How Is Autism Spectrum Disorder Treated
ASD is most often a life-long condition. Both children and adults with autism benefit from behavioral interventions or therapies that can teach new skills to address the core deficits of autism and to reduce the core symptoms. Every child and adult with autism is unique. For this reason, the treatment plan is individualized to meet specific needs. It is best to begin interventions as soon as possible, so the benefits of therapy can continue on throughout the course of life.
Many people with ASD often have additional medical conditions, such as gastrointestinal and feeding issues, seizures and sleep disturbances. Treatment can involve behavioral therapy, medications or both.
Early intensive behavioral treatments involves the entire family and possibly a team of professionals. As your child ages and develops, treatment may be modified to cater to their specific needs.
During adolescence, children benefit from transition services that promote skills of independence essential in adulthood. The focus at that point is on employment opportunities and job skill training.
Is There A Link Between Covid
No, says Halladay. But an infection of any kind in the mother during pregnancy has been linked to a greater risk of ASD in children another incentive to be vaccinated, she says.
Halladay points to a study of U.S. participants published in Autism Research in October 2019, which found that maternal infection that included fever in the second trimester of pregnancy was associated with a twofold risk of ASD in children. A Swedish longitudinal study published that same year in JAMA Psychiatry found that fetal exposure to maternal infection was linked to a greater risk of an autism diagnosis in children. For many reasons, you do not want to get very sick from COVID-19 or any other type of infection when you are pregnant.
The Dilemma With Cannabis Treatment For Autism
Its a chicken-and-egg thing: Doctors wont prescribe cannabis to treat autism in children because no data exists to support such a course of treatment.
But the research doesnt exist because of medical establishment fears about testing cannabiswith its many active compounds seen as potentially uncontrollable variableson children.
In the absence of empirical data, however, is a growing body of anecdotal evidence that cannabis is making children with autism happier and healthier. And some doctors are listening.
Anecdotes should not be dismissed, said Dr. Daniele Piomelli, one of the worlds top neuroscientists and endocannabinoid researchers. The University of California-Irvine faculty member wont consider prescribing cannabis at this time, but is aware of the growing clamor for it. An anecdote is a pointer. Its something that suggests something needs to be either proven or disproven.
One researcher attempting to do just that is Dr. Giovanni Martinez, a clinical psychologist in Puerto Rico. His alternative therapy bona fides include his creation of SURF4DEM, a foundation that introduces children and families affected by autism to the therapeutic benefits of surfing.
Moreover, Martinez reported that initially the child would become so frustrated with his inability to communicate, he would would act out and injure himself. But, now that he can express himself, he laughs and enjoys life. He added:
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Family Support For Autistic People
The family members of autistic individuals are also likely to need some support. Having an autistic child can have a significant effect on parents, who may react to the diagnosis in a variety of ways, including relief, shock, grief, anger and guilt.
Feelings of stress, confusion and anxiety are also common in parents who are caring for an autistic child. It can be valuable for parents to consider joining a support group or participating in counselling.
For more information visit the Better Health Channel page Autism spectrum disorder tips for parents.
Who Does Autism Affect The Most
The complexity of autism disorders means that it can be difficult to pinpoint causes, making it difficult to assess properly, or to even understand the problem on more than a basic level.
Fortunately, researchers are unraveling links and finding new information about ASD on a regular basis. The ever-expanding body of research can make it difficult to stay abreast of the latest discoveries about autism.
However, by better understanding the disorder, the different types of autism, and who is most likely to be affected, you can gain new insight and greater knowledge about how to best assist autistic individuals in your care.
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Restricted Or Repetitive Patterns Of Behavior Or Activities
These can include:
- an increase or decrease in sensitivity to specific sensory information from their surroundings, such as a negative reaction to a specific sound
- fixated interests or preoccupations
Autistic people are evaluated within each category, and the intensity of their symptoms is noted.
To receive an autism diagnosis, a person must display all three symptoms in the first category and at least two symptoms in the second category. Get more information on symptoms and how they may manifest in kids.
The exact cause of ASD is unknown. The most current research demonstrates theres no single cause.
Some suspected risk factors for ASD include:
- having an immediate family member whos autistic
- genetic mutations
An ASD diagnosis involves several screenings, genetic tests, and evaluations.
Introduction To Asperger Syndrome
In 1944, Hans Asperger in Vienna had published an account of children with many similarities to Kanner autism but who had abilities, including grammatical language, in the average or superior range. There are continuing arguments concerning the exact relationship between Asperger and Kanner syndromes but it is beyond dispute that they have in common the triad of impairments of social interaction, communication and imagination and a narrow, repetitive pattern of activities .
- Stephan Ehlers and Christopher Gillberg published the results of a further study carried out in Gothenburg. This study examined children in mainstream schools. The aim was to find the prevalence of Asperger syndrome and other autism profiles in children with IQ of 70 or above.
- From the numbers of children they identified, they calculated a rate of 36 per 10,000 for those who definitely had Asperger syndrome and another 35 per 10,000 for those with social difficulties. Some of these children may have fitted Asperger description if more information had been available, but they were certainly on the autism spectrum. Teachers of these children had previously recognised social and/or educational differences, but had not been able to find a reason for these differences.
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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.
What Is Autism Spectrum Disorder Previously Called Autism And Pervasive Developmental Disorders
Autism spectrum disorder is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by the following:
- Difficulties in social communication differences, including verbal and nonverbal communication.
- Deficits in social interactions.
- Restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests or activities and sensory problems
Many of those with ASD can have delayed or absence of language development, intellectual disabilities, poor motor coordination and attention weaknesses.
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What Research Is Being Done
The mission of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke is to seek fundamental knowledge about the brain and nervous system and to use that knowledge to reduce the burden of neurological disease. The NINDS is a component of the National Institutes of Health , the leading supporter of biomedical research in the world. NINDS and several other NIH Institutes and Centers support research on autism spectrum disorder.
Nearly 20 years ago the NIH formed the Autism Coordinating Committee to enhance the quality, pace, and coordination of efforts at the NIH to find a cure for autism. The NIH/ACC has been instrumental in promoting research to understand and advance ASD. The NIH/ACC also participates in the broader Federal Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee , composed of representatives from various U.S. Department of Health and Human Services agencies, the Department of Education, and other governmental organizations, as well as public members, including individuals with ASD and representatives of patient advocacy organizations. One responsibility of the IACC is to develop a strategic plan for ASD research, which guides research programs supported by NIH and other participating organizations.
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.
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Diagnosis Of Autism In Children
Autism in children is diagnosed through observation by a multidisciplinary team of the following health professionals:
- psychologist or psychiatrist
- speech pathologist.
Some children will show signs of autism by the age of two and will be diagnosed then. Other may be diagnosed when they are older. The earlier autism can be diagnosed the sooner therapy can begin. Early intervention has been shown to improve outcomes for autistic children.
Recent Studies From Other Countries
- The Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network in the USA looked at eight-year-old children in 14 states in 2008, and found a prevalence rate of autism within those states overall of 1 in 88, with around five times as many boys as girls diagnosed .
- The National Center for Health Statistics in the USA published findings from telephone surveys of parents of children aged 6-17 undertaken in 2011-12. The report showed a prevalence rate for autism of 1 in 50, .
- A study of a 0-17 year olds resident in Stockholm between 2001-2007 found a prevalence rate of 11.5 in 1,000, very similar to the rate found other prevalence studies in Western Europe, .
- A much higher prevalence rate of 2.64% was found in a study done in South Korea, where the researchers found two thirds of the people on the autism spectrum were in the mainstream school population, and had never been diagnosed before. .
- Researchers comparing studies from different parts of the world over the past few years have come up with a more conservative estimate of 62 in 10,000. They conclude that the both the increase in estimates over time and the variability between countries and regions are likely thanks to broadening diagnostic criteria, service availability and increasing awareness of autism among professionals and the public, .
What Is The Difference Between Autism And Adhd
Autism and ADHD are sometimes confused with one another.
Despite some similarities, ADHD isnt considered a spectrum disorder. One major difference between the two is that people with ADHD dont tend to lack socio-communicative skills.
What Procedures And Tests Diagnose Autism
- There is no lab test or X-ray that can confirm the diagnosis of autism. The diagnosis of autism is based on clinical judgment regarding observations of the individual’s behavior. Information from family members and other observers is of primary importance in making the diagnosis however, the pediatrician may order tests to rule out other conditions that might be confused with autism, such as mental retardation, metabolic or genetic diseases, or deafness.
- A single visit with the pediatrician is not enough to establish the diagnosis of autism.
- The pediatrician observes the child and may do a simple screening test to see if a developmental problem may be present.
Screening tests do not diagnose autism. Done in the office, they are simple tests that indicate a problem may exist. They usually involve simply observing specific behaviors or how a child responds to simple commands or questions . Some widely used screening tests include the Checklist for Autism in Toddlers for children aged 18 months to 4 years of age and the Autism Screening Questionnaire for children aged 4 years and older.
The comprehensive evaluation of a child with autism might include:
- obtaining complete medical and family history
- physical exam
- formal audiology evaluation
- selected medical/lab tests on an individual basis
- speech, language, and communication assessment
- cognitive and behavioral assessments and
- academic assessment .
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Terminology And Distinction From Schizophrenia
As late as the mid-1970s there was little evidence of a genetic role in autism while in 2007 it was believed to be one of the most heritable psychiatric conditions. Although the rise of parent organizations and the destigmatization of childhood ASD have affected how ASD is viewed, parents continue to feel social stigma in situations where their child’s autistic behavior is perceived negatively, and many primary care physicians and medical specialists express some beliefs consistent with outdated autism research.
It took until 1980 for the DSM-III to differentiate autism from childhood schizophrenia. In 1987, the DSM-III-R provided a checklist for diagnosing autism. In May 2013, the DSM-5 was released, updating the classification for pervasive developmental disorders. The grouping of disorders, including PDD-NOS, autism, Asperger syndrome, Rett syndrome, and CDD, has been removed and replaced with the general term of Autism Spectrum Disorders. The two categories that exist are impaired social communication and/or interaction, and restricted and/or repetitive behaviors.
The Internet has helped autistic individuals bypass nonverbal cues and emotional sharing that they find difficult to