Treatment Considerations: Transitioning Youth And Adults
The core challenges associated with ASD can have an impact on the ability to succeed in postsecondary educational programs, employment, and social relationships, and to acquire the skills needed to live independently .
Individuals with ASD who are transitioning to young adulthood experience high rates of unemployment and underemployment and may have difficulty maintaining employment once secured . Socially, they may discontinue friendships, participate in fewer social activities , and experience social isolation .
These findings highlight the need for continued support to facilitate a successful transition to adulthood. SLPs are involved in transition planning in high school and may be involved, to varying degrees, in other support services beyond high school.
Transition planning for individuals with ASD may include
- determining the need for continued therapy, if appropriate
- identifying career goals and educational needs
- providing academic or career counseling
- providing opportunities for work experience
- discussing housing options and
- facilitating community networking .
Effective transition planning involves the student as an active and respected member of the team as well as their family, who can provide valuable information about the studentâs needs. See ASHAâs resource on transitioning youth.
Some People Use Other Names For Autism
There are other names for autism used by some people, such as:
- autism spectrum disorder the medical name for autism
- autism spectrum condition used instead of ASD by some people
- Asperger’s used by some people to describe autistic people with average or above average intelligence
Unlike some people with autism, people with Asperger’s do not have a learning disability.
Some people call this “high-functioning” autism.
Doctors do not diagnose people with Asperger’s anymore.
But if you were diagnosed with it before, this will stay as your diagnosis.
Free Brochures And Shareable Resources
- Autism Spectrum Disorder: This brochure provides information about the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of ASD. Also available en español.
- Digital Shareables on Autism Spectrum Disorder: Help support ASD awareness and education in your community. Use these digital resources, including graphics and messages, to spread the word about ASD.
Recommended Reading: How To Know If My Baby Has Autism
Behavioral Psychological And Educational Interventions
People with ASD may be referred to a health care provider who specializes in providing behavioral, psychological, educational, or skill-building interventions. These programs are typically highly structured and intensive, and they may involve caregivers, siblings, and other family members. These programs may help people with ASD:
- Learn social, communication, and language skills
- Reduce behaviors that interfere with daily functioning
- Increase or build upon strengths
- Learn life skills necessary for living independently
Core Mechanisms Underlying Asd
Given the diverse genetic variations underlying the development of ASD, one obvious challenge in understanding how ASD develops is the wide range of mechanisms associated with it. This diversity poses a serious additional problem in treating ASD: a single medication is likely to cover only a small fraction of individuals with ASD, or a limited spectrum of ASD symptoms.
Recommended Reading: Level 2 Autism Spectrum Disorder
Getting An Autism Diagnosis
Autism is diagnosed by a medical professional, often a pediatrician or specialist.
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders , an autistic person must have both social and behavioral patterns that meet the criteria for autism spectrum disorder.
Someone might receive an autism diagnosis at 18 months or younger, but its more common to get diagnosed around 2 years old.
Still, some people dont get a diagnosis until much older or until adulthood.
When diagnosing ASD, clinicians may look for patterns in communication like:
- difficulty with back-and-forth conversation
- differences in nonverbal communication like facial expressions or body language
- difficulty adjusting behavior to different social settings
A doctor may also look at these behavioral patterns when screening for autism:
- specific movements, actions, or gestures
- strong attachment to routine
- specific, strong interests
- differences in sensory processing
Many autistic people see autism as an identity, not as a condition to be treated. But if youre experiencing challenges related to being autistic, there are many ways to find support, depending on your needs.
Autism Spectrum Disorders : Causes Symptoms And Treatments
Autism spectrum disorders are neurodevelopmental disorders that affect communication and social interaction skills, as well as other behaviors. There are numerous forms of ASD, which all fall under the umbrella term autism spectrum disorder .
Autism has come to be widely understood as one end of the autism spectrum, but all forms of ASD share certain symptoms or characteristics, including repetitive and restricted behavior patterns, impaired language skills, and impairments in understanding nonverbal social cues such as facial expressions and body language.
The degree to which these symptoms are present determines the severity of an individuals condition.
You May Like: Is Biting A Sign Of Autism
Autism Spectrum Disorders And Depression
Young people and adolescents with ASDs also are more likely to have depression. Researchers have found that people with autism spectrum disorders are four times more likely to have depression during their lives.
In addition to feelings of hopelessness and physical symptoms such as tiredness, depression in people with ASDs can consist of:
- Obsessive behaviors
You May Like: Is Dr Shaun Murphy Really Autistic
How Often Asd Occurs
CDCs Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network has been estimating the number of 8-year-old children with ASD in the United States since 2000.
ASD occurs in all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups. It is more than 4 times more common among boys than among girls.
Don’t Miss: Group Homes For Autistic Adults In Minnesota
Brain Shape And Brain Growth During Development
Brain scans of people with autism show that there are differences in certain brain structures as compared to neurotypical people.
