Tammy L. Fallin
If you have ever asked yourself “How will we deal with this diagnosis?” you are not alone. As with any disorder, you need to know the etiology, biology, diagnosis, and treatment to help understand how autism will be a part of your family and your everyday life. Autism is a developmental disorder that is increasing among children. Families need to be aware of the facts and treatments available for this disorder. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder that affects social and communication skills in the brain (American Psychological Association). In the United States, the children affected by autism are 1 in 88 children and one in every 54 is boys while only one in 252 is girls. “By way of comparison, more children are diagnosed with autism each year than with juvenile diabetes, AIDS or cancer, combined. “ASD affects over 2 million individuals in the U.S. and tens of millions worldwide (Autism Speaks, 2012, p. 4.” There are five distinctive types of autism, Rett syndrome, autistic disorder, childhood disintegrated disorder, persuasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified, and Asperger syndrome (What Is Autism). To establish which type of autism a child has the psychologist will look at the severity of the symptoms. Motor skills, social skills, and physical issues are all associated with autism (How Is Autism Diagnosed). Autism usually surfaces when the child is at least two years old. To determine if an evaluation from a pediatrician is necessary the following signs should be recognizable by the parent in the child: By six months old shows no big smiles, By nine months old does not smile or make sounds back and forth with you, by 12 months old the child does not babble, point, reach, or wave, by 16 months does not cay any words, by 24 months old not saying two word phrases, any loss of social skills or speech at any age (Learn the Signs of Autism, 2012). To be diagnosed with autism, your child must have six or more of the following symptoms and two or more of those symptoms must fall under the social skills category. Social skills
Has difficulty with nonverbal behaviors, such as making eye contact, making facial expressions or using gestures Has difficulty forming friendships with peers and seems to prefer playing alone Doesn't share experiences or emotions with other people, such as sharing achievements or pointing out [sic] objects or other interests Appears unaware of others' feelings
Starts talking later than age 2 and has other developmental delays by 30 months, and doesn't make an attempt to communicate with gestures or miming Can't start a conversation or keep one going
May repeat words or phrases verbatim, but doesn't understand how to use them Doesn't play make-believe or doesn't imitate the behavior of adults when playing Behavior
Develops interests in objects or topics that are abnormal in intensity or focus Performs repetitive movements, such as rocking, spinning or hand-flapping Becomes disturbed at the slightest change in routines or rituals May be fascinated by parts of an object, such as the spinning wheels of a toy car. (Mayo clinic, 2010). A psychologist can perform according to MedlinePlus (2012) “An evaluation of autism will often include a complete physical and nervous system (neurologic) examination. It may also include a specific screening tool, such as: Autism Diagnostic Interview - Revised (ADI-R), Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS), Childhood Autism rating Scale (CARS), Gilliam Autism Rating Scale, Pervasive Developmental Disorders Screening Test - Stage 3” (Exams and Tests). After a diagnosis is made, the doctor will go over the different treatment plans that will help with the needs of the child. There is no one set treatment for autism. Educating yourself with the different types of treatment plans is very important. Many programs like...