Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) generally describes a cluster of complex brain development disorders. These disorders are characterized by challenges in social interaction, communication, and repetitive behaviors. The autism spectrum includes autistic disorder, Rett syndrome, and Asperger syndrome.
Although ASD can be regarded as an intellectual disability, many of those with autism spectrum have extraordinary abilities in arts and academic skills. Approximately 40 percent are intellectually above average and take pride in their unique ability to see the world in a different lens.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 1 in 88 American children are affected. Autism affects people in a wide variety of ways and there continues to be no known cause, and no one type of treatment.
The following are potential signs of autism
Trouble with social communication and social interaction: An example of this is your child may have difficulty having a back and forth conversation because he or she may not share interests or emotions which will present itself in total lack of initiation of social interaction.
Issues with nonverbal communicative cues: This means your child may have issue with verbal or nonverbal communication. Abnormalities in eye contact and body-language, lack of facial expressions or gestures would indicate problems with nonverbal communication.
Difficulties developing and maintaining relationships appropriate to developmental level: This would express itself as difficulties adjusting social behavior to fit varying social environments, trouble sharing imaginative play with other children, and in making friends because of an absences of the interest in people
Repetitive patterns of behavior, interests and/or activities: This can include: repeating speech or motor movements, excessive focus on routines or ritualized patters of verbal and nonverbal behavior and/or extreme resistance to change, fixation on objects and/or an abnormally intense focus on interests, or heightened responses to sensory objects such as indifference to hot or cold, adverse response to specific sounds or textures, and excessive smelling or touching.
There are many types of psychologists who treat autism. For a child with autism spectrum disorder, a developmental psychologist or a pediatric psychologist is usually trained in making the diagnosis of autism and deciphering it from other causes of language or related problems. Search our database of psychologists who can help assess and form a treatment plan.
Consider the following resources to learn more: