Autism Among Preschool Children and the Interventions to Help Them

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Abstract
Autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) can cause preschool children to have social and development difficulties that can keep them from being able to function properly in their day to day life. With the increase of preschool aged children being diagnosed with ASD in recent years one needs to understand the best means of helping these children and keep them from having serious problems as they get older. By reviewing research on ASD one will be able to understand how to assess an ASD child’s social skills and behaviors, whether early intervention, therapy and/or parent involvement are successful in the process of helping ASD children to build better social and communication skills and if there is comorbidity among preschool aged children with ASD. It is found that preschool aged ASD children should be assessed using the Behavioral Assessment of Social Interactions in Young Children to help in setting goals and examines treatment progress. Research has shown patterns of comorbidity among these preschool aged children and these comorbid disorders need to be considered when treating these ASD children. Combining early intervention with parent involvement has shown to be the most effective in helping preschool ASD children to build better social and communication skills.

Keywords: Autism, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Early intervention, Parent involvement, ASD

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a very complex neurobiological disorder of development which lasts throughout an individual’s life causing them problems with social interaction and communication. According to Gillis and Butler (2007) individuals with ASD exhibit deficits in several fundamental areas including social development and social skills, language and communication skills, and repetitive, ritualistic, stereotyped behaviors, which can range from very mild to very severe. The symptoms of autism usually begin and are noticed before age three, the preschool years, and can cause delays or problems in the above listed skills and development that are gained through infancy to adulthood. Some consider autism a developmental disability because it usually starts before age three, the preschool years which is the developmental period of a child’s life. The signs and symptoms of ASD cause the preschool aged children to have problems in their communication skills including: both verbal or spoken communication and non-verbal or unspoken communication, such as pointing, eye contact, and smiling, and social skills which causes the child to have problems in areas such as sharing their emotions and feelings, understanding how others think and feel, and holding and maintaining a meaningful conversation. Another sign and symptom of ASD is the child having some form of routine or repetitive behavior, some call this stereotyped behaviors, which may involve the child repeating words or actions, obsessively following routines or schedules, and playing toys or objects in repetitive and sometimes inappropriate ways, or having very specific and inflexible ways of arranging items. Since autism may affect each child differently one child may not have the same type of problems and/or developmental issues as the next child with autism and the severity of their problems and issues may be completely different. One child with autism might have problems talking with you, or they might not look you in the eye when you talk to them. Another child may have to line up their pencils before they can pay attention to you, or they may say the same sentence again and again to calm themselves down. Other children may flap their arms to tell you they are happy, or they might hurt themselves to tell you they are not. Some children with autism are unable to learn how to talk or can talk but they are the only ones that know or understand the language they speak. The behaviors, problems and developmental issues these preschool aged autistic children have not only make life challenging for them, but...
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