Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
The wide variation in symptoms among children with autism led to the concept of Autism Spectrum Disorder, or ASD.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) affects more than 1 % (one in one hundred) of the children in the U.S., more often among boys than girls.
Early diagnosis and treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) can help a child with autism make gains in language and social skills.
Because there are not specific medical tests for autism, it’s best to get a diagnosis from a physician or psychologist who specializes in developmental disabilities and has experience diagnosing Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs). The diagnosis is made by taking into account the child’s complete medical and behavioral history, observation of the child’s behavior, and ruling out other problems that may cause some of the same symptoms.
Signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
Each child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) will have his or her own pattern of autism. Sometimes, a child’s development is delayed from birth. Some children seem to develop normally before they suddenly lose social or language skills. Other children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) show normal development until they have enough language to demonstrate unusual thoughts and preoccupations. In some children, a loss of language is the major impairment. In others, unusual behaviors (like spending hours lining up toys) seem to to be the dominant factors.
Parents are usually the first to notice something is wrong. But a diagnosis of autism is often delayed as parents or a physician may downplay early signs of autism, suggesting the symptoms are “just a phase” or a sign of a minor delay in development. Children with a possible autism spectrum disorder should be evaluated by a professional team with experience in diagnosing autism.
Treatments for Autism Spectrum Disorder
There is no known cure for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), but Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is treatable. Many people withAutism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) become more responsive as they come to better understand the world. Autism intervention can involve behavioral treatments, medicines or both. Many persons with autism have additional medical conditions such as sleep disturbance, seizures and gastrointestinal (GI) distress. Addressing these conditions can improve attention, learning and related behaviors.Some children’s symptoms may improve significantly or resolve altogether.
The Goals of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Treatment Can Include:
- Stopping inappropriate behaviors so the child can relate better to others
- Teaching the child to attend to purposeful activity; this can help the child succeed in educational settings.
- Helping the child learn self-care skills
- Providing opportunities for the child to socialize with others
- Improving the child’s communication skills
- Teaching parents how to provide helpful educational and social experiences for their child
Treatment for Autism spectrum disorder may involve medication to help control specific symptoms.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)Treatment Options for Toddlers and Preschool Children
Scientific studies have demonstrated that early intensive behavioral intervention improves learning, communication and social skills in young children with autism (source: autismspeaks.org/what-autism/treatment).
While the outcomes of early intervention vary, all children benefit. Researchers have developed a number of effective early autism intervention models. Early autism intervention models vary in details, but all good early autism intervention programs share certain features. Early autism intervention models include:
- The child with autism receives structured, therapeutic activities.
- Highly trained autism therapists and/or teachers deliver the intervention.
- The autism therapy is guided by specific and well-defined learning objectives, and the child’s progress in meeting these objectives is regularly evaluated and recorded.
- The autism intervention focuses on the core areas affected by autism. These include social skills, language and communication, imitation, play skills, daily living and motor skills.
- The program provides the child with opportunities to interact with typically developing peers.
- The autism treatment program actively engages parents in the intervention, both in decision making and the delivery of treatment.
- The autism treatment program involves a multidisciplinary team that includes, as needed, a physician, speech-language pathologist and occupational therapist.
At Bergen Pediatric Therapy, we believe that by bringing this team under the same roof we can provide better treatment that is more convenient. Please call us or contact us to learn how we can help your child or schedule a complimentary evaluation of your child’s needs and free facility tour.
Choosing the Right Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Treatment
There are currently over 300 different treatments for their children with autism. At the heart of the issue of the many treatments for Autism spectrum disorder is that what most people call “autism” is actually a spectrum of disorders that may or may not turn out to have different causes. Autism spectrum disorder or ASD includes the specific diagnoses of autistic disorder, Asperger’s syndrome, and pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified or PDD-NOS.
What we do know is that Earlier Autism Treatment Is Better Autism Treatment. Perhaps the biggest breakthrough in autism treatment to date is the recognition that pediatricians can identify most (but not all) 24-month-old and even 12-month-old children with autism.
The parents’ involvement is very important to the educational and social development of autistic children. The earlier treatment for autism begins, the better the child’s chance of developing important skills. Early treatment can greatly help most children with autism. Treatment for children with autism spectrum disorder usually reduces symptoms of autism, regardless of the child’s age or the severity of the condition. We created Bergen Pediatric Therapy to be able to offer a centralized setting designed to meet the needs of the children while providing an environment of support and resource for the parents.
Can a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder ever move off the Spectrum?
Growing evidence suggests that a small minority of persons with autism progress to the point where they no longer meet the criteria for a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Various theories exist as to why this happens. These theories include the possibility:
- Of an initial misdiagnosis,
- Some children mature out of certain forms of autism
- Successful treatment can, in some instances, produce outcomes that no longer meet the criteria for an autism diagnosis.
Also, children diagnosed with autism sometimes reach “best outcome” status means they have scored within normal ranges on tests for IQ, language, adaptive functioning, school placement and personality, but still have mild symptoms on some personality and diagnostic tests.
Some children who no longer meet the criteria for a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder are later diagnosed with attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety disorder or a relatively high-functioning form of autism such as Asperger Syndrome.
Significant improvement in autism symptoms is most often reported in connection with intensive early intervention. However, experts cannot predict which children will have such responses to therapy. Therefore early profesional intervention is the best hop for people with autism. In conclusion, many people with autism go on to live independent and fulfilling lives.
In the U.S. the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) guarantees a free and appropriate public education for every child with a disability, including those with Autism spectrum disorder.
At Bergen Pediatric Therapy we combine all of the therapies together with a team centered by collaborating with physicians, therapists, and others involved in the child’s care.