Autism: Assessment and Diagnosis of Disorder

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental impairment that can present severe social, communication, and behavioral difficulties. While there is frequently nothing about how persons with ASD look that distinguishes them from other people, they may speak, interact, conduct, and learn differently from most other people. Individuals with ASD have a range of cognitive, reasoning, and problem-solving abilities, ranging from gifted to severely impaired. Some persons with ASD require a great deal of assistance in their daily life, while others require less.

ASD encompasses many previously distinct conditions: autistic disorder, pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise defined (PDD-NOS), and Asperger syndrome. All of these diseases are now together referred to as autism spectrum disorder.

Symptoms and Signs

Individuals with ASD frequently struggle with their social, emotional, and communication skills. They may exhibit repetitive tendencies and may be resistant to change in their everyday routines. Numerous individuals with ASD also have unique ways of learning, paying attention, and reacting to stimuli. ASD symptoms often begin in early childhood and persist throughout a person’s life.

Children and adults with ASD may exhibit the following behaviors:

  • not make eye contact with items to demonstrate interest (for example, not point at an airplane flying over)
  • not looking at objects when another person points at them having difficulty relating to others or showing no interest in others at all avoiding eye contact and desiring solitude
  • have difficulty comprehending other people’s emotions or conversing about their own
  • prefer not to be held or snuggled, or may cuddle only when people speak to them, but respond to other sounds.
  • be genuinely interested in people yet unable to communicate with, play with, or relate to them
  • repeat or rephrase words or phrases spoken to them, or substitute words or phrases for natural language.
  • have difficulty expressing their demands through conventional words or gestures
  • not engage in “pretend” play (for example, refrain from pretending to “feed” a doll).
  • repeatedly perform actions
  • have difficulty adjusting to changes in routine have odd reactions to the way things smell, taste, look, feel, or sound lose talents they previously possessed (for example, stop saying words they were using)

Diagnosis

Diagnosing ASD can be challenging because there is no medical test for the problems, such as a blood test. Doctors make diagnoses based on the child’s behavior and growth.

ASD can occasionally recognizes at the age of 18 months or younger. By the age of two, an experienced professional’s diagnosis can be deemed extremely reliable. 1 Many youngsters, however, do not obtain a definitive diagnosis until they are considerably older. This delay may result in children with ASD not receiving the necessary early intervention.

Treatment

At the moment, there is no cure for ASD. On the other hand, early intervention treatment services shows to benefit a child’s development. 2 and 3 Early intervention services assist children between the ages of birth and three years (36 months) in developing critical abilities. Therapy may be provided to assist the youngster in speaking, walking, and interacting with others. As a result, it is critical to consult your kid’s physician as soon as possible if you suspect your child may have an ASD or another developmental condition.

Even if your kid has not been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, he or she may qualify for early intervention treatments. Individuals under the age of three years (36 months) who are at risk of developmental delays may be eligible for services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)external symbol. Your state’s early intervention system provides these services. You can request an evaluation through this system.

Treatment for specific symptoms, such as speech therapy for language difficulties, is frequently not dependent on an official ASD diagnosis.

Causing Factors and Risk Factors

We do not understand all of the possible causes of ASD. However, we have discovered that various factors likely cause several forms of ASD. Numerous factors, including environmental, biological, and genetic factors, may increase a child’s likelihood of ASD.

The majority of scientists agree that genes are one of the risk factors for developing ASD.

  • Children who have an ASD sibling are at a greater risk of developing ASD themselves. 5-10 People with specific genetic or chromosomal abnormalities, such as fragile X syndrome or tuberous sclerosis, may have an increased risk of developing ASD. 11-14, 20 Valproic acid and thalidomide, both prescription medications, have an increased risk of autism when taken during pregnancy. 15-16
  • There is evidence that the key period for ASD development occurs before, during, and immediately following delivery. 17
  • Children born to elderly parents are more likely to have ASD. 18
  • ASD remains a significant public health concern. As with the numerous families affected by ASD, the CDC is interested in determining the source of the disorder. Understanding the risk factors for developing ASD will us in our understanding of the reasons. We currently engaged in one of the largest studies conducted in the United States to date, dubbed the Study to Explore Early Development (SEED). SEED is investigating various potential risk factors for autism spectrum disorders, including genetic, environmental, prenatal, and behavioral factors.

Which Individuals Are Affected

ASD affects all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups, but is approximately four times more prevalent in boys than girls.

The CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network has measured the number of children in the United States with ASD for over a decade. We have learnt a great deal about the prevalence of ASD among youngsters in the United States. It will be critical to utilize the same approaches to track the number of children diagnosed with ASD over time to better understand the illness.

If You Are Afraid

Believe your kid may have ASD or that there is anything wrong with how he or she plays, learns, speaks, or acts, speak with your child’s doctor and express your concerns.

If you or your doctor remain worried, request a referral to a specialist who can conduct a more comprehensive evaluation of your kid. Specialists who can conduct a more thorough examination and make a diagnosis include the following:

  • Pediatricians that specialize in development (doctors who have special training in child development and children with special needs)
  • Pediatric neurologists (doctors who work on the brain, spine, and nerves)
  • Psychologists or Psychiatrists for Children (doctors who know about the human mind)
  • Simultaneously, contact your state’s public early childhood system to arrange a free evaluation to see whether your child is eligible for intervention services. This is occasionally refers to as a Child Find evaluation. This call does not require a doctor’s referral or a medical diagnosis.

What is the distinction between autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)?

Autism and ADHD are frequently mistaken.

Children diagnosed with ADHD frequently experience difficulties with fidgeting, concentration, and maintaining eye contact with others. These symptoms are also present in a subset of autistic individuals.

Despite some overlap, ADHD classifies as a spectrum condition. One significant distinction between the two is that individuals with ADHD do not typically lack socio-communicative abilities.

If you believe your child may be hyperactive, discuss possible ADHD testing with their doctor. Accurate diagnosis is critical to ensuring that your kid receives the appropriate treatment.

Additionally, a person can have both autism and ADHD. Examine the link between autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

What is the prospect for autistic individuals?

Early and intensive behavioral assistance requires for the most effective therapy. The sooner a youngster enrolls in one of these programs, the better.

Bear in mind that ASD complicates and that it takes time for an autistic person — kid or adult — to find the program that is the best suites to them.

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