Autism is a complex developmental disability that causes problems with social interaction and communication. Symptoms usually start before age three and can cause delays or problems in many different skills that develop from infancy to adulthood.
Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) is an umbrella term. The word “spectrum” is used to indicate that Autism encompasses several disorders characterized by varying degrees of impairment in communication skills, social interactions, and restricted, repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior. Different people with autism can have very different symptoms.
Children on the autism spectrum may have atypical:
- Social Interaction
- Sensory Responses
- Eating habits
- Need for Sameness and Routine
We do not know the causes of ASDs. Most scientists agree that genes are one of the risk factors that can make a person more likely to develop an ASD. Children who have a sibling or parent with an ASD are at a higher risk of also.
The median age of ASD diagnosis is between 4.5 and 5.5 years, but for 50%–90% of children with an ASD, developmental concerns were recorded before age 3. Studies have shown that about one third of parents of children with an ASD noticed a problem before their child’s first birthday, and 80% saw problems by 24 months.
- Average of 1 in 110 children (estimates range from 1:80 to 1:240)
- males: 1:70
- females: 1:315
- Occurs in all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups
- More children than ever before are being diagnosed with an ASD. It is unclear exactly how much of this increase is due to a broader definition of ASDs and better efforts in diagnosis.
- A serious problem in the field of autism is the popularity of unproven interventions and therapies.
- The recent explosion in the number of children diagnosed with autism has spurred interest in its cause. Theories include genetics, environmental factors such as pesticides, infections, hormone imbalance, and mercury in vaccines
- ABA – Applied Behavioral Analysis
- PECS – Picture Exchange Communication Systems
- Floor Time
- Social Stories
- Sensory Integration
- Facilitated Communication
A report published by CDC in 2009, shows that 30-51% (41% on average) of the children who had an ASD also had an Intellectual Disability (intelligence quotient ≤70).
CDC ASD – www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/index.html
Common Characteristics of Children with ASD – www.tinsnips.org/Media/autism/CMNCHAR.pdf
PDD Screening Questionnaire – www.childbrain.com/pddassess.html