Autism Spectrum Disorder: a Review

Autism Spectrum Disorder

The term “spectrum” refers to the wide range of symptoms, skills, and levels of impairment or disability that children with ASD can have

Causes

Scientists don’t know the exact causes of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), but research suggests that both genes and environment play important roles.

Children with ASD usually have…
1. Persistent deficits in social communication and social interaction across multiple contexts;
2. Restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities;

Early signs of ASD

1. Social impairment, including difficulties with social communication.

Most children with ASD have trouble engaging in everyday social interactions. For example, some children with ASD may:

a. Make little eye contact
b. Tend to look and listen less to people in their environment or fail to respond to other people
c. Rarely seek to share their enjoyment of toys or activities by pointing or showing things to others
d. Respond unusually when others show anger, distress, or affection.

For Children with ASD, reaching such milestones may not be so straightforward. For example, some children with autism may:

a. Fail or be slow to respond to their name or other verbal attempts to gain their attention
b. Fail or be slow to develop gestures, such as pointing and showing things to others
c. Coo and babble in the first year of life, but then stop doing so
d. Develop language at a delayed pace
e. Learn to communicate using pictures or their own sign language
f. Speak only in single words or repeat certain phrases over and over, seeming unable to combine words into meaningful sentences
g. Repeat words or phrases that they hear, a condition called echolalia
h. Use words that seem odd, out of place, or have a special meaning known only to those familiar with the child’s way of communicating.

2. Repetitive and stereotyped behaviors.

Children with ASD often have repetitive motions or unusual behaviors. These behaviors may be extreme and very noticeable, or they can be mild and discreet.

Children with ASD also tend to have overly focused interests.

Remember, no two childen with ASD are experiencing the exact aame thing!

How to help children with ASD:

1. Maintain consistency

2.Avoid making changes, especially in what your child perceives as his or her domain.

3. Understand fixations

4. Speak with your child consistently and carefully

5.Use natural or full spectrum lighting whenever possible

6.Consider noises in the environment.

7.Ensure safety around your home.

8.Understand the use of visual stimuli.

9.Check up on the child’s health with their GP regularly

10. Know the signs of sensory overload.
      a. Meltdowns
      b. Shutdowns

11. Have the attitude that you’re in it for the long haul.

12. Love your child.

References:

a. http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/autism-spectrum-disorders-asd/index.shtml
b. WikiHow