Why An Early Diagnosis Matters
Being autistic does not change as children get older: If a child is autistic, they will remain autistic. It is a core part of them.
All children grow and change in their own individual ways, whether they are neurotypical or neurodivergent, Hartman says.
Early diagnosis teaches children how to understand and embrace their autism as a vital part of who they are so they can advocate for themselves and learn how to cope with some of their sensory challenges.
Other children who do not receive such understanding or who are stigmatized and made to feel lesser than because of their autism can experience significant mental health issues in later life, Hartman adds.
A correct autism diagnosis allows an autistic individual to understand their identity and link them to a community with like-minded people. An early diagnosis marks the beginning of an autistic childs journey toward self-understanding and self-acceptance.
A diagnosis helps everyone around the child to understand why they might act a certain way, and then they can change their reactions, Hartman says. For example, allowing a child to flap or rock if they want to, as stimming is a natural part of being autistic.
What is really important is the information given to parents during the assessment that autism is presented as a different neurotype and valid way to be in this world, Hartman says.
Some Autistic People Report Poor Quality Of Life But Many Do Not
by Peter Hess / 6 November 2020
Autistic people vary widely in their quality of life, a new study shows1. Some report shortcomings in their physical health and school achievement, among other areas, but many do not.
To help autistic people improve their well-being and satisfaction with life, researchers need a better understanding of what matters to individuals, says lead researcher Eva Loth, senior lecturer in forensic and neurodevelopmental sciences at Kings College London in the United Kingdom.
Its really important to consider each person and their circumstances individually, understand what aspect of quality of life is affected, why, and then decide with them what may be the most useful support, Loth says.
Autistic people often report having a lower quality of life than non-autistic people do, a trend driven in part by social isolation and a diminished belief in their own capabilities, according to a study published earlier this year. They are also more likely to have anxiety or depression, which can impact a persons ability to function in society and achieve life goals.
The new work suggests that anxiety and depression, not autism traits, explain why many autistic people score lower than non-autistic people across various measures of quality of life. It also shows that this gap closes for some autistic adults and children within specific areas, including physical health, leisure activities and school achievement.
Impact On Parents And Caregivers
Nicole Buerkens, PhD, a licensed clinical psychologist in the Grand Rapids, Michigan, area, says that parents of autistic children often feel overwhelmed and underprepared even before a child is diagnosed.
Parents know that something is developmentally off track with their child, and theyre also dealing with a lot of other challenges on a daily basis, Buerkens says.
When a child receives an autism diagnosis, some caregivers may not be able to get appropriate support for their child due to their location, availability of services, or financial situation.
In Buerkens experience, oftentimes families feel guilty for having a range of emotions regarding their childs autism diagnosis, including fear, anxiety, and frustration. They might not know how best to support their child, or whom they can trust regarding treatment and support.
Research from 2009 shows that mothers of autistic children, who tend to be a childs primary caregiver and decision maker, experienced more stress and fatigue than mothers of children without ASD.
In addition, other research from 2009 indicated that mothers of autistic teens were more likely to have higher levels of cortisol, the stress hormone.
While one 2014 study noted that mothers of autistic children were more likely to experience post-traumatic stress disorder , the research was limited to white professionals and not indicative of the general population.
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Autism Lifespan And Life Expectancy
Autism spectrum disorder is often thought of as a childhood condition, with public attention focused primarily on children and the importance of early detection and intervention. However, autism is a lifelong condition, and the available, necessary supports and treatments change as people on the spectrum move through major life phases.
Autism itself doesnt impact life expectancy. Lifestyle does. And the great thing about autism is that once you get into a healthy lifestyle, you are inclined to stay in it. It really depends on peoples lifestyles and how severe the persons autism is.
Like everyone else, people on the autism spectrum move through significant life changes. Their quality of life depends not only on the foundation provided in childhood but also on ongoing supports that are specific to their educational, medical, social, recreational, family and employment needs.
Low life expectancy is not only a problem faced by people with severe cases of autism, where completing everyday tasks is difficult, but also for those who have a high-functioning form of the condition, and who can live and work autonomously despite their diagnosis.
When you have high-functioning autism, you are acutely aware of the shortcomings in your life compared to other people you know who dont have autism. These challenges often give rise to anxiety and other mental health difficulties.
How Can Autism Affect Your Childs Ability To Learn In The Classroom
Children with autism spectrum disorders can struggle in a traditional classroom setting. Schools are designed to teach one type of learner, and not geared towards children with learning differences. The following are three core deficits of individuals with autism spectrum disorders that can interfere with their ability to succeed in this setting, and can impact their ability to access the current academic curriculum. Understanding the reasons that a child is struggling is the first step to helping them succeed.
