Diagnosing Autism Spectrum Disorder
In order to determine whether your child has autism spectrum disorder or another developmental condition, clinicians look carefully at the way your child interacts with others, communicates, and behaves. Diagnosis is based on the patterns of behavior that are revealed.
If you are concerned that your child has autism spectrum disorder and developmental screening confirms the risk, ask your family doctor or pediatrician to refer you immediately to an autism specialist or team of specialists for a comprehensive evaluation. Since the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder is complicated, it is essential that you meet with experts who have training and experience in this highly specialized area.
The team of specialists involved in diagnosing your child may include:
Diagnosing Autism Spectrum Disorder is not a brief process. There is no single medical test that can diagnose it definitively instead, in order to accurately pinpoint your childs problem, multiple evaluations and tests may be necessary.
Social Communication And Interaction Skills
Social communication and interaction skills can be challenging for people with ASD.
Examples of social communication and social interaction characteristics related to ASD can include:
- Avoids or does not keep eye contact
- Does not respond to name by 9 months of age
- Does not show facial expressions like happy, sad, angry, and surprised by 9 months of age
- Does not play simple interactive games like pat-a-cake by 12 months of age
- Uses few or no gestures by 12 months of age
- Does not share interests with others
- Does not point or look at what you point to by 18 months of age
- Does not notice when others are hurt or sad by 24 months of age
- Does not pretend in play
- Shows little interest in peers
- Has trouble understanding other peoples feelings or talking about own feelings at 36 months of age or older
- Does not play games with turn taking by 60 months of age
How Is Autism Treated
There is no cure for ASD. Therapies and behavioral interventions are designed to remedy specific symptoms and can substantially improve those symptoms. The ideal treatment plan coordinates therapies and interventions that meet the specific needs of the individual. Most health care professionals agree that the earlier the intervention, the better.
Educational/behavioral interventions: Early behavioral/educational interventions have been very successful in many children with ASD. In these interventions therapists use highly structured and intensive skill-oriented training sessions to help children develop social and language skills, such as applied behavioral analysis, which encourages positive behaviors and discourages negative ones. In addition, family counseling for the parents and siblings of children with ASD often helps families cope with the particular challenges of living with a child with ASD.
You May Like: What Is The Symbol For Autism
Where Can I Get More Information
For more information on neurological disorders or research programs funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, contact the Institute’s Brain Resources and Information Network at:
Office of Communications and Public LiaisonNational Institute of Neurological Disorders and StrokeNational Institutes of HealthBethesda, MD 20892
NINDS health-related material is provided for information purposes only and does not necessarily represent endorsement by or an official position of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke or any other Federal agency. Advice on the treatment or care of an individual patient should be obtained through consultation with a physician who has examined that patient or is familiar with that patient’s medical history.
Clinical Development And Diagnoses
Leo Kannerearly infantile autism
The word autism first took its modern sense in 1938 when Hans Asperger of the Vienna University Hospital adopted Bleuler’s terminology autistic psychopaths in a lecture in German about child psychology. Asperger was investigating an ASD now known as Asperger syndrome, though for various reasons it was not widely recognized as a separate diagnosis until 1981.Leo Kanner of the Johns Hopkins Hospital first used autism in its modern sense in English when he introduced the label early infantile autism in a 1943 report of 11 children with striking behavioral similarities. Almost all the characteristics described in Kanner’s first paper on the subject, notably “autistic aloneness” and “insistence on sameness”, are still regarded as typical of the autistic spectrum of disorders. It is not known whether Kanner derived the term independently of Asperger.
Kanner’s reuse of autism led to decades of confused terminology like infantile schizophrenia, and child psychiatry’s focus on maternal deprivation led to misconceptions of autism as an infant’s response to “refrigerator mothers“. Starting in the late 1960s autism was established as a separate syndrome.
Recommended Reading: Autism Visual Schedule
Treatment And Development Strategies For The Types Of Autism
Children with less extreme forms of autism, such as Level 1 Autism Spectrum Disorder, can benefit from social skills classes as well as taking part in behavioral modification to help with possible obsessive tendencies. In some cases, an altered diet free of preservatives, gluten, artificial sugars, and food coloring can be beneficial. Since many children with Level 1 ASD are advanced learners, looking into differentiated curriculum to challenge and hold their attention can provide numerous benefits.
Similarly, children diagnosed with PDD-NOS can greatly benefit from strategic changes in nutrition combined with occupational therapy and classes in life-skills development.
Girls with Rett Syndrome often need lifelong care because other symptoms may appear or grow more severe as the child ages. Difficulty breathing, cognitive disabilities, grinding teeth, seizures, and growth delays may all need ongoing treatment options. Physical therapy can help increase mobility and straighten limbs, while occupational therapy may help reduce involuntary movements and promote self care. Finally, speech therapy, diet modification, and certain medications can help control seizures.
Childhood Disintegrative Disorder requires early intervention on the part of doctors and parents via specialized and focused nutrition and speech and occupational therapy. Behavior modification helps children cope with this type of autism.
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.
