Sunday, July 14, 2024

Is Autism A Disability Or Disorder

Don't Miss

Can Someone Receive Disability Benefits For Autism

What Is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Yes, the Social Security Administration has two kinds of autism disability benefits for eligible individuals, including:

  • Social Security Disability Income : This is intended for adults who have worked in the past but now cannot due to disability
  • Supplemental Security Income : This is for disabled children and adults of lower income, and they do not need to have worked in the past to qualify

The various medical conditions and eligibility criteria are specified in the Social Security Administrations Impairment Listing Manual, also known as the blue book.

Parents of children under 18 with autism may qualify for SSI benefits, and people with autism who are 18 or older may qualify for either SSI or SSDI benefits. Adults with autism who have never worked may be eligible for SSDI benefits, based on their parents employment history.

The SSA provides a free, downloadable booklet titled Benefits for Children With Disabilities. While not specific to autism, it is a useful resource and starting point for understanding federal SSA programs for parents of children with disabilities. The booklet also covers SSDI benefits for adults who have been disabled since childhood.

Families of children who receive social security disability and SSI benefits for autism may be eligible for medical benefits, including:

  • Medicaid and Medicare
  • Childrens Health Insurance Program
  • Special access to health care services under the Children with Special Health Care Need provision of the SSA

Autistic People May Act In A Different Way To Other People

Autistic people may:

  • find it hard to communicate and interact with other people
  • find it hard to understand how other people think or feel
  • find things like bright lights or loud noises overwhelming, stressful or uncomfortable
  • get anxious or upset about unfamiliar situations and social events
  • take longer to understand information
  • do or think the same things over and over

If you think you or your child may be autistic, get advice about the signs of autism.

Relationship Between Intellectual Disability And Asd

In 2008, the Center for Disease Control conducted a study examining the relationship between intellectual disabilities and ASD. They concluded that around 38% of children with ASD also had an intellectual disability. Researchers are still trying to establish if there is a genetic link between the two. Lately researchers found different genes associated with these two formation.

Because intellectual disabilities have such a high occurrence in children with ASD, it is important to determine early on whether or not your child has an intellectual disability. If you suspect that your child with ASD may also have an intellectual disability, the first step will be to have him or her examined by a pediatrician to rule out any physical issues, like hearing loss or visual impairment, which can often cause similar symptoms. Afterwards, a child psychiatrist or school psychologist will conduct one or several standard intelligence tests. An IQ of 70 or below indicates intellectual disability. While a low IQ is a cause for concern, it is also possible that the child with ASD has merely not yet learned the skill sets tested. This is why repeated testing over the years will confirm or refute an intellectual disability diagnosis.

An ASD and intellectual disability diagnosis does not mean that your child will lag behind his or her peers or never develop life skills. On the contrary, with the right support, many of these children are able to achieve lifes milestones and become independent.

Also Check: What Is The Life Expectancy Of People With Autism

No Link Between Autism And Immunisation

Any link between immunisation and autism has been completely discredited.

During the 1990s, concern in the community about a possible link between the measles, mumps, rubella vaccine and autism was generated by the findings of research conducted in London in 1998. The Wakefield study has since been discredited and withdrawn by the journal that originally published it. Dr Wakefields registration as a doctor in the United Kingdom has also been cancelled.

Extensive research conducted globally for a decade did not establish any link between vaccines and autism.

Social Security Disability Income

Autism Spectrum Disorder Pediatric Therapy In Chicago

Social security for adults with autism includes both the SSI and SSDI programs. Social security disability benefits for autism may carry over from childhood to adulthood for people who were receiving social security disability for autism on their parents social security record.

The SSDI program is for adults who are disabled from working. It is usually based on the recipients income before they became disabled. If the disability began before age 22, however, it can be based on the recipients parental income.

Once a child reaches age 18, the blue book adult criteria for disability determination takes effect, and these differ from the childhood criteria.

You May Like: Is Level 2 Autism High Functioning

Learning Disabilities In Language

Language and communication learning disabilities involve the ability to understand or produce spoken language. Language is also considered an output activity because it requires organizing thoughts in the brain and calling upon the right words to verbally explain or communicate something.

Signs of a language-based learning disorder involve problems with verbal language skills, such as the ability to retell a story, the fluency of speech, and the ability to understand the meaning of words, directions, and the like.

Signs And Symptoms Of Learning Disabilities: Ages 10

  • Difficulty with reading comprehension or math skills.
  • Trouble with open-ended test questions and word problems.
  • Dislikes reading and writing avoids reading aloud.
  • Poor handwriting.
  • Poor organizational skills .
  • Trouble following classroom discussions and expressing thoughts aloud.
  • Spells the same word differently in a single document.

