Autism is a bio-neurological developmental disability that generally appears before the age of 3.
Autism impacts the normal development of the brain in the areas of social interaction, communication skills, and behavior.
Individuals with autism typically have difficulties in verbal and non-verbal communication, social interactions, and leisure or play activities.
- AUTISTIC DISORDER (also called “classic” autism)
This is what most people think of when hearing the word “autism.” People with autistic disorder usually have significant language delays, social and communication challenges, and unusual behaviors and interests. People with Autistic Disorder may also have intellectual disability.
- ASPERGER’S DISORDER
People with Asperger’s Disorder usually have some milder symptoms of autistic disorder. They might have social challenges and unusual behaviors and interests. However, they typically do not have problems with language or intellectual disability.
- Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS; also called “atypical autism”)
People who meet some of the criteria for autistic disorder or Asperger syndrome, but not all, may be diagnosed with PDD-NOS. People with PDD-NOS usually have fewer and milder symptoms than those with autistic disorder. The symptoms might cause only social and communication challenges.
Signs and Symptoms
Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) begin before the age of 3 and last throughout a person’s life, although symptoms may improve over time. Some children with an ASD show hints of future problems within the first few months of life. In others, symptoms might not show up until 24 months or later. Some children with an ASD seem to develop normally until around 18 to 24 months of age and then they stop gaining new skills, or they lose the skills they once had.
A person with an ASD might:
- Not respond when they hear their name by 12 months
- Not point at objects to show interest (point at an car driving by) by 14 months
- Not play “pretend” games (pretend to “build a castle” with blocks) by 18 months
- Avoid eye contact and want to be alone
- Have trouble understanding other people’s feelings or talking about their own feelings
- Have delayed speech and language skills
- Repeat words or phrases over and over (echolalia)
- Give unrelated answers to questions
- Get upset by minor changes
- Have obsessive interests
- Flap their hands, rock their body, or spin in circles
- Have unusual reactions to the way things sound, smell, taste, look, or feel
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approximately 1 in 88 children in the US have an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
ASDs are reported to occur in all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups, yet are on average 4 to 5 times more likely to occur in boys than in girls.
Early Intervention is key to treating children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. For more information on treatment call (228)396-4434.