Read Also: Is Dr Shaun Murphy Really Autistic
What Are The Different Types Of Autism The Many Autism Types Explained
What are the different types of autism? No really, what are the different types of autism? This isnt a rhetorical question because after spending this week searching for a definitive answer as to what the different types of autism are, I have come away with the suspicious feeling that, if were honest, no one knows for sure.
Nevertheless, depending on your location in the world and what diagnosis criteria you are using, knowing the different types of autism is a must for finding the correct support. This is why, today, I have done my best to pull together a full list of the different types of autism, as well as where and why a condition finds itself on this ever-changing spectrum.
Terms For Types Of Autism That Are No Longer Used Today
When autism was categorized by types, the lines between the different types of autism could be blurry. Diagnosis was, and still is, complicated and often stressful for families.
If you or your child received a diagnosis before the DSM-5 changed, you may still be using the older terminology . Thats OK. Your doctor may continue to use those terms if they help.
There Are 5 Different Types Of Autism Disorders
ByShawn Johnson | Submitted On October 17, 2008
Autism is a complex developmental disability with many different levels of severity. Technically, there is one diagnosis that is Autism. People do however refer to the Pervasive Developmental Disorders as disorders on the Autism spectrum or Autism Spectrum Disorders . Autism Spectrum Disorders are developmental brain disorders that cause impaired social interaction, problems with verbal and nonverbal communication, and unusual, repetitive, or severely limited activities and interests. Autism is just one of five different types of Autism disorders.
Below are definitions and characteristics of the five different autism disorders.
Autism is the second leading childhood developmental disorder and is considered the most severe of the different types of Autism disorders. People with Classic Autism develop language late, or not at all. People affected with Classic Autism have difficulties talking with other people or a profound lack of affection or emotional contact with others, an intense wish for sameness in routines, muteness or abnormality of speech, high levels of Visio-spatial skills, but major learning difficulties in other areas. Symptoms of autism usually appear during the first three years of childhood and continue throughout life. Autism is a spectrum disorder because the severity of impairment in each of these areas differs in each individual.
Childhood Disintegrative Disorder:
The Journey From Classical Autism To Autism Spectrum Disorder
Till about the 1970s, the classical autism studies included all shades of ASD bundled under a generic term Autism.
Today, however, physicians, therapists, and researchers consider each of these five categories while referring to specific autism symptoms:
- Autistic Disorder also known as Classical Autism
- Aspersers Syndrome
- Childhood disintegrative disorder also referred to as CDD
Recommended Reading: Is The Good Doctor Actor Autistic
Getting Evaluated For Autism Spectrum Disorder
Parent interview In the first phase of the diagnostic evaluation, you will give your doctor background information about your childs medical, developmental, and behavioral history. If you have been keeping a journal or taking notes on anything thats concerned you, share that information. The doctor will also want to know about your familys medical and mental health history.
Medical exam The medical evaluation includes a general physical, a neurological exam, lab tests, and genetic testing. Your child will undergo this full screening to determine the cause of their developmental problems and to identify any co-existing conditions.
Hearing test Since hearing problems can result in social and language delays, they need to be excluded before an Autism Spectrum Disorder can be diagnosed. Your child will undergo a formal audiological assessment where they are tested for any hearing impairments, as well as any other hearing issues or sound sensitivities that sometimes co-occur with autism.
Observation Developmental specialists will observe your child in a variety of settings to look for unusual behavior associated with the Autism Spectrum Disorder. They may watch your child playing or interacting with other people.
Lead screening Because lead poisoning can cause autistic-like symptoms, the National Center for Environmental Health recommends that all children with developmental delays be screened for lead poisoning.
The 3 Steps For Autism Spectrum Diagnosis
Step 1: Learning the Signs
- The first 6 months are crucial, regardless of gender.
Step 2: Get Your Child Screened
- Most of the time doctors can detect ASD at or before 18 months
- Experienced professionals can give a reliable diagnosis by the age of 2 years old.
Step 3: Access Services
- If diagnosed with autism, get your child the necessary help as soon as possible.
- Get specific tools and resources to help guide you through your first steps.
You May Like: Can A Child Outgrow Autism
Childhood Disintegrative Disorder/hellers Syndrome/regressive Autism
Okay, so Im not going to sugar coat it, those who have found a place on the spectrum due to this last PDD: Childhood Disintegrative Disorder have often been given a raw deal. This is because, those who have CDD, will usually experienece an unimaginable level of distress between the ages of 0-3 when, seemingly out of nowhere, the condition kicks in, causing a quick regression of social and motor skills to the point where sensory processing are often worse than the average autists.
Level : Requiring Very Substantial Support
The communication issues a person with Level 3 ASD may face include:
- severe issues in both verbal and nonverbal social communication, which severely impair functioning
- very limited initiation of social interactions
- minimal response to social interaction from others
- using few words of intelligible speech
- unusual methods of meeting social needs and responding to only very direct approaches
The repetitive behavioral issues a person with Level 3 ASD may face include:
- inflexible behavior
The levels of ASD correspond to the severity of the autism symptoms described above and the degree of support required.