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Who Resolution On Autism Spectrum Disorders
In May 2014, the Sixty-seventh World Health Assembly adopted a resolution entitled “Comprehensive and coordinated efforts for the management of autism spectrum disorders ,” which was supported by more than 60 countries.
The resolution urges WHO to collaborate with Member States and partner agencies to strengthen national capacities to address ASD and other developmental disabilities.
Deficits In Theory Of Mind
Theory of mind is the cognitive process, or ability to mind-read the ability to interpret and understand the world around us. It is the intuitive knowledge that children develop in the preschool years that other people have thoughts, knowledge, beliefs, and desires that will influence their behaviors. This knowledge allows us to be able to relate to, and understand the behaviors of others. The lack of theory of mind, coupled with missing social cues, and misinterpreting vocal intonations and body language often results in a misunderstanding of another persons intentions. When areas of auditory processing and communications are also affected, a student can misinterpret the reasons for being punished, and interpret what is happening to them as injustice, or being picked onmisinterpreting the teachers intentions. When asked why they received a punishment in school , they often cannot convey accurate information about the event. In these cases, the children have no idea, or are completely wrong about why they were disciplined.
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Can A Person With Autism Spectrum Disorder Live An Independent Adult Life
The simple answer to this question is yes, a person with autism spectrum disorder can live independently as an adult. However, not all individuals achieve the same level of independence. The focus of intervention services is to help the individual achieve their highest possible level of independence, and that wont look the same for everyone.
Because ASD is variable , treatment plans should be individualized and focused on each persons passions, interests, and skillsets. With the scientifically-validated Applied Behavior Analysis treatments available at Therapeutic Pathways, your family member with ASD will develop skills that will help them tremendously in navigating everyday life and meeting goals.
There are various degrees and stages of independence. Depending on how early your family member was diagnosed and began treatment, you should treat the journey to independence as just that a journey. It wont happen overnight it will take patience and perseverance to help your family member become more independent.
Effects Of Autism On Social Development
- Lack of Empathy- Many autistic children lack the ability to see things from another persons perspective such as their knowledge, feelings, and intentions based on social cues such as gestures and facial expressions.
- Making friends in real life and maintaining those friendships often proves to be difficult for children with autism. Autistic children often seem to prefer being alone and may passively accept such things as hugs and cuddling without reciprocating, or resist attention altogether
- Behavioral Issues- Children may face difficulty regulating their behavior, resulting in crying, verbal outbursts and also self-injuring behavior. They are not able to adapt to change. However, as the child matures and receives education/training, he or she can gradually learn to control and cope with difficult situations and changes.
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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
Parenting A Child With Autism
Discovering that your child has autism can change your life tremendously. Notwithstanding your deep love for your child, parents can experience feelings of grief, anger, fear, and stress. Parents may worry that their vision for the childs future has disappeared, that their relationship with their spouse will be strained, that the family will face mounting financial pressures. Its natural to feel overwhelmed.
But know that autism is a common conditionaround 1 of every 54 children has a diagnosisand treatments have helped many children with autism go on to live full, meaningful lives. There are advocacy organizations, support groups, mental health professionals, and loved ones who are ready to support you and your child to the fullest.
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Fact Versus Fiction 6 Myths About Autism Dispelled
Since first being recognized as a mental health condition in the mid-twentieth century, autism has remained popularly misunderstood. In the 1950s, the refrigerator mother hypothesis took root in the public consciousness, leading many to believe that autism was caused by mothers who neglected to warmly nurture their children. Long since disproved, it leaves in its wake myriad other myths about autism, the continuance of which can lead to adverse outcomes for people with this condition.Combating this misinformation is important to increasing autism awareness and ensure the kind treatment of people with autism. In this post, we will dispel six common myths about autism and explore the facts surrounding each of these claims.
People With Autism Cannot Get Full
For people with an ASD, professional success often depends on finding a position where they can best leverage their strengths. Many people with autism are making significant contributions in a variety of fields including science, engineering, technology and the arts. Check out our post on great career paths for teens with autism for examples of prominent people with an ASD and occupations that may be a great fit for individuals on the spectrum.If you are the parent or guardian of someone with autism, resources are available to help them achieve their full potential. Lexington Services offers a variety of educational, behavioral and social support services for people with autism and their families. to learn more about our services, or contact us to schedule a tour.