During early childhood, the brains of children with autism grow faster than usual. They might also have poor connections between brain cells. In children without autism, a process called pruning doesnt happen as effectively in children with autism.
Epigenetics And The Environment
Autism susceptibility is currently estimated to be 4080% genetic. Environmental factors likely acting through epigenetic regulation as the major mechanism presumably compromise the remainder of the risk. Hundreds of potential environmental factors have been suggested to contribute to risk, such as increased parental age , maternal complications or infections during pregnancy, or prenatal exposure to anticonvulsants . In-depth reviews of these findings can be found elsewhere . In this review, we will only discuss the epigenetic modifying effects of valproic acid an anticonvulsant as one example of the widespread modifications that an environmental factor can induce. Valproic acid has been hypothesized to modify gene expression through histone deacetylase inhibition activity and is sometimes used to induce an autistic phenotype in animal models . Examples of its far-reaching effects include apoptotic cell death in the neocortex, decreased proliferation in the ganglionic eminence, increased homeobox A1 expression, abnormal serotonergic differentiation via Achaete-Scute family BHLH transcription factor 1 silencing, disrupted serotonin homeostasis in the amygdala, dendritic spine loss, reduced prefrontal dopaminergic activity, and disruption of the glutamatergic/GABAergic balance .
Also Check: How To Work With Autistic Children
What Autistic People Have To Say
Through our Stories from the Spectrum series, weve spoken to several autistic people, who have shared their thoughts on this topic, what being autistic is like for them, and some of the positive aspects of being autistic.
âI just seem to see and think about people and the world in a different way. Itâs part of who I am.â John Clark
John Clark, autistic filmmaker, told us:âI just seem to see and think about people and the world in a different way. For instance, I am both confused and fascinated by idioms. Its part of who I am. I used to be very self-conscious about people liking and accepting me, but now, I just think, take me or leave me. Were all different. Some people seem to find live and let live a difficult mantra to grasp though.â
Patrick Samuel, autistic artist and musician, said: âMy autism makes it easy for me to do things a lot of non-autistic people may struggle with. I work intensely when Im painting, writing, composing or doing anything creative. I think being autistic also contributes to my aptitude in problem solving and pattern recognition, which can help me research a highly specialised subject and give talks on it.â
Be Careful About Changing Your Childs Diet
Talk to your doctor before trying something different, like a special diet. Thereâs no hard evidence that special diets help children with ASD. Autism is a complex brain disorder. While it may seem that cutting out certain foods could relieve your childâs symptoms, it might actually cause more harm.
For example, children with autism often have thinner bones. Dairy products have nutrients that can make their bones stronger. Studies on a protein in milk products called casein have found that many children performed the same whether or not they ate foods with this protein. Their autism symptoms didnât change in any remarkable way.
Some evidence shows that people with autism may have low levels of certain vitamins and minerals. This does not cause autism spectrum disorder. But supplements may be suggested to improve nutrition. Vitamin B and magnesium are two of the supplements most often used for people with autism. But people can overdose on these vitamins, so megavitamins should be avoided.
Don’t Miss: How To Treat Hyperactivity In Autism
How Is Asd Diagnosed
ASD symptoms can vary greatly from person to person depending on the severity of the disorder. Symptoms may even go unrecognized for young children who have mild ASD or less debilitating handicaps.
Autism spectrum disorder is diagnosed by clinicians based on symptoms, signs, and testing according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-V, a guide created by the American Psychiatric Association used to diagnose mental disorders. Children should be screened for developmental delays during periodic checkups and specifically for autism at 18- and 24-month well-child visits.
Very early indicators that require evaluation by an expert include:
- no babbling or pointing by age 1
- no single words by age 16 months or two-word phrases by age 2
- no response to name
- excessive lining up of toys or objects
- no smiling or social responsiveness
Later indicators include:
- impaired ability to make friends with peers
- impaired ability to initiate or sustain a conversation with others
- absence or impairment of imaginative and social play
- repetitive or unusual use of language
- abnormally intense or focused interest
- preoccupation with certain objects or subjects
- inflexible adherence to specific routines or rituals
What Are The Symptoms Of Asd
The following are the most common symptoms of ASD. However, each child may experience symptoms differently.
The symptoms of autism may include:
Does not socially interact well with others, including parents:
Shows a lack of interest in, or rejection of, physical contact. Parents describe autistic infants as “unaffectionate.” Autistic infants and children are not comforted by physical contact.
Avoids making eye contact with others, including parents
Fails to develop friends or interact with other children
Does not communicate well with others:
Is delayed or does not develop language
Once language is developed, does not use language to communicate with others
Demonstrates repetitive behaviors:
Has repetitive motor movements
Is preoccupied, usually with lights, moving objects, or parts of objects
Does not like noise
Some children with ASD have:
Normal development of speech, self-help skills, thinking skills , and curiosity about their environment
Difficulty with social interactions such as making friends, sharing ideas, sharing pleasures or accomplishments, facial expressions , or eye contact with others
Repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior or play such as strange routines or rituals
Capable of originality and creativity focused on isolated areas of interest
The symptoms of ASD often resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your child’s doctor for a diagnosis.
