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.
You Cant Always See Autism
There is still a shocking amount of ignorance among the general population when it comes to the Autism Spectrum. Many people assume that children with autism have certain identifiable facial features or particular habits. But as it has already has been mentioned, every single person with autism is different and mild cases of autism are common. These stereotypes and lack of understanding often make things difficult for parents. Its especially hard in the case of schools, coaches, or other organizations who deny a diagnosis because it is not easily seen.
When To Seek Medical Advice
Early intervention is very important in children with autism spectrum disorder. Services such as speech therapy and behavioral and skills training are more effective if begun when a child is young.
For this reason, it is helpful to receive a diagnosis as early as possible. However, many children remain undiagnosed until they are in school. Some people are not diagnosed until they are adults.
If you suspect someone has autism, including yourself, contact a medical professional as soon as possible.
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Tip : Find Nonverbal Ways To Connect
Connecting with a child with ASD can be challenging, but you dont need to talkor even touchin order to communicate and bond. You communicate by the way you look at your child, by the tone of your voice, your body language and possibly the way you touch your child. Your child is also communicating with you, even if he or she never speaks. You just need to learn the language.
Look for nonverbal cues. If you are observant and aware, you can learn to pick up on the nonverbal cues that children with ASD use to communicate. Pay attention to the kinds of sounds they make, their facial expressions, and the gestures they use when theyre tired, hungry, or want something.
Figure out the motivation behind the tantrum. Its only natural to feel upset when you are misunderstood or ignored, and its no different for children with ASD. When children with ASD act out, its often because youre not picking up on their nonverbal cues. Throwing a tantrum is their way of communicating their frustration and getting your attention.
What Are The Risk Factors For Autism
Risk factors for autism include:
- Low birth weight
- Being exposed to a medication called valproate during the mothers pregnancy
- Older parents
Boys are diagnosed with ASD more often than girls.
Studies have shown that there is no link between vaccines and autism. Learn more about vaccines and autism from theCDC.
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Children On The Autism Spectrum Are Not Dumb
Kids with autism have the potential to be absolutely brilliant. Theyre also talented, philosophical, kind, and creative. This is something much of society fails to see, but in truth, the autistic mind is simply wired differently than those not on the Autism Spectrum. Hans Christian Andersen, Emily Dickinson, Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, Michelangelo, Mozart, and Sir Isaac Newton all are said to have exhibited autistic tendencies.
Autisms Genetic Risk Factors
Research tells us that autism tends to run in families. Changes in certain genes increase the risk that a child will develop autism. If a parent carries one or more of these gene changes, they may get passed to a child . Other times, these genetic changes arise spontaneously in an early embryo or the sperm and/or egg that combine to create the embryo. Again, the majority of these gene changes do not cause autism by themselves. They simply increase risk for the disorder
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Im Not An Autism Expert
If you want to learn more about autism and what its like to be autistic, there is one reliable source: a person on the Autism Spectrum. Parents of autistic children can tell you what it is like to live with a person on the Spectrum. They are experts on their own child. But the only person who can tell you what its like to live with autism is an autistic person himself.
Cdcs Work For Adults With Asd
Planning for Service Needs
CDCs most recent funding cycle for the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network includes support for five sites to follow up on 16-year-olds who had been identified with ASD by 8 years of age. This is a new activity for the ADDM Network and will provide valuable information on transition planning in special education services and potential service needs after high school.
Promoting Better Outcomes
CDCs Study to Explore Early Development began identifying children with ASD in the mid-2000s and these children are now beginning the transition from adolescence to adulthood. Through SEED Teen, CDC is tracking the changes that occur during this transition period to learn about factors that may promote more successful transitions and better outcomes in young adults with ASD.
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What To Do If Youre Worried
If your child is developmentally delayed, or if youve observed other red flags for autism, schedule an appointment with your pediatrician right away. In fact, its a good idea to have your child screened by a doctor even if he or she is hitting the developmental milestones on schedule. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all children receive routine developmental screenings, as well as specific screenings for autism at 9, 18, and 30 months of age.
