Autism Spectrum Disorder
What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder which is most commonly associated with difficulty communicating and interacting with others. As indicated in the word spectrum, each individual with ASD is different and unique. ASD may be diagnosed in children as young as 18 months, however; some individuals are diagnosed later in life. Early diagnosis and intervention for ASD is associated with better outcomes.
The CDC website notes the following signs and symptoms https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/signs.html
Examples of Social Communication and Interactions May Include:
- Avoids or does not keep eye contact
- Does not respond to name by 9 months of age
- Does not show facial expressions like happy, sad, angry, and surprised by 9 months of age
- Does not play simple interactive games like pat-a-cake by 12 months of age
- Uses few or no gestures by 12 months of age (e.g., does not wave goodbye)
- Does not share interests with others (e.g., shows you an object that he or she likes by 15 months of age).
- Does not point or look at what you point to by 18 months of age.
- Does not notice when others are hurt or sad by 24 months of age
- Does not pretend in play (e.g., does not pretend to “feed” a doll by 30 months of age).
- Shows little interest in peers.
- Has trouble understanding other people’s feelings or talking about own feelings at 36 months of age or older.
- Does not play games with turn taking by 60 months of age.
Examples of Restricted or Repetitive Behaviors or Interests May Include:
- Lines up toys or other objects and gets upset when order is changed
- Repeats words or phrases over and over (i.e., echolalia)
- Plays with toys the same way every time
- Is focused on parts of objects (e.g., wheels)
- Gets upset by minor changes
- Has obsessive interests
- Must follow certain routines
- Flaps hands, rocks body, or spins self in circles
- Has unusual reactions to the way things sound, smell, taste, look, or feel