You May Like: When Does Autism Start To Show
The Effects Of Autism
People with autism are unable to focus on any important topic or discussion and have difficulty expressing their feelings and emotions.
They even have difficulty understanding the feelings of others.
According to official US statistics, one in 59 school-going children has autism.
According to a study by experts, people who become fathers by the age of 50 have an increased risk of autism in their unborn children and this trend continues from generation to generation.
Experts have not been able to find the final results and treatment for this disease. People with autism like to be isolated and alone, and some need the help of others because they cannot live alone.
Also Check: Can You Develop Autism As An Adult
What Are Autistic Spectrum Disorders
Autism spectrum disorders are a range of neurodevelopmental disorders that can cause social, communication, and behavioral challenges. People with ASD often have difficulty understanding and responding to social cues, which can make it hard for them to interact with others.
There is no one type of ASD, as symptoms and severity can vary widely from person to person. Some people with ASD may need very little support, while others may require more significant assistance.
Children with autism typically develop at an average rate, but have developmental delays in the following areas: language skills, motor skills, intellectual development.
Kids on the autistic spectrum also tend to experience more mood swings than other children their age. Those who dont speak or who have difficulty speaking usually learn how to communicate through alternative methods such as sign language or computers with text-to-speech software.
Even though theres no cure for ASD, treatment has been shown to be effective and is generally lifelong.
The Centers for Disease Control estimates that 1 out of every 68 children in the United States has been diagnosed with some form of ASD.
Read Also: How Soon Can You Tell Autism
How Is Autism Diagnosed
It can be hard to get a definite diagnosis of autism. Your doctor will focus on behavior and development.
For children, diagnosis usually takes two steps.
- A developmental screening will tell your doctor whether your child is on track with basic skills like learning, speaking, behavior, and moving. Experts suggest that children be screened for these developmental delays during their regular checkups at 9 months, 18 months, and 24 or 30 months of age. Children are routinely checked specifically for autism at their 18-month and 24-month checkups.
- If your child shows signs of a problem on these screenings, theyâll need a more complete evaluation. This might include hearing and vision tests or genetic tests. Your doctor might want to bring in someone who specializes in autism disorders, like a developmental pediatrician or a child psychologist. Some psychologists can also give a test called the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule .
If you werenât diagnosed with autism as a child but notice yourself showing signs or symptoms, talk to your doctor.
Disorders Of Amino Acid Metabolism
Epigenetic mechanisms may increase the risk of autism. Epigenetic changes occur as a result not of DNA sequence changes but of chromosomal histone modification or modification of the DNA bases. Such modifications are known to be affected by environmental factors, including nutrition, drugs, and mental stress. Interest has been expressed in imprinted regions on chromosomes 15q and 7q.
Most data supports a polygenic, epistatic model, meaning that the disorder is caused by two or more genes and that those genes are interacting in a complex manner. Several genes, between two and fifteen in number, have been identified and could potentially contribute to disease susceptibility. However, an exact determination of the cause of ASD has yet to be discovered and there probably is not one single genetic cause of any particular set of disorders, leading many researchers to believe that epigenetic mechanisms, such as genomic imprinting or epimutations, may play a major role.
You May Like: Is Spd On The Autism Spectrum
Are There Any Treatments Available
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the best approach to treatment will vary depending on the individual and the specific symptoms they are experiencing.
However, there are a few general things to keep in mind:
- The earlier children receive intervention services , the better their outcomes tend to be.
- Its important for parents to work with professionals who can help them find treatments that work for their child.
- Educating oneself about ASD and working closely with your childs doctor or therapist is key.
If you suspect that your child might have autism spectrum disorder , youre likely concerned about what treatments are available. While its impossible to provide any blanket advice, its worth noting some important factors:
What Is The Difference Between Autism And Autism Spectrum Disorder
The term autism was changed to autism spectrum disorder in 2013 by the American Psychiatric Association. ASD is now an umbrella term that covers the following conditions:
- Autistic disorder.
- Pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified .
- Asperger syndrome.
People with ASD have trouble with social interactions and with interpreting and using non-verbal and verbal communication in social contexts. Individuals with ASD may also have the following difficulties:
- Inflexible interests.
- Insistence on sameness in environment or routine.
- Repetitive motor and sensory behaviors, like flapping arms or rocking.
- Increased or decreased reactions to sensory stimuli.
How well someone with ASD can function in day-to-day life depends on the severity of their symptoms. Given that autism varies widely in severity and everyday impairment, the symptoms of some people arent always easily recognized.
Recommended Reading: Is Autism A Form Of Retardation