What is Autism?
Autism Spectrum Disorder is a condition that affects a person in various ways. It is a life changing disorder that affects a person's social skills, the functioning of the brain and several skills. A person diagnosed with ASD will also be affected by some possible issues that impair the quality of their life. Since this disorder is located on a spectrum, it means that each individual will be affected differently and subjected to varying levels of intensity. This is just the tip of the iceberg! Learn more on this website!


Autism Spectrum Disorders

BouncerWhat are Autism spectrum disorders?
Autism spectrum disorders are a group of neurological disorders that includes: Autism, Aspergers disorder, Rett's syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder and PDD-Nos (pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified). 

Children and adults with ASD experience the world in a different manner. It is important to note that no two individuals will have the exact same symptoms or behavioral traits.

Common characteristics of Autism are: social impairment, spinning, hand flapping, lack of eye contact, language delays (non-verbal), parallel play, dependence on routine, fixation with objects, sensitivity to textures, poor diet and displays of frustrations. The symptoms of Autism spectrum disorders can even vary greatly, even amongst siblings who are affected. 

How are children diagnosed?

Here are the details of the process linked to the diagnosis.

How children are diagnosed? The process starts by visiting your pediatrician or family doctor who will make a referral to a specialist who will, depending of where you live, either observe or administer a test to determine if your child falls anywhere on the Autism spectrum disorders criteria. 

The ADOS (Autism diagnostic observation schedule) is becoming a more common standardized assessment. Basically, your child will be observed during activities by a professional such as an occupational therapist who will then use the ADOS test to score where your child is.

Some other forms of testing include: Autism behavior checklist, Gillian Autism rating scale and the childhood Autism rating scale. In some cases, parents have detected Autism in infants but more commonly, Autism symptoms are observed around the age of two.

Asperger syndrome, sometimes misspelled as Asbergers, is often not diagnosed until school age. Children with Asperger syndrome often have an above average IQ and generally are higher functioning than those diagnosed with classic Autism. Thus the diagnosis of Asperger's is harder to make and often the child can be 8 years or older before being diagnosed properly.

As a parent, if you feel that your child may have any form of Autism spectrum disorders, it is imperative to seek a physician's opinion. If you do not agree with their views then by all means, seek a second or third opinion if needed. An early diagnosis is critical as often, the waiting lists for professionals can be painfully long. Early intervention is critical.

Recommended Autism sites:

Autism Today

Future Horizons

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