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Identifying Weaknesses And Teaching Key Skills
ASD is identified early on in screening tests done on all children during regular checkups. Once confirmed and diagnosed, its a good idea to schedule appointments with an expert on ASD to assess developmental issues and identify issues that need to be addressed through intervention.
Early intervention for children on the spectrum can lead to marked improvements on all levels, from improving communication to behavioral control and planning. Applied Behavior Analysis, or ABA, is a particularly effective tool in helping reinforce techniques that seem to help a child understand concepts they have trouble with.
People With Autism Tend To Die Younger
March 18, 2016 — People with autism pass away younger on average than those without the condition, according to recent research.
The Swedish study found that adults with autism and a learning disability are 40 times more likely to die early due to a neurological condition than those in the general population.
Adults with autism, but without an additional learning disability, were nine times more likely to die from suicide than those without autism.
The Swedish study, carried out by the Karolinska Institute, was based on the health records of 27,122 autistic adults diagnosed between 1987 and 2009, compared with more than 2 million people in the general population.
The researchers found that people with autism died 16 years earlier at an average age of 54. Adults with the condition and learning disabilities died more than 30 years earlier than people without autism at an average age of 39.5 years. Adults with autism and without a learning disability died on average 12 years earlier, at 58.
The condition affects how people communicate and relate to others, and it influences how they make sense of the world around them. Symptoms can range from mild to very severe.
More than 3.5 million Americans live with an autism spectrum disorder, research suggests. It affects 1 in 68 children, the CDC estimates.
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Adults With Aspergers Syndrome
Another type of autism, Asperger syndrome, can be diagnosed during school or adolescence. The symptoms are much less obvious. It is a lifelong condition but it is quite possible to make progress. Adults with this symptom are more successful in improving their abilities. They can also improve themselves in being much more aware of social cues, such as body language.
Adult people with Aspergers syndrome may not be inclined to prefer live alone. Most of them get married and have children. Unlike the attention disorder in autism, individuals with asperger syndrome can focus for a long time and behave very precisely on details. The ability to focus longer and the attention they give to details can also enable them to achieve a highly successful careers in business life. Moreover, they have a great tendency to advance their careers in engineering, science and technology.
It is very importance to initiate treatment of autism early in childhood so that much more improvement can be achieved. When you install the Otsimo app on your phone or tablet, you can easily access games that will attract your childs attention and you can contribute to his/her development.
The Causes Of Early Death
The researchers reported suicide was one of the leading causes of early death among people with ASD.
In fact, the researchers concluded suicide rates of people with ASD who had no cognitive disability were nine times higher than the general population.
Previous studies had shown that 30 percent to 50 percent of people with ASD have considered suicide, according to a report issued last week by the nonprofit organization Autistica.
The suicide rate is higher among girls with ASD and people with milder forms of the condition.
The experts said thats because this group are more aware of their condition and possible difficulties assimilating.
In addition, bullying can be a daily occurrence for people with ASD. Anxiety and depression are common responses to such treatment. Both of those mental health stresses are leading factors in suicide.
This is the emotional cost of being excluded from society, Steve Silberman, the author of NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity, told Healthline.
The Swedish researchers also noted that epilepsy is common among people with ASD and the likelihood of developing it increases with age.
The researchers estimated 20 to 40 percent of people with ASD also have epilepsy compared with 1 percent of the general population.
People with ASD and cognitive disabilities, the researchers added, are 40 times more likely than the general population to die prematurely from a neurological condition.
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How Autism Affects Me
My name is Daniel. I was diagnosed with autistic spectrum condition when I was three years old. I prefer to call it ASC and not ASD as I don’t consider my autism to be a disorder its simply who I am, or at least part of who I am. If you removed my autism it would be like removing my blue eyes or my love of chocolate.
When I think about what autism does to my life I think two things stand out.
One is it has made me focus on specific things which I enjoy and enables me to become very knowledgeable about them. I can retain a huge amount of information and my brain is almost photographic because if something interests me I can recite an article on it almost word for word. On the downside some things are very difficult for me to remember, like tasks I need to complete, because often my mind is full of the information I enjoy and it sometimes feels there is no room left for other things. That can be difficult as I have been known to forget to do things.
My other big issue is social communication. I’ve always found it difficult to make friends and this is a big disappointment as its something I would love. I recently made a really good friend at my youth group and we had so much in common and talked about things we enjoyed but unfortunately the youth group couldn’t let my friend stay as it got very full and he lived outside the area the group covered. That felt very unfair.