Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is combined array of disorders which were formally diagnosed separately as autism, Asperger syndrome, and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS).
Some of the most noticeable symptoms of ASD, according to the CDC are:
- not pointing at objects to show interest
- not looking at objects when another person points at them
- appearing to be unaware when other people talk to them
- not liking to be held or cuddled
- repeating or echo words/ phrases said to them in place of normal language
- being very interested in people, but not know how to talk or play with them
- losing skills they once had (e.g., stop saying words they were using)
- not playing “pretend” games
- having trouble relating to others
- avoiding eye contact and wanting to be alone
- having trouble understanding other people’s feelings
- having trouble expressing their needs using typical words
- repeating actions over and over again
- having trouble adapting when a routine changes
- having unusual reactions to the way things smell, taste, look, feel, or sound
After identification of symptoms or a diagnosis, intervention is KEY.
There are many falsely advertised “cures” to Autism and it is vital to discuss any and all treatment options with your family doctor. Typically, people diagnosed with ASD enroll in speech-language therapy and occupational therapy. These therapies address issues from social skills (interacting with others), receptive language skills (understanding others), expressive language skills ( communicating wants and needs, verbally or non-verbally using a communication device), self-care needs (grooming, brushing teeth, feeding skills), sensory processing skills (responding to sensory experiences such as through touch, taste, sound, and movement), , and behavior. If you have concerns about Autism it is important to share those concerns with your family doctor, speech-language pathologist, occupational therapist, or neurologist.
Written by Amy Grant, M.S., CCC-SLP and Latrice Sorrells, M.A., CCC-SLP
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