Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by the challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication. Recent numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that autism affects 1 in 44 children in the United States. For Autism Awareness Month, we take a closer look at autism and what is being done to help patients with the condition.
Did you know that autism is not just one condition, but a collective group of many subtypes? It can include Asperger’s syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, pervasive development disorder and more. Each of these subtypes can have their own traits and characteristics that can sometimes blend together with other groups. People with Asperger’s syndrome, for example, can exhibit poor social interactions, obsessions and limited facial expressions. But these exact same symptoms can be found in other people with a different subtype; making diagnosing autism difficult.
Diagnosing for autism spectrum disorder is not an easy task. There is no medical test, like taking blood, which can simply diagnose the disorder. The disorder is usually measured in a three step process; monitoring, screening and a formal diagnosis. Monitoring is the stage where parents/providers will observe a child’s growth and if typical development milestones or skills are being met, such as playing and movement, learning, and speech. The next stage of diagnosis includes screening your child and is a more advanced form of monitoring that includes additional observations and questionnaires/checklists to follow. The final process is a formal developmental diagnosis that includes ongoing screening and an evaluation done by a team of experts that can include a pediatrician, child psychologist, occupational therapist and a speech language pathologist. After this lengthy process, a diagnosis of autism can be given.
While there is no cure for autism, treatment is usually administered in different ways to best help the child/adult. The most common treatments are used with therapies or interventions that improve the skills and abilities. Therapies include behavioral management, cognitive development, physical therapy, social skills, speech-language, and others depending upon the needs of the patient. The earlier those treatments are applied; a better quality of life can be achieved.
Jared White, Bond Clinic’s Assistant Marketing Director with a diagnosed child with autism, shares his thoughts on the process. “With our son, we noticed early on that he wasn’t meeting several of the developmental milestones that a child should have reached. After testing and working with a team of specialists for several years, he is finally getting services that are helping him to grow and succeed,” says Jared White.
Jared’s story and experience is one that resonates with so many parents around the world. The desire for their child to thrive and to have the care and life they deserve is a huge connector. We watch them navigate developmental changes and question the best path for healthcare, education, therapies and medication. During this month of Autism Awareness we’re determine to see them and their amazing kids.
If you have questions about autism in your child or in an adult, speak with your medical provider on what symptoms you should be looking for. If you are in need of a pediatrician or another physician, we have a wonderful team here to help you. If you would like to learn more about our quality services, please take a look around our website or call us at 863-293-1191.
Content provided by: Jared White, Assistant Marketing Director