Autism Spectrum Disorders are a group of disorders typified by a child's problems with social skills, effective communication and behavior. Autism Spectrum Disorders make a child experience the world differently from the way most other children do. It affects the brain and can make it hard for them to understand social situations and to get along with other people. Each child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder has different symptoms. Some children may have mild symptoms and other children, more severe symptoms.
In the diagnostic manual used by professionals, these disorders are called Pervasive Developmental Disorders. Autism (Autistic Disorder), Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS), Asperger's Disorder (or Asperger Syndrome), Childhood Disintegrative Disorder and Rett Syndrome are all in this category.
The different types of Autism Spectrum Disorders can be confusing. Sometimes parents will see different professionals, and their child will receive a different "label" from each one. For example, a neurologist might say the child has PDD-NOS, while the psychologist says the child has autism. In other instances a doctor might say the child has Asperger's, and another doctor could say the child has PDD-NOS or autism.
Remember that most times the specific label isn't really that important. What is important is that a professional has recognized that your child has an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Then, based on your child's individual strengths and weaknesses, a treatment and educational plan can be developed. A child with a diagnosis of autism may well be qualified for more services.
Everyone is different, and every person with an Autism Spectrum Disorder has particular strengths and areas of growth. Your encouragement, love and support help your child have a full, happy and independent life.
- As a baby, he/she does not imitate other children and does not reach out to you.
- Doesn't look up or respond to his/her name. May seem deaf at times.
- Does not seek you out for attention or for only social reasons.
- Does not point or gesture.
- Voice and facial expressions can be flat, lacking "feeling" and may not match what the child is saying.
- Difficulty understanding what people around them think and feel.
- Delay in speaking, or has speech and then loses it.
- Speaks in great detail about one subject of topic (for example, only wants to talk about dinosaurs).
- Has difficulty having a conversation (back and forth)
- Has difficulty talking about abstract ideas or emotions; takes everything at face value.
- Does not develop age-appropriate peer relationships (does not play well or have friendships with same-age children), and has difficulty mixing with others.
- Obsessive (must do something the same way each time) or doesn't play in a usual way. (for example, needing to line up toys or spin objects over and over again).
- Eats only certain foods or only likes clothes that feel a certain way.
- Has a hard time relating with people around them.
- Does not handle change well.
- Problems with motor skills such as tying shoes, buttoning a shirt and handwriting.
- Upset when normal routines are changed in any way.
- May smell or lick toys.
- May react strongly to loud noises such as car horns.
To read more information about Autism Spectrum Disorder, click here.
*Most of the information provided here is from the Teach More/Love More site, click here to visit their site