Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a set of symptoms with varying severity that creates challenges in a child’s ability to make and keep friends. It often presents with intellectual differences and can make learning self-care tasks incredibly challenging. These children often need support throughout their lives. Early intervention is crucial for the best outcomes of success.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder that is classified by difficulty with social interactions and communication and by restricted or repetitive patterns of thought and behavior (stereotypical behavior).
You may notice that your child has difficulty or is not interested in making friends with children their age. They may avoid making eye-contact with people. Your child could respond to things impulsively and/or be persistent. They may not like certain textures, tastes, or colors. Children with autism often do the same thing over and over again.
Your child might have difficulty with speech. Either they have a speech delay, don’t talk, or just repeat everything you say. They could be clumsy, walk on their toes, spin in circles, or flap their arms and hands around.
A child with ASD can also have difficulty learning how to take care of themselves. This may include challenging potty-training, or being seemingly unaware of their own safety (ex. Running out into the street).
Early recognition, as well as behavioral, educational, and family therapies may reduce symptoms and support development and learning.
A psychological assessment by a psychologist is required for a diagnosis of ASD. Assessment provides you with a comprehensive understanding of the areas that are strengths and the areas that are most challenging for your child. An assessment should include behavioral observations in multiple settings, parent and teacher report measures, and a selection of tests to measure adaptive functioning (how well they can take care of themselves), social functioning, and intellectual functioning.
Children with autism are eligible to receive Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapy. The goal of ABA therapy is to increase behaviors that are helpful and decrease behaviors that are harmful and affect learning. Services usually take place in the home, but can occur in the community. The number of hours of services per week range from 4-40 hours depending on the needs of the child.
While your child’s progress in ABA therapy will be continuously measured, oftentimes psychological assessments must be completed at different times in your child’s life for continued services. Most commonly at age 3 years old and 18 years old. It is important that you keep all documentation as ASD is a lifelong disorder.
In school children should receive an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). This plan will provide support services in the academic setting to help your child succeed. I would also recommend a social skills group to help your child practice social interactions with other peers.
Autism is often a challenging diagnosis for parents to face and I recommend seeking out therapeutic services for yourself and other family members as this diagnosis can have an impact on everyone in the home.
For more information about how to get you child assessed for ASD contact Calm Down Kids.
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