Autism Spectrum Disorder
Posted by: Al Clinics
Date: Dec 18 2018 11:33 AM
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) affects approximately 1 in 59 children, with boys being 4 times more likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls. Although it can be diagnosed at any age, symptoms usually appear during the first two years of development.
Due to its wide variation, autism is often described to be on a “spectrum.” The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends all children be screened for autism. A guide created by the American Psychiatric Association states that those affected with ASD typically display:
- Difficulty with social interaction and communication
- Making little eye contact
- Rarely displaying enjoyment in objects or activities
- Slow response to someone calling their name
- Talking at length about a subject without noticing that others are not listening/interested
- Having an unusual tone of voice
- Restricted interests and repetitive behaviors
- Repeating words or phrases often, this is called echolalia
- Showing an intense interest on specific topics, such as numbers or facts
- Bothered by any slight change in routine
Although those diagnosed with ASD encounter many disabilities that makes it hard to interact in social settings, many of them have unusual strengths. These include being able to learn things in extreme detail, recall information for long periods of time, strong visual and auditory learners, excelling in math, science, music, and art.
Experts don’t exactly know what causes ASD, but research shows that genes interact with influences from the environment to affect development which leads to ASD. However, brain scans show differences in the shape and structure of the brain in those with autism. Some factors that have shown increased risk are advanced parent age, pregnancy and birth complications, or pregnancies spaced less than one year apart. There are no specific medical tests for diagnosing autism so doctors diagnose ASD by examining the person’s behavior and development throughout check-ups. Most children should be screened for autism at their 18 and 24-month checkup.
Once diagnosed, treatment should begin as soon as possible. Since autism affects each individual different, it is important to work closely with your health care professional to find the right treatment program. It’s common that a doctor may use medication to treat some symptoms associated with ASD. These medications can help with irritability, aggression, hyperactivity, attention problems, or anxiety/depression. There are also therapy options available to reduce the individual’s difficulties while making the most of their strengths. On average, a diagnosis of autism costs an estimated $60,000 through childhood. If you have any questions or concerns feel free to visit us at Alabama Clinics.