Schedule an autism screening. A number of specialized screening tools have been developed to identify children at risk for autism. Most of these screening tools are quick and straightforward, consisting of yes-or-no questions or a checklist of symptoms. Your pediatrician should also get your feedback regarding your childs behavior.
Treatment For Autism In Little Rock
If you or your childs doctor are concerned about the presence of any of these symptoms or your child has been diagnosed with autism, Integrity, Inc. can help you find support services for children experiencing autism in Little Rock. Visit Integrity Inc. online or call us at 406-0442 to learn more. We can provide information about what autism is and how your child can lead a normal life.
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How Does Autism Affect Adults
Families who have autistic loved ones may worry about what life with ASD looks like for an adult.
Some autistic adults go on to live or work independently. Others may require continued aid or support throughout their lives. Each autistic person is different.
Introducing therapies and other remedies early in life can help lead to more independence and better quality of life.
Sometimes autistic people dont receive a diagnosis until much later in life. This is due, in part, to a previous lack of awareness among medical practitioners.
Hobbies And Activities To Enjoy With Your Autistic Child
Steven Gans, MD, is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Whether your child with autism is on the mild or severe end of the autism spectrum, many ordinary childhood activities can be challenging. It can be hard to work around sensory issues, social and communication challenges, and a preference for repetition and routine.
The result, unhappily, is that many families avoid trying new things with their autistic family members. But the fact that people with autism may not ask for company or explore new possibilities on their own is not a reason to give up. Instead, it’s an opportunity to find the best way to reach out and learn with and from them.
Verywell / Ellen Lindner
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Please Be Patient With My Child
Children on the Autism Spectrum often have a slew of sensory issues and meltdowns in common. Because no one would expect a family with autistic children to stay home all hours of the day, these meltdowns often happen in stores, at parks, and in other public places. Parents of children on the Autism Spectrum simply want others to understand that these meltdowns are not brought on by bad behavior, and to please remain patient with both the parents and the child. Rolling your eyes or mumbling snide comments are not helpful. It will not change the immediate situation and can even add further stress to both parent and child.
Helping Your Child With Autism Thrive Tip : Provide Structure And Safety
Learning all you can about autism and getting involved in treatment will go a long way toward helping your child. Additionally, the following tips will make daily home life easier for both you and your child with ASD:
Be consistent. Children with ASD have a hard time applying what theyve learned in one setting to others, including the home. For example, your child may use sign language at school to communicate, but never think to do so at home. Creating consistency in your childs environment is the best way to reinforce learning. Find out what your childs therapists are doing and continue their techniques at home. Explore the possibility of having therapy take place in more than one place in order to encourage your child to transfer what he or she has learned from one environment to another. Its also important to be consistent in the way you interact with your child and deal with challenging behaviors.
Stick to a schedule. Children with ASD tend to do best when they have a highly-structured schedule or routine. Again, this goes back to the consistency they both need and crave. Set up a schedule for your child, with regular times for meals, therapy, school, and bedtime. Try to keep disruptions to this routine to a minimum. If there is an unavoidable schedule change, prepare your child for it in advance.
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How Much Does It Cost To Raise A Child With Autism
Raising a child with autism costs around $60,000 each year, according to the advocacy group Autism Speaks. Costs may be higher if the childs autism is more severe.
Finances are devoted to obtaining therapies, education, caregiver time, and health care. Parents may also face financial strain because a partner may decide to leave work to care for the child full time.
Language And Communication Skills
An autistic child who needs more support in developing language and communication skills may exhibit some of these signs:
- cannot form sentences
- does not answer questions appropriately or follow directions
- does not understand counting or time
- reverses pronouns
- rarely or never uses gestures or body language such as waving or pointing
- talks in a flat or singsong voice
- does not understand jokes, sarcasm, or teasing
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Not All Autism Is The Same And Neither Is Every Child With Autism
Its called the Autism Spectrum because autism actually covers a wide scope of complex disorders in brain development. Included are Aspergers Syndrome, classic autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorder, among others. The types of autism range in everything from communication skills, anxiety, social interaction, and repetitive behaviors, among other things. As with any kid, a child with autism should be treated as an individual with his or her own set of abilities and preferences.
