Autism Spectrum Disorder
Autism is a spectral condition that affects neurodevelopment, causing difficulty with socializing and communication. Since it is measured on a spectrum, it can be very mild or very intense. It is a cover-all term used for things that were previously known as:
- Asperger's syndrome
- Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS)
- Childhood Disintegrative Disorder
- Rett Syndrome
- Autistic Disorder
Symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder
Because Autism is a spectral disorder, it appears differently in every case. On a general level, people who have autism may have repetitive behavior, and may not be engaged with the outside world as much as someone who does not have autism. These are broad ways to define it, but since each case of autism varies so highly, it is hard to define concrete symptoms tied to autism spectrum disorder. Some ways that Autism is displayed is:
- Does not like physical contact with people.
- Prefers alone time to socializing time
- Little-to-no eye contact.
- May not seem to be attached to people.
- Speech may be minimal, reserved for commands and exchanging information only, may seem robotic.
- May not like change.
- May be very habitual.
- Overstimulated easily.
While Autism Spectrum Disorder is generally viewed as a learning disability, some people with Autism Spectrum Disorder will actually be able to learn much faster than people who do not have Autism Specturm Disorder. The symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder are so heavily variant, since autism is very different in every individual and requires an individualized approach.
What to do if I suspect my child has Autism Spectrum Disorder
The Center for Disease Control has an Autism Spectrum Disorder tool on their website. (http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/signs.html) The signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder are often recognized during a child’s development:
- Won’t respond to name
- Doesn’t like to be held or cuddled
- Regression of language skills
- Seems to not develop like “other kids”
When it comes to Autism Spectrum Disorder in children, it can be very hard to identify. If you are concerned your child may have Autism Spectrum Disorder, taking them to see a pediatric doctor is a good first step.
An important thing to remember when facing a potential diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder is that many people with the diagnosis live full, normal, healthy lives.
If you have any questions about autism, or wish to schedule an autism screening, contact Pediatrics of Northeastern Pennsylvania.