What are Autism spectrum
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
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
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.