Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by:

  • Social Impairments
  • Cognitive Impairments
  • Communication Difficulties
  • Repetitive Behaviors

Autism is a spectrum disorder, which means that it can range from mild to severe. Autism doesn’t discriminate, it can occur in all ethnicities, socioeconomic backgrounds, and age groups. Males are found to be four times more likely to have autism than females. Some children with autism appear normal before age 1 or 2 and then suddenly “regress” and lose some of the language or social skills they had previously gained, this is referred to as regressive autism.

What is Autism?

Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), is a neurodevelopmental disorder that is characterized by

  • Social Impairments
  • Cognitive Impairments
  • Communication Difficulties
  • Repetitive Behaviors

According to the Centers for Disease Control, Autism affects an estimated 1 in 59 children in the United States. Some children with autism do not show signs of having the disorder until the age of 2 or 3 when they begin to display socialization or behavioral difficulties.

EARLY SIGNS OF AUTISM

A person with ASD might:

  • Not respond to their name (the child may appear deaf)
  • Not point at objects or things of interest, or demonstrate interest
  • Not play “pretend” games
  • Avoid eye contact
  • Want to be alone
  • Have difficulty understanding, or showing understanding, or other people’s feelings or their own
  • Have no speech or delayed speech
  • 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 (over or under-sensitivity) to the way things sound, smell, taste, look, or feel
  • Have low to no social skills
  • Avoid or resist physical contact
  • Demonstrate little safety or danger awareness
  • Reverse pronouns (e.g., says “you” instead of “I”)
  • Gives unrelated answers to questions

People with autism may also:

  • Have unusual interests and behaviors
  • Have extreme anxiety and phobias, as well as unusual phobias
  • Line up toys or other objects
  • Play with toys the same way every time
  • Like parts of objects (e.g., wheels)
  • Become upset by minor changes
  • Have obsessive interests

Other Symptoms:

  • Hyperactivity (very active)
  • Impulsivity (acting without thinking)
  • Short attention span
  • Aggression
  • Causing self injury
  • Meltdowns
  • Unusual eating and sleeping habits
  • Unusual mood or emotional reactions
  • Lack of fear or more fear than expected
  • Have unusual sleeping habits

FACTS ABOUT AUTISM

  • 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 cognitive function. Individuals with autism typically have difficulties in verbal and non-verbal communication, social interactions, and leisure or play activities
  • Individuals with autism often suffer from numerous co-morbid medical conditions which may include: allergies, asthma, epilepsy, digestive disorders, persistent viral infections, feeding disorders, sensory integration dysfunction, sleeping disorders, and more
  • Autism is diagnosed four times more often in boys than girls. Its prevalence is not affected by race, region, or socio-economic status. Since autism was first diagnosed in the U.S. the incidence has climbed to an alarming one in 68 children in the U.S.
  • Currently there is no cure for autism, though with early intervention treatment the diverse symptoms related to autism can be greatly improved and in some cases completely overcome.

Early Signs of Pediatric Autism

  • Stops responding to their name (appears to be deaf)
  • Lacks interest in past once-loved objects or activities, including playing “pretend” games with siblings or friends
  • Has obsessive &/or unusual interests
  • Avoids eye contact or physical touch
  • Prefers to be alone
  • Seems unable to show or understand emotion
  • Does not speak or talk at appropriate age markers
  • Gives unrelated answers to questions asked
  • Acts in a way unfamiliar with previous behaviors including rocking back and forth, spinning in circles or flapping their hands
  • Has unusual, over- or under-sensitivity to the way things sound, smell, taste, look or feel
  • Has low to no social skills including unable to play with other children
  • Demonstrates little awareness about self-safety is unaware of danger
  • Reverses pronounces (example: says “you” instead of “me

Children with autism may also exhibit unusual behaviors, such as:

  • Have extreme anxiety and phobias, sometimes unusual phobias
  • Play with toys the same way every time
  • Exhibit obsessive compulsive tendencies, i.e. line up their toys
  • Become obsessed with part of objects or toys, like wheels
  • Become upset by minor changes

Other symptoms of pediatric autism include:

  • Hyperactivity (very, very active – can’t be calm)
  • Impulsivity (acting without thinking)
  • Short attention span
  • Aggression
  • Meltdowns
  • Lack of fear (actions risks self-injury
  • Unusual eating and sleeping habits
  • Unusual mood or emotional reactions (or lack thereof)

Facts About Pediatric Autism

A spectrum disorder, Autism can range from mild to severe. Each child with autism has a distinct set of strengths and challenges. Some children with autism may require significant pediatric therapy services and daily support while others may need less development skills in order to live independently.

Here is what we scientifically know about autism:

  • Autism is a bio-neurological developmental disorder that generally appears before the age of three.
  • Autism impacts the normal development of the brain in areas of social interaction, communication skills, and cognitive function.
  • Children with autism typically have difficulties in verbal and nonverbal communication, social interactions, and leisure and play activities.
  • Many people with autism also suffer from comorbid medical conditions that may include: allergies, asthma, epilepsy, digestive disorders, persistent viral infections, eating disorders, sensory integration dysfunction, and sleeping disorders.
  • Autism is diagnosed four times more often in boys than girls.
  • The prevalence of autism is not affected by race, region, or socio-economic status.
  • Since first being discovered, autism has climbed to an alarming rate: one in every 59 children is diagnosed with autism.
  • There is currently no cure for autism.
  • With early intervention treatment, the diverse systems related to pediatric autism can be greatly improved and, in some cases, completely overcome.

Early intervention is key.

In children specifically, early childhood development is crucial as rapid growth happens in a child’s early years.

Research shows that early diagnosis in children and 20+ hours per week of individualized pediatric care therapy can lead to huge improvements in kids with autism. Full-spectrum care can improve learning, communication and social skills as well as underlying brain development. It is this early intervention and pediatric therapy that creates positive outcomes later in life for children with autism.

EARLY INTERVENTION

All studies show that early diagnosis and 20+ hours per week of individualized therapy has huge improvements for an Autistic Children. Just like with children not ASD the brain is like a sponge and so much of the development and growth happens in those first few years. We are here to help you and your family in any way we can to provide the best services for your child.

Contact Arizona Autism

Our Communications Expert

Our staff is ready to meet with you in person or online. Fill out the form and we’ll be in touch soon.