First Off Take A Deep Breath
A diagnosis of autism doesnt change who your child is or what they can accomplish. Research has grown exponentially over the past few decades, and there are always new treatment ideas and strategies being studied at colleges and research institutes across the country. Researchers have developed effective programs to help children with autism develop their communication, social skills, academics, motor skills, and vocational training so they can live long, healthy, productive lives. All of this starts with you, and the sooner it starts, the better.
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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 Should I Discipline My Autistic Child
Tantrums and other difficult behaviors often emerge from an autistic childs need to communicate. An essential component of discipline is therefore identifying what sparked their meltdown or what they want to express. Maybe the child was overwhelmed by the crowd at a holiday dinner or forbidden from playing with a toy. The first step of disciplining a child is observing and identifying potential triggers.
Parents may then seek to implement a system of rewards for positive behavior and punishment for negative behavior. Following this plan consistently can help the child understand the consequences of their actions.
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Science Fiction And Fantasy
Science fiction and fantasy are often of great interest to people with autism. Depending on their interest levels and abilities, people on the spectrum may learn every detail of a particular “universe,” write their own stories, watch and rewatch movies, read comics, attend cons, or even build their own costumes.
There is a whole world of opportunity for hobbyists out there, at all levels. Find your inner caped crusader, and get involved.
Training For Parents Families And Caregivers
Parents, family members, caregivers, teachers and peers can receive training so that they can help support a person with ASD. Many of these skills are meant to help caregivers:
- learn how to deal with self-injuring behaviours
- learn how to communicate with someone living with ASD
- recognize and deal with situations that cause upset
- learn supportive routines and behaviours that bring comfort and promote success
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Dont Take Things Personally
Children with autism may not respond in a manner you understand or expect. They may walk away from you, ignore you, or have a tantrum.
Its easy to have hurt feelings, but do your best to keep your emotions in check. The child is working hard to adjust to your expectations and your reality. Be as flexible as you can, and keep trying to form that connection.
We Cant Just Get A Babysitter
Generally, when parents need a night away, they hire a babysitter. Simple right? Well, not if youre the parent of a child on the Autism Spectrum. Kids with autism exhibit different behaviors than do neurotypical children. For one, parents leaving isnt just annoying, its disturbing on an emotional level. That makes it very hard for an autistic child to settle down while a babysitter is running the house.
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Language Communication And Autism
Many autistic children develop language skills at a different rate and in a different order from typically developing children. This means they might not understand what you say to them or might have difficulty following instructions. Some autistic children can find it difficult to use spoken language to ask for things, or tell other people what theyre thinking or feeling.
Differences in communication can make social situations like playing with other children a little more difficult.
Lack Of Acceptance By Professionals
Problem: There is sometimes a lack of acceptance by professionals that ASD can coexist in a child with Down syndrome who has cognitive impairment. They may feel an additional label is not necessary or accurate. Parents may be told, This is part of low functioning Down syndrome. We now know this is incorrect. Children with DS-ASD are clearly distinguishable from children with Down syndrome alone or those who have Down syndrome and severe cognitive impairment when standardized diagnostic assessment tools such as the ABC are used.
Result: Parents become frustrated and may give up trying to obtain more specific medical treatment or behavioral intervention.
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Interaction Joint Attention And Autism
Autistic children might interact with people in a different way from typically developing children.
For example, autistic children might not respond to their own names, smile when someone smiles at them, or notice facial expressions. But they often develop their own way of letting their parents know what they want, although they might not use the gestures that typically developing children use. For example, they might lead their parents by the hand rather than pointing to show their carers something interesting.
Autistic children often have difficulty with joint attention, which is using eye contact and gestures to share experiences with others. These difficulties can make it harder for autistic children to develop communication and language skills. For example, if a parent is pointing to a picture of a dog, but the child is interested in another part of the picture, it might be harder for the child to learn the link between the picture of a dog and the word dog.
Attention is a skill that develops over time. Our article on learning to pay attention explains how you can use play to help your autistic child build this skill.