Sex of the Child
According to the CDC, boys are four times more likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls are. While it does increase the overall risk, this doesn't mean that having a boy automatically assures an autism diagnosis.
Children that are born very early on in the pregnancy, specifically before 26 weeks, have a greater risk of having autism due to developmental disruptions.
Additional Mental and Physical Health Concerns
The likelihood of a child having autism increases when they have other health concerns or disorders.
How We Help Children With Autism Learn
Autistic children tend to think and interact differently than their peers. Due to this they may need different support and tools to achieve their goals than other children. This may include going at a pace that they are comfortable learning at as well as figuring out their preferred learning methods.
Our autism spectrum therapists have extensive experience working with children on the autism spectrum and are highly skilled in ABA therapy techniques.
Whether your child is just beginning their journey with autism or has been living with the condition for years, we can provide individualized support that meets their unique needs.
We work closely with families to create effective treatment plans and help them navigate all aspects of autism care, including working with schools and other providers.