In addition, it is important to keep in mind that the amount of support an autistic person needs can vary according to different ages or situations.
Also Check: Can A Child Outgrow Autism
Diagnosis And Levels Of Autism Spectrum Disorder
Medical professionals can carry out screening for autism in the first few years of a childs life.
Doctors diagnose ASD by assessing the differences and signs listed above, interacting with the child or observing interactions between the child and parent or caregiver, and asking parents and caregivers questions.
There were previously four different types of autism. However, the DSM5 now lists three different levels of ASD, which doctors determine according to the amount of support an individual requires.
However, it is important to note that many mental health professionals do not find these levels helpful, instead preferring to diagnose people with autism based on the spectrum as a whole rather than classifying them using levels.
The three levels of ASD are:
Types Of Autism Spectrum Disorder
Autism spectrum disorder is hard. That diagnosis reminds you that life has changed forever.
You struggle with denial, asking, Is this real? Can I handle this? Youre frustrated and confused with all the uncertainty. And youre exhausted, questioning your knowledge and capacity to love.
Autism puts a strain on so much of your emotions.
And hereâs the kicker.
All these emotions get mixed up and before you know it, youre having a major meltdown.
Its too much to process, and you want something simple, yet helpful.
With 1 in 50 children obtaining a diagnosis of autism, things get complicated. Added to that, there is no cure. For this reason, getting the information needed to thrive is a must.
Parents and children need to learn about how this condition affects their life. And thatâs not easy to cope with.
Thatâs where I come in.
Learning how to interact with an autistic child is major because it sets you up for success.
This is why you must arm yourself with the right information to ensure success.
So, letâs get started.
Don’t Miss: Can Aspergers Be Outgrown
Different Types Of Autism Spectrum Disorders
While ASD refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication, we know that there is not one autism but many different types. The reason why autism is referred to as a spectrum disorder is because each autistic person holds a distinct set of strengths and challenges. The different autism types that exist include:2
Types Of Autism Spectrum Disorders Explained
There can be a bit of confusion surrounding autism and its various types. Leaving aside the entire vaccinations-causing-autism-in-children clusterf*ck , there was a diagnostic shift in 2013 that may have left some disorder in its wake. The DSM, or Diagnostic Statistical Manual, is used to define psychiatric disorders worldwide, and has been through many different editions â and its 2013 edition decided to make a classification change. Instead of disorders like Asperger’s and Childhood Disintegrative Disorder being treated as separate problems, they’ve all been dissolved and put under one label: autism spectrum disorder.
It was a controversial decision, and it makes talking about “types” of autism a bit trickier. According to the organization Autism Spectrum, labels like Asperger’s have now been left in favor of diagnosis in terms of severity on two levels: “deficits in social communication, and fixated interests and repetitive behavior”. It seems, however, that medical organizations and autism charities still find the old categories helpful to talk about kinds of autism: places like the National Autistic Society and Autism Speaks still use them. So bear in mind that any guide to the “types” of autism is always going to be subject to argument.
Don’t Miss: Heritability Of Autism
What Are The Three Types Of Autism Spectrum Disorders
Just like there is more than one type of anxiety disorder, diabetes, or developmental disorder, there is more than one type of autism. In anxiety, for example, there are five completely separate types, each with their own symptoms, some unique to the other types and some types sharing similar symptoms on a spectrum. Autism Spectrum Disorder is considered the broad term for autism, but there are actually three separate sub-types that fit within the ASD category.
When you think about a spectrum, think of seeing different shades of blue all together in one band. All of the shades are technically blue, but they range from lightest to darkest. You can also think of a rating scale with two extremes or opposite points. The term autism spectrum disorder should be viewed similarly there is a spectrum of symptoms that someone with autism can exhibit, ranging from mild to severe.
You may be one of the millions of people around the world affected by autism. Or you might know someone personally affected by the disorder or have realized its impact on people and the world. Either way, it is encouraged that you educate yourself on what autism is and what the three types of autism spectrum disorders are. In doing so, you will have a better understanding about the disorder, which can help you to interact and communicate more effectively with individuals who are on the spectrum and to put yourself in their shoes.
The three types of ASD that will be discussed are:
Is Rett Syndrome An Asd
Children with Rett syndrome often have behaviors similar to autism, and experts used to group it among spectrum disorders. But now that itâs known to be caused by a genetic mutation, itâs no longer considered an ASD.
National Institute of Mental Health: “Autism Spectrum Disorders.”
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: “Asperger Syndrome Fact Sheet.”
Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry: âSpecifying PDD-NOS: A Comparison of PDD-NOS, Asperger Syndrome, and Autism.â
Psychiatric Clinics of North America: âThe autistic spectrum: subgroups, boundaries, and treatment.â
Spectrum: âReclassification of Rett syndrome diagnosis stirs concerns.â
Rettsyndrome.org: âWhat is Rett Syndrome?â
Autism Speaks: âAsperger Syndrome,â âAbout Autism: Why Was My Child Diagnosed with Autism? And What Does It Mean?â
Centers for Disease Control: âFacts About ASD.â
Also Check: Is Level 2 Autism High Functioning