Autism (or autism spectrum disorder) is a condition associated with range of various debilitating neurodevelopmental symptoms often related to how one behaves socially; however, it is not only limited to these parameters. Autism spectrum can affect a patient physically as well. Some of the symptoms associated with autism are: difficulty motivating, difficulty of focusing on something other than interest, following accepted social rules, understanding the big picture, difficulty with generalization concepts, trouble expressing feelings, difficulties in planning long-term activities, difficulty perceiving emotions of others, and having trouble with summarizing new information & speech. Gastrointestinal disorders, and immunodeficiency are among the aforementioned physical complications that can arise in relation to ASD, also. Not all of the symptoms of autism are considered challenges, however. Some of the indications associated with it are considered strengths, such as: increased long term memory, math/artistic skills, thinking visually, hyperlexia (ability to decode written language and an early age), punctuality, honesty, detail oriented, above average intelligence, independent thinking, non-judgmental listening, logical thinking and intense focus when working on a favored activity. Unfortunately, strengths aside, autism is still a difficult condition to live with, as many suffering from it will tell you. Treatment is available, but no known cure exists for autism spectrum disorder as of yet.
What causes autism?
One of the more common questions surrounding autism spectrum disorder is what causes it. The answer is not so simple, as all we know for certain is that there is no smoking gun. Onset usually results from a combination of environmental, genetic and nongenetic stimuli. Some of the known risk factors associated with autism are: advanced age of one or both parents from the time of conception, premature birth, low birth weight, multiple births (twins etc), and pregnancies spaced less than one year apart. Nevertheless, there are some environmental factors that can play a role in mitigating the risk of autism. According to a study published in 2011 by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, prenatal vitamins that contain folic acid have shown to help decrease the risk of a child developing ASD at some point in his or her life. More recently, however, a small number of the parental population has claimed that childhood vaccines have caused autism in their child due to autism diagnoses sometimes corresponding to the timing of a child’s vaccinations. These claims have largely been disproven by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Treatments for Autism
Early intervention is definitely one of the most important things you can do to help reduce the symptoms of autism spectrum disorder later in life. Behavior therapies such as the Applied Behavior Analysis and the Early Start Denver Model have shown to be effective in the early stages of development. Toddlers and preschool children have shown to benefit from structured therapeutic activities from highly trained therapists and teachers guided by clear and concise learning objectives. Programs will allow for children to interact with typically developing peers as well, which is vital to their own development. A child with autism will often have access to and be guided by a physician, speech-language pathologist and occupational therapist as needed, and programs actively engage parents in the intervention as well.
Autism Spectrum Disorder Assessments in Stuart FL
Coastal Integrative Medicine offers a variety of Autism screening services that range from: initial Autism pre-screeings; more detailed Autism screenings; and a definitive Autism screening. The definitive Autism screening is conducted using the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS), a semi-structured assessment of communication, social interaction, and play for individuals suspected of having autism or other pervasive developmental disorders.
While there is no cure for autism spectrum disorder, it is important children at risk for ASD are identified early, and specialized treatment plans administered as soon as possible. For more information on Autism screening services contact us by clicking here or call us on 772-232-7126.