Information taken from American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA) and Autism Speaks
WHAT IS AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER?
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability. The disorder is characterized by varying difficulties in social communication, verbal and nonverbal communication, and repetitive behaviors. People with autism process information differently than their typically developing peers. Individuals with ASD don’t have the exact same problems and autism can range from very mild to severe. Recent statistics show that 1 in 68 children are on the Autism Spectrum and an estimated 1 out of 42 boys and 1 out of 182 girls are diagnosed with ASD every year in the United States.
WHAT ARE THE EARLY RED FLAGS FOR AUTISM?
- No big smiles or happy expressions by 6 months of age
- Not imitating sounds, smiles, or other facial expressions by 9 months of age
- Not babbling by 12 months of age
- Not responding to his / her name by 12 months of age
- Not imitating gestures (i.e., waving, pointing, etc) by 12 months of age
- Any loss of speech or social skills
- Avoiding eye contact and wanting to be left alone
- Difficulty understanding feelings
- Difficulty playing with others and sharing toys
- Using tantrums to express wants and needs
- Repeating words or phrases (echolalia)
- Gets upset by certain sounds
- Flaps hands, rocks, spins, or stares
- Only likes a few foods
- Difficulty changing from one activity to the next
If you have concerns about your child’s development, contact his / her doctor. You can also take a simple online autism screener to help you determine if your child should be evaluated. Just follow the link: https://www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism/diagnosis/mchat
WHAT CAUSES ASD?
Studies have found that there is no one cause of ASD; however there are a few possible causes which include the following:
- Genetic problems
- Severe infections that affect the brain
- Exposure to toxins or illness during pregnancy.
If your child was recently diagnosed with Autism, this can be a very frightening and confusing time for the family. We urge you to join a support group to gain more insight. You are not alone!
OUR APPROACH AT KEY THERAPIES:
At Key Therapies we develop individualized treatment plans for each child. For an individual with ASD, we may work on a variety of things including: social communication, joint attention, following directions, feeding issues, playing and getting along with others, asking and answering questions and using conversational speech. We may also see a need to incorporate AAC.