Paying attention to developmental milestones can help you identify learning disorders

Paying attention to normal developmental milestones for toddlers and preschoolers is very important. Early detection of developmental differences may be an early signal of a learning disability and problems that are spotted early can be easier to correct.

A developmental lag might not be considered a symptom of a learning disability until your child is older, but if you recognize it when your child is young, you can intervene early. You know your child better than anyone else does, so if you think there is a problem, it doesnt hurt to get an evaluation. You can also ask your pediatrician for a developmental milestones chart or access one in the Get more help section below.

Recommended Reading: Is It Okay To Self Diagnose Autism

Autism And Intellectual Disability

About 1% of the general population is thought to have intellectual disability, and about 10% of individuals with intellectual disability have Autism Spectrum Disorder or autistic traits. However, a much higher percentage of individuals with ASD have intellectual disability3.

The incidence of autism is 1 in 68 births in the United States. The occurrence is about 4.5 times more common in boys with a 1 in 42 incidence rate and girls have a rate of 1 in 1892.

About 1 in 6 children in the United States had a developmental disability in 2006-2008, ranging from mild disabilities such as speech and language impairments to serious developmental disabilities, such as intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy, and autism2.

Common Conditions Among People With Autism

Can your Child get Disability Benefits Based on the Autism Disorder.

While many people with autism are misdiagnosed with other types of mental illness, many are also appropriately diagnosed with both autism and mental illness. In fact, mental illness is more common among people with autism than it is among the general population.

The most common co-occurring mental illnesses for people with autism include depression and anxiety.

It’s not completely clear why this may be the case. One theory suggests that there is a genetic link between autism and mental illness. Another theory points to the extreme challenges of living in the modern world with autism. The fact is that for many people with autism, it is anxiety-provoking and depressing to attempt to overcome social, sensory, and/or intellectual challenges that are simply part of who they are.

In addition to mental illness, many children and adults with autism receive additional developmental diagnoses. While it can be argued in many cases that the symptoms are associated with autism, it is sometimes helpful to know that a child is both autistic and, for example, diagnosable with ADHD, learning disabilities, hyperlexia, Savant Syndrome, or another disorder.

A secondary diagnosis, while it may or may not be completely appropriate, can sometimes provide direction for therapy, academic support, and services. Hopefully, in doing so, this could correct any potential misdiagnoses moving forward.

Read Also: How To Improve Sitting Tolerance In Autism

Autism Screening And Diagnosis

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.

What Are Some Common Signs Of Asd

Even as infants, children with ASD may seem different, especially when compared to other children their own age. They may become overly focused on certain objects, rarely make eye contact, and fail to engage in typical babbling with their parents. In other cases, children may develop normally until the second or even third year of life, but then start to withdraw and become indifferent to social engagement.

The severity of ASD can vary greatly and is based on the degree to which social communication, insistence of sameness of activities and surroundings, and repetitive patterns of behavior affect the daily functioning of the individual.

Social impairment and communication difficultiesMany people with ASD find social interactions difficult. The mutual give-and-take nature of typical communication and interaction is often particularly challenging. Children with ASD may fail to respond to their names, avoid eye contact with other people, and only interact with others to achieve specific goals. Often children with ASD do not understand how to play or engage with other children and may prefer to be alone. People with ASD may find it difficult to understand other peoples feelings or talk about their own feelings.

You May Like: The Sensory Spectrum

Its Not Always Autism

The hazy line between autism and intellectual disability is challenging for parents and clinicians, especially when it comes to accurate diagnosis of developmental disorders.

Some parents admit that they dont care if their child with an intellectual disability receives a wrongful, additional autism diagnosis. The communication and behavioral challenges addressed in autism interventions are often appropriate for children with intellectual disabilities too. For these parents an autism diagnosis may not be accurate, but their childs condition receives treatment and their chance of stigma with an autism diagnosis is less than with an intellectual disability diagnosis. The idea that those with autism are entitled to better services than individuals diagnosed with other mental conditions seems quite pervasive.

The work of autism advocates is creating awareness, promoting education about the condition, and destroying the stigma surrounding neurodiversity. Elevating those on the spectrum should not, however, cast a shadow of stigma on other mental conditions like intellectual disabilities.

Perhaps this was the real intention of the person-first movement: whatever the condition, treatment and resources should be specialized to individuals, rather than catering only to diagnostic classification. Whether a child has autism, an intellectual disability, or both, they should receive the support best suited to enhancing their quality of life.


Diagnosis In Young Children


Diagnosis in young children is often a two-stage process.

Stage 1: General Developmental Screening During Well-Child Checkups

Every child should receive well-child check-ups with a pediatrician or an early childhood health care provider. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all children be screened for developmental delays at their 9-, 18-, and 24- or 30-month well-child visits and specifically for autism at their 18- and 24-month well-child visits. Additional screening might be needed if a child is at high risk for ASD or developmental problems. Those at high risk include children who have a family member with ASD, have some ASD behaviors, have older parents, have certain genetic conditions, or who were born at a very low birth weight.

Parents experiences and concerns are very important in the screening process for young children. Sometimes the doctor will ask parents questions about the childs behaviors and combine those answers with information from ASD screening tools, and with his or her observations of the child. Read more about screening instruments on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

Children who show developmental problems during this screening process will be referred for a second stage of evaluation.

Stage 2: Additional Evaluation

This second evaluation is with a team of doctors and other health professionals who are experienced in diagnosing ASD.

This team may include:

The evaluation may assess:

  • Blood tests

Also Check: Average Life Expectancy Autism

Do Symptoms Of Autism Change Over Time

For many children, symptoms improve with age and behavioral treatment. During adolescence, some children with ASD may become depressed or experience behavioral problems, and their treatment may need some modification as they transition to adulthood. People with ASD usually continue to need services and supports as they get older, but depending on severity of the disorder, people with ASD may be able to work successfully and live independently or within a supportive environment.

How Can You Help Yourself

Many books have been written by people who have an autism spectrum disorder. You might want to read one or have someone read one with you.

Jeff, you can be successful at home, school, or work. You can use schedules, rule books, social stories, relaxation strategies, exercise programs, medication, or other strategies to help yourself cope or learn better. Many people care about you. They will be glad to help you be a happy and successful person who just happens to have an autism spectrum disorder called autism.

Vicker, B. . Disability information for someone who has an autism spectrum disorder. Bloomington, IN: Indiana Resource Center for Autism.

Also Check: Autism Awareness Symbol Puzzle Piece

Highly Focused Interests Or Hobbies

Many autistic people have intense and highly focused interests, often from a fairly young age. These can change over time or be lifelong. Autistic people can become experts in their special interests and often like to share their knowledge. A stereotypical example is trains but that is one of many. Greta Thunberg’s intense interest, for example, is protecting the environment.

Like all people, autistic people gain huge amounts of pleasure from pursuing their interests and see them as fundamental to their wellbeing and happiness.

Being highly focused helps many autistic people do well academically and in the workplace but they can also become so engrossed in particular topics or activities that they neglect other aspects of their lives.

Take a look at the Spectrum magazine, written for and by autistic people

How Doctors Define Autism

Auditory Processing and Autism Spectrum Disorders

Autism spectrum disorder is indeed categorized as a mental disorderalso called a mental illnessin the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders . The DSM-5 also classifies autism as a neurodevelopmental disorder . In other words, although autism is classified as a general mental disorder, it may be better conceptualized by its subcategory: a developmental disorder.

There are many characteristics of autism that overlap with other mental illnesses, so autism is often misdiagnosed as another mental illness. While there can be people who have more than one type of mental illnessincluding developmental disordersthe two may be defined, treated, and managed very differently.

Recommended Reading: What Is The Symbol For Autism

Learning Disabilities In Motor Skills

Motor difficulty refers to problems with movement and coordination whether it is with fine motor skills or gross motor skills . A motor disability is sometimes referred to as an output activity meaning that it relates to the output of information from the brain. In order to run, jump, write or cut something, the brain must be able to communicate with the necessary limbs to complete the action.

Signs that your child might have a motor coordination disability include problems with physical abilities that require hand-eye coordination, like holding a pencil or buttoning a shirt.

Communication The Common Ground

In addition to genetic similarities, deficits in communication is another area where intellectual disability and autism may converge. As mentioned above, communication impairment is one of the core symptoms and diagnostic criteria of autism. A study examining communication difficulties in adults with intellectual disability found over 57% of participants experienced communication difficulties. Of these, 23.5% reported severe difficulties.

In the study researchers found that over half of participants find it difficult to communicate with professionals. In this study the participants were adults, one can only imagine the communication difficulties of children with intellectual disabilities when interacting with doctors for diagnostic purposes.

The communication difficulties associated with autism and intellectual disability complicate diagnosis. Consider a child on the spectrum who has been sheltered extensively due to sensory issues. Their lack of exposure to language, and learning opportunities may affect intelligence scorestesting that does not take such circumstances into consideration may not reflect a true measure of intelligence.

For individuals with autism and intellectual disability, an accurate diagnosis may be important. They may need support that is far more individualized, specialized and structured than do non-autistic individuals of the same IQ level.

Read Also: Level 1 High Functioning Autism

More articles

Popular Articles