Autism Spectrum Disorder: The Accepted Term
Autism spectrum disorder is the accepted term for people with autism symptoms. This one term encompasses many people, behaviors, and levels of impairment.
Autism Speaks explains that no one is exactly sure what causes ASD. Its likely that some combination of genetics and environment is involved. Similarly, researchers arent sure what causes some people to live with mild impairment, while others need around-the-clock care and support.
This is why individualized treatment approaches are so important. Theres no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach to treating autism.
Years of observation highlight typical autism signs and symptoms, which include changes in these areas:
- Responses to stimulus: People with autism may not point at objects to highlight interest, and they may not look at things others point to.
- Relationships: They may not easily relate to other people. Some people dont seem troubled by a lack of connection, while others want to get close and arent sure how to make it happen.
- Touch: Some autistic people dislike being hugged, held, patted, or squeezed, even by people they know and trust.
- Speech: Some echo or repeat words while forming few full sentences. Others dont talk at all. Some talk extensively, but only about subjects that interest them.
- Routine: Many autistic people like to stick to the same schedule every day, and they feel distressed when things change.
Is Autism A Disability
There is no one answer to this question as it is a complex and multi-faceted issue. Some people with autism may feel that their condition is a disability, while others may not. The way that autism is experienced and the severity of symptoms varies greatly from person to person, so it is hard to make a generalization about whether or not it is a disability. Autism can certainly present challenges and difficulties in some areas of functioning, but many people with autism also have strengths and abilities that can offset these difficulties. Ultimately, whether or not someone with autism views their condition as a disability is a personal decision.
Is autism spectrum disorder a disability? Is it disorder? Is it true that our method of responding to others around us is different? According to the National Institute of Mental Health, ASD is a developmental disorder characterized by symptoms that usually appear during the first two years of life. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, autism is a type of developmental disability. There is no such thing as a person with autism who has intellectual disabilities. The National Center for Health Statistics offers a variety of developmental screenings for autism spectrum disorder.
What Are The Autism Spectrum Disorders
The American Psychiatric Association merged four distinct autism diagnoses into one classification in 2013, forming a single diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder . Autism Spectrum Disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder, pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified , and Asperger Syndrome were examples of these disorders.
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What Conditions Are Considered Spectrum Disorders
Until recently, experts talked about different types of autism, such as autistic disorder, Aspergerâs syndrome, pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified . But now they are all called âautism spectrum disorders.â
If you still hear people use some of the older terms, youâll want to know what they mean:
Asperger’s syndrome. This is on the milder end of the autism spectrum. A person with Asperger’s may be very intelligent and able to handle their daily life. They may be really focused on topics that interest them and discuss them nonstop. But they have a much harder time socially.
Pervasive developmental disorder, not otherwise specified . This mouthful of a diagnosis included most children whose autism was more severe than Asperger’s syndrome, but not as severe as autistic disorder.
Autistic disorder. This older term is further along the autism spectrum than Aspergerâs and PDD-NOS. It includes the same types of symptoms, but at a more intense level.
Childhood disintegrative disorder. This was the rarest and most severe part of the spectrum. It described children who develop normally and then quickly lose many social, language, and mental skills, usually between ages 2 and 4. Often, these children also developed a seizure disorder.
What Is Asperger Syndrome
Asperger syndrome, or Aspergers, is a previously used diagnosis on the autism spectrum. In 2013, it became part of one umbrella diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5 .
Typical to strong verbal language skills and intellectual ability distinguish Asperger syndrome from other types of autism.
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Treatment And Intervention Services For Autism Spectrum Disorder
Current treatments for autism spectrum disorder seek to reduce symptoms that interfere with daily functioning and quality of life.1 ASD affects each person differently, meaning that people with ASD have unique strengths and challenges and different treatment needs.1 Therefore, treatment plans usually involve multiple professionals and are catered toward the individual.
Treatments can be given in education, health, community, or home settings, or a combination of settings. It is important that providers communicate with each other and the person with ASD and their family to ensure that treatment goals and progress are meeting expectations.
As individuals with ASD exit from high school and grow into adulthood, additional services can help improve health and daily functioning, and facilitate social and community engagement. For some, supports to continue education, complete job training, find employment, and secure housing and transportation may be needed.
Can Aba Therapy Help
ABA therapy or Applied Behavior Analysis is the gold standard for autism treatment. Techniciansand BCBAs work together to identify what clients can and cannot do without support. From there, they target behavior that can be improved. By breaking larger tasks into smaller pieces and practicing drills, the hope is that the task becomes second nature and achievable for the child with time. While ABA therapy can be intensive and seem repetitive, repetition is crucial for progress. When performed appropriately, ABA therapy can change the lives of many people with autism for the better.
Before the development of ABA therapy, autism was primarily considered untreatable. Experts recognize that while there is no cure, many people with autism can benefit from focused and intense intervention. Its imperative to realize that autism treatment does have limitations. Individuals who are nonverbal may remain nonverbal even after intervention. Some individuals with autism will always feel anxiety in social situations. Therapy doesnt cure autism, but it can help the person achieve a better quality of life.
ABA Therapy can help make the world more accessible to those with autism. It may also help these individuals better communicate and participate with the world around them. They can learn to express their thoughts and emotions to the people they spend the most time with. These improvements make a huge difference in the lives of everyone touched by the condition.
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How Could The Levels Of Autism Spectrum Disorder Be Diagnosed
To get diagnosed as having autism, there is no medical testing, for example, blood testing, imagining test or scan test. Instead of those testings, behavioral symptoms, communication problems and family history are taken into account in order to help to rule out any potential genetic disorders or conditions.
Experts will ask a variety of questions about an individuals daily habits and aspects of their social life. They may refer the individuals for psychological testing and in order to that they are consulted to mental health professionals, such as psychologists or psychiatrists. Diagnosis is based on the level with which the symptoms are most consistent.
It should be remembered that levels of autism spectrum disorder are not black and White, which means they are not certain. Not each individual with autism clearly fits into one level. However, they can provide a useful baseline in order to help experts come up with effective management plans to set achievable goals.
How Is Asd Diagnosed Now
With the changes in the DSM diagnosis of autism , also came the levels of ASD.
The levels of ASD allow for more clarity to be placed on a persons diagnosis of ASD in terms of where they fit on the spectrum. Basically, the levels of ASD range from mild to severe symptoms.
There are three levels of autism: Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 .
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How And When Is Autism Diagnosed
If you recognize the signs of ASD in you or your child, dont waste time in locating a knowledgeable physician to perform an evaluation. Early intervention therapy is one of the most effective treatments for ASD.
No lab test can diagnose ASD symptoms are extremely broad and unique to each individual. Because some symptoms overlap with ADHD, diagnosing and separating the disorders can be difficult. The protocol for diagnosing ASD requires an autism-specific behavior evaluation conducted by a qualified professional like a developmental pediatrician, psychiatrist, or neurologist.
First, a physician will screen for symptoms that indicate ASD, using a diagnostic tool. The Modified Checklist of Autism in Toddlers and its series of informative questions can indicate if a childs behaviors merit evaluation. Then, the physician will likely observe you or your child and talk to you about developmental, social interaction, and communication skills. Additional diagnostic tools include the Screening Tool for Autism in Two-Year-Olds and the Social Communication Questionnaire for children four years of age and older1. For high-functioning autism, the common screeners are the Autism Spectrum Screening Questionnaire , the Childhood Asperger Syndrome Test , and the Australian Scale for Aspergers Syndrome1.
1National Institute of Mental Health. How Autism is Diagnosed. PsychCentral. . Web.
History Of Autism Diagnosis
The choice to move away from diagnosing several types of autism remains controversial, as some experts in the medical community feel that there should be separate diagnoses for more severe symptoms of autism to ensure that everyone gets the services they need.
Doctors use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, otherwise known as the DSM-5, when determining how to place patients into diagnostic categories. Before the edition of the DSM-5 was issued in 2013, the conceptions and understanding of autism were different.
Dimensions between the original five conditions often overlapped. For example, someone visiting a doctor might have received a diagnosis of autism. A different doctor might have diagnosed the same person with PDD-NOS diagnosis the next day. This diagnostic confusion led to incomprehensive, inconsistent treatments and strained family units. Families were left questioning which labels were accurate. They also wondered who they could trust with which diagnoses.
In response to this, the DSM-5 replaced these multiple conditions with one term: Autism Spectrum Disorder . The characteristics of ASD encompass many of the overlaps these conditions can share. We now use the word spectrum to recognize that individuals display a range of conditions, with some having more severe symptoms than others.
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What Are The Different Types Of Autism
Melanie Bren, BCBA, LBA
Autism spectrum disorders include social communication and behavioral challenges. These challenges can be mild, severe, moderate and they exist across a spectrum. A diagnosis is based on the level of support needed . Early diagnosis means treatment can begin soon, which has been shows to increase positive outcomes for those diagnosed with ASD.
Are There Types Of Autism
Currently, autism diagnoses are not separated into different types of autism, though this was not the case prior to 2013. Today, autism spectrum disorder is an umbrella diagnosis that encompasses presentations that were previously divided into separate diagnoses or types of autism. However, some in the medical community believe there should be separate diagnoses for more severe presentations of autism in order to provide better services to those who need them.
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What Is The Difference Between Asd And Pdd
PDDs are typically described as developmental, whereas ASDs are typically described as clinical manifestations. A psychiatric disorder is the result of a number of factors, including developmental problems and mental symptoms.
PDD-NOS is one of the five subtypes of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Children with OS will suffer less social impairment than children with ASD or Aspergers. PDD, as opposed to diagnosing disorders, is a subset of a disorder. The use of PDD as a diagnosis is complicated by differing interpretations among therapists. PDD-NOS can also be described as a personality disorder characterized by atypical development. As a temporary diagnosis, it can be used by clinicians to treat children aged five and under. One of the reasons for this is that very young children require special skills in social interaction and communication.
Restrictive/repetitive Behaviors May Include:
- Repeating certain behaviors or having unusual behaviors. For example, repeating words or phrases, a behavior called echolalia
- Having a lasting intense interest in certain topics, such as numbers, details, or facts
- Having overly focused interests, such as with moving objects or parts of objects
- Getting upset by slight changes in a routine
- Being more or less sensitive than other people to sensory input, such as light, noise, clothing, or temperature
Symptoms can typically be observed early in life, as young as two years old however, many individuals are not diagnosed until the school-age years or even high school. It all depends on the severity of symptoms and having someone notice that there is an issue.
Some individuals have mild to moderate autism symptoms, while some others may be impacted severely. Here is where the three types of spectrum disorders come into play. Each type of spectrum is defined by its varying degrees of symptoms.
What are the 3 types of autism?
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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.
Restricted Behavior And Play
Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder are often restricted, rigid, and even obsessive in their behaviors, activities, and interests. Symptoms may include:
- Repetitive body movements moving constantly.
- Obsessive attachment to unusual objects .
- Preoccupation with a narrow topic of interest, sometimes involving numbers or symbols .
- A strong need for sameness, order, and routines . Gets upset by change in their routine or environment.
- Clumsiness, atypical posture, or odd ways of moving.
- Fascinated by spinning objects, moving pieces, or parts of toys .
- Hyper- or hypo-reactive to sensory input .
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Is There A Test For Autism
There are no blood, laboratory, or physical tests to diagnose individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Instead, specialists use observation skills and employ question-and-answer screening tools to comprehend how their patients function. Getting an accurate diagnosis as soon as possible is crucial. Children diagnosed with ASD before age four often receive more effective treatments through whats known asearly intervention. Children diagnosed later in life do not always respond as effectively and may require medication.
Children as young as two years old can have a routine autism screening check during a wellness visit with their pediatrician. Select school districts offer autism screenings as well. Parents can request a special assessment if their child is missing developmental milestones, expressing delays, or showing any of the autism symptoms previously mentioned.
What Are The 3 Types Of Autism
Until recently, the Centers for Disease Control recognized three main types of ASD:
- Asperger Syndrome: Previously used to describe children with average cognitive skills who struggled with social and communication impairments of any severity. This was a milder, higher-functioning form of autism that included intense, unusual interests. It is now sometimes referred to as Social Communication Disorder.
- Autistic Disorder/Autism: Previously used to describe children with more severe impairments who struggled with social and communication delays, early language delays, and repetitive or obsessive behaviors.
- Pervasive developmental disorder, not otherwise specified : Previously used as a catch-all term for social-communication concerns that didnt fit neatly into either of the other two boxes above. It implied milder symptoms.
The term Asperger Syndrome was dropped from the latest version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. These diagnostic guidelines were updated to eliminate the divisions above and to introduce the autism spectrum, along with a patient may mild, moderate, or severe symptoms.
Many parents and physicians continue to use the old labels, which is important to consider when researching the condition. For more information on the label changes, read: Moving Past the Asperger Syndrome Label.
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Autism Spectrum Disorder Level : Requiring Very Substantial Support
According to DSM-5, individuals with level 3 autism require very substantial support because this is the most severe level of autism spectrum disorder. Individuals with this level of autism mostly need a caregiver who helps them in order to learn basic skills that will allow them to be successful in school, at home or at work.
Individuals with level 3 autism might need frequent and intensive therapy. These therapies focus on a variety of issues that those people can face with. Besides therapy, they may benefit from medication which treats autism specifically. There are certain drugs may help manage specific symptoms of autism or co-occurring disorders such as depression or trouble focusing.
In addition to more severe symptoms, they exhibit repetitive or restricted behaviors. Repetitive behaviors could be a physical action or speaking the same phrase. On the other hand, restrictive behaviors, which tend to distance someone from the world around them, might involve an inability to adapt to change or narrow interests in very specific topics. Most of the time, there is the inflexibility of their behaviors.
They have a highly visible lack of communication skills in terms of verbal and nonverbal. It causes severe impairments in functioning, very limited social interactions and communications. Also, these severe symptoms may cause a minimal response to social overtures from other people around them.