Severity And Early Intervention
Studies have shown that early intervention can minimize the overall impact of the disabilities associated with various forms of PDD. The severity of a childâs disability plays an important role in long-term outcomes. However, with early interventions, children with PDD-NOS, Aspergerâs syndrome, and high-functioning autism can learn better communication and social skills, which contribute to a more independent adult life. Children with more severe forms of Autistic Disorder or other PDDs may need ongoing support throughout their lifetime.
There is no way to predict with any certainty which children will live normal lives and which children will need continuing support. It all depends on when they are diagnosed, how they respond to therapies and other interventions, and how severely they are affected by PDD. No matter where these children fall on the spectrum of autistic disorders, every child can live a fuller, more productive life with treatment than without.
Success In Autistic Adults
While it’s relatively rare, quite a few adults with diagnosed autism are moderately to extremely successful people. Some are happily married and partnered, and many are fully employed.
Quite a few;have become role models for young adults on the spectrum who hope to live full, independent lives. Just a few such role models include:
- Temple Grandin, animal husbandry expert, author, and public speaker
- Stephen Shore, author, musician, professor, public speaker
- John Elder Robison, author, and public speaker
- Dan Ackroyd, actor, singer, radio personality
- Daryl Hannah, actor
These individuals and with many others are active autism advocates. Many speak publicly about their experiences and offer resources and insights both to autistic adults and to their family members.
Are Siblings At Greater Risk For Autism Spectrum Disorder
The truth is that genetics do play a role in autism. When one child is diagnosed with ASD, the next child to come along has about a 20% greater risk of developing autism than normal. When the first two children in a family have both been diagnosed with ASD, the third child has about a 32% greater risk of developing ASD.
Also Check: What Kind Of Autism Does Symmetra Have
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.
Some Children Can ‘recover’ From Autism But Problems Often Remain Study Finds
- Albert Einstein College of Medicine
- Research in the past several years has shown that children can outgrow a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder , once considered a lifelong condition. In a new study, researchers have found that the vast majority of such children still have difficulties that require therapeutic and educational support.
Research in the past several years has shown that children can outgrow a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder , once considered a lifelong condition. In a new study, researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Health System have found that the vast majority of such children still have difficulties that require therapeutic and educational support. The study was published online today in the Journal of Child Neurology.
“It’s certainly encouraging to confirm that a subset of children with early ASD diagnosis accompanied by developmental delays can in essence recover from the disorder and go on to have typical social and cognitive functioning,” said lead author Lisa Shulman, M.D., professor of pediatrics at Einstein and interim director of the Rose F. Kennedy Children’s Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center at Montefiore. “But by and large, these children continue to struggle with daily life. Almost all of them still have to contend with language and learning disabilities and a variety of emotional and behavioral problems.”
You May Like: What Is The Life Expectancy Of People With Autism
Group Homes Create Families
Barbara Fischkin also helped create a home for her son Dan. She first shared the story of his miracle group homefunded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and run by the Nassau County Chapter of AHRC, a nonprofit grouptwo years ago. Then, she described it as a newly renovated house on Long Islanda place I call the frat house. Actually, it is a beautiful and smartly designed home that could be a model for such endeavors nationwide. And the guys, who are in their 20s and 30s, are all at the age when leaving home and family and striking out on your owneven if you need lots of staff to helpis something one yearns to do.
Two years later, she reports that Dan, now 24, and his three housemates become more like a family all the time. The guys look out for one another. Dan is still not verbal and has an aide most of the time but is making great progress with independent typing.
Working With A Job Coach
Nat works three days a week, sharing a job coach with two other young men. This coach, paid for by a state allocation, looks out for Nat at his job at CVS stocking coolers, making sure he understands what he is expected to do and stays on task. Hes also about to start a trial run at a second job retrieving shopping carts at a grocery store. Currently Nat spends the other two days in DayHab, short for Day Habilitation Services, meant to help people with developmental disabilities improve or maintain their independent living skills.
DayHab is often babysitting, Senator says, table top activities, coloring, television or sheltered workshops, with very little out in the community, and theres a mixture of disabilities. This isnt true of Nats program, she says; all of his colleagues, as Senator terms them, are developmentally or intellectually delayed, possibly due to autism or Down syndrome.
Half of Nats funding comes from the state, half from Medicaid. After hes given a budget for rent, living expenses, transportation and his job coach, the family works with Nats service provider to come up with ways to stretch the money, Senator says. The family pays for extras like a recent three-day outing with a social group to New Hampshire.
Read Also: What Does The Puzzle Mean For Autism
Grieving The Perfect Child
As a parent, hearing your child has some form of PDD is devastating. Aside from the initial denial, even anger, the most common question in the beginning is can a person live a normal life after PDD diagnosis? What will happen to my child now? Will he or she ever be independent? The questions that run through a parentâs mind in those first few days, weeks, even months, can be far more worrisome than the diagnosis itself.
Itâs hard to digest at first, that this little person you love so much, dreamed about for so long, could possibly be anything less than perfect. Parents often follow the same stages of grieving after such a diagnosis as they would after the loss of a loved one. They must learn to let go of that dream child, the perfect child, they had envisioned. However, grieving does not meaning giving up hope. There is much work ahead to increase their childâs chance of a normal life, albeit an adjusted view of normal. Unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world and not all children diagnosed with PDD live ânormalâ lives. However, a growing percentage of children do go on to live happy, fulfilling independent adult lives.
Common Characteristics Of Aspergers
People suffering from Aspergers syndrome show unique behavioural patterns, however, some common characteristics include:
- Above-average intelligence they are often seen exhibiting a keen interest in a particular subject. For example, having a thorough knowledge of the planetary movements and being the master on that subject.
- Maintaining strict routines/ rituals and facing a challenge with change or transitions
- Due to their lack of social skills, people with Aspergers may only make few friends and are often considered introverts/loners.
- People may find education difficult, due to classrooms being busy and overstimulating, teachers being unable to provide additional support, difficulty with learning new things and writing
- Sensory intolerance- too much noise, visual input or social pressure can cause a person to become overwhelmed
- Feeling lonely, anxious or isolated
- Not understanding concepts such as turn taking and sharing
- Showing a lack of empathy for how other people feel
- Preferring routine and becoming upset when routine is disrupted
- Having little imagination
- Delayed development of motor skills e.g. finding it hard to use cutlery
- Poor handwriting
- Understanding and being able to communicate, but misunderstanding elements of language such as changes in a persons tone of voice
- Having very specific interests that other people may see as excessive or obsessive
Recommended Reading: Do Autistic Toddlers Dance To Music
Associated Medical & Mental Health Conditions
- Autism can affect the whole body.;
- Attention Deficient;Hyperactivity;Disorder ;affects an estimated 30 to 61 percent;of children with autism.;
- More than half;of children with autism;have one or more chronic sleep problems.;
- Anxiety disorders affect an estimated 11 to 40 percent of children and teens on the autism spectrum.;
- Depression affects an estimated 7% of children and 26% of adults with autism.;
- Children with autism are nearly eight times more likely to suffer from one or more chronic;gastrointestinal disorders than are other children.;
- As many as one-third of people with autism have epilepsy;.;
- Studies suggest that schizophrenia affects between 4 and 35 percent of adults with autism. By contrast, schizophrenia affects an estimated 1.1 percent of the general population.;
- Autism-associated health problems extend across the life span from young children to senior citizens.;Nearly a third of 2 to;5 year;olds;with autism are overweight and 16 percent are obese. By contrast, less than a quarter of 2 to;5 year;olds;in the general population are overweight and only 10 percent are medically obese.;
- Risperidone and aripiprazole, the only FDA-approved medications for autism-associated agitation and irritability.;
Autism Results In A Lower
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder , you may have been alarmed by recent studies reporting that people with autism have an average lifespan of 36 years, compared with a 72-year life expectancy for the general population. However, this research does not provide a clear picture of the relationship between ASD and overall health and wellness and remains one of the most disseminated myths about autism.While autism itself does not impact life expectancy, comorbidities and an increased risk of accidents explain these statistics. Many people with an ASD also have one or more comorbid conditions such as epilepsy, asthma, autoimmune disorders, Fragile X syndrome or gastrointestinal disorders, which can affect their health and longevity. People with autism, particularly children, are also much more likely to be injured in a preventable accident than the general population.
Recommended Reading: Lionel Messi Aspergers
How Is Autism Diagnosed
Doctors check babies and little kids for signs of autism at each checkup visit. A parent may think that something is wrong and tell the doctor. Maybe the child is old enough to speak but doesn’t. Or a kid doesn’t seem interested in people or plays in unusual ways.
If the doctor suspects autism, a team of experts will evaluate a child.
Asperger Syndrome And Education
Some children with Aspergers syndrome find mainstream education difficult.
Some find that bullying is an issue that they feel lonely or are unable to keep up with their peers.
This is not to say children with Asperger syndrome are necessarily less intelligent, and many actually have a higher than average IQ, but learning new skills, concentrating and just being within a classroom environment can be challenging for some.
Also Check: Does Autism Affect Life Expectancy
Autism & Medical Complexities
Scott Wright, a researcher at the University at Utah and editor of a book about autism spectrum disorder in middle age and later life, said that the âmedical complexitiesâ of patients with autism, coupled with their limitations in language and communication, can lead to physicians, hospitals, and the health care system at large not being capable of providing the best level of care. It might be possible that patients with severe forms of autism spectrum disorder donât even seek help for their ailments because they are overwhelmed by the awkwardness of talking with other people about themselves.
Wright suggests that a parent or a caregiver should find a specialist or a primary care physician who has training in working with autistic patients or otherwise demonstrates the necessary awareness and empathy for what the experience must be like for an autistic person. Beyond that, Wright recommended that there be more training for health care professionals so that autism can be recognized and appropriately responded to in a clinical setting.
Can Someone With Aspergers Lead A Normal Life
The first question that comes to mind is what is a normal life?
According to the Merriam Webster dictionary normal is conforming to a type, standard, or regular pattern.;
Are any of our lives normal? Do we all fit in the norm? maybe not.
People suffering from Asperger syndrome may have their own version of what is normal for them.;
This blog post provides an insight into the lives of people suffering from Asperger Syndrome while highlighting the characteristics, demystifying the misconceptions and providing ways to cope with Aspergers to lead a normal life.
Autism Can Be Cured With The Right Diet
Parents of children with autism are often willing to try almost anything to help their child thrive, including special diets. Some have even claimed that eliminating foods containing certain proteins or carbohydrates, such as casein or gluten, has cured their childs autism. However, research has found no significant differences between children with autism who followed a special diet and their peers who did not. While a healthy diet is essential for any childs growth and development, there is no known cure for autism.
Great Strengths And Abilities
In general, people with autism are honest and dependable; most are focused on their work and are rarely distracted by social activities or outside interests.
Quite a few have exceptional talents in areas such as computer coding, mathematics, music, drafting, organizing, and visual arts. While it can be tough for autistic adults to set up and manage their own space and schedules, many are outstanding employees.
Some corporations have started to recognize the value of actively recruiting and hiring autistic individuals; a few include:
- Freddie Mac
Recommended Reading: Is Dr Shaun Murphy Really Autistic
So What Do I Want You To Do About It
Ive spent my whole life being told that non-autistic people are so brilliant and intuitive when it comes to social issues. Like many autistic people, though, I havent always felt like Ive seen much empathy, compassion, or understanding. And the evidence is starting to suggest that were not wrong about the level of judgment and stereotyping we face.
If you want to understand people on the spectrum, Id recommend starting with some of the following: Listen to us. Invest in our work. Invest in science and actions that actually make our lives better now instead of chasing a hypothetical cure. Dont kill us. Think twice about sympathizing with the parents who do kill us. Dont rush to armchair-diagnose every mass murderer with autism like what happened with the most recent Florida school shooting. Give your money to marginalized autistic people instead of charities like Autism Speaks, which dedicate only a small percentage of their budget to programs that will actually help autistic people. Think about how hard were working to exist in your world and consider meeting us halfway.
Tell us we dont bore you. Tell us we dont drain you. Look at us somewhere other than the eyes were really not comfortable with eye contact and are tired of being forced to make it for your benefit and tell us that we deserve to be alive.
And then act like it.
Level : Requiring Substantial Support
People who meet the level 2 criteria need more support than those with level 1 autism. Social challenges can make holding a conversation very difficult.
Even with support, the person may find it hard to communicate coherently, and they are more likely to respond in ways that neurotypical people consider surprising or inappropriate.
The person may:
- only discuss very specific topics
- have difficulty understanding or using nonverbal communication, including facial expression
For example, they may face away from the person with whom they are communicating.
People with level 2 autism may also find daily functioning difficult due to the challenges of coping with change. Facing change might cause them to experience significant distress.
How Is Autism Spectrum Disorder Diagnosed
There are no laboratory tests to determine ASD. However, certain healthcare providers receive specific training and can do screenings and evaluations if needed and who might ask parents or teachers to record observations. These providers might include specialized physicians, psychologists and speech-language pathologists.
The Children Who Leave Autism Behind
Autism is usually thought to be a lifelong condition, but a small number of children lose the core symptoms and shed the diagnosis. Some researchers are beginning to explore how common this may be, and why some children outgrow autism.
by Siri Carpenter;/;7 September 2015
Alex, aged 10, bounds onto his bed to pose with his Aaron Rodgers poster, grinning as proudly as if he had recruited the Green Bay Packers quarterback himself. Continuing the tour of his suburban New York bedroom, he points out his Packers-themed alarm clock, his soccer trophy, his Boy Scout trophy and then the big reveal: a homemade foam box in Packers green and gold.
Mmm, very nice, I say. Alex grins part shy, part sly as he turns it around to show me the message on the back: Jets stink.
Even though he seems to be an entirely ordinary boy, theres something unusual about Alex: He once had autism, and now he does not. There was a time when Alexs parents didnt know if he would ever speak in full sentences, let alone joke around with a stranger. His autism, they suspected, might prevent any such future.
Alexs parents began to worry about him before he was even 1 year old. He wasnt learning to sit, crawl or stand as his fraternal twin brother was. Even more striking was how much less social he was compared with his brother.
You May Like: Average Life Expectancy Of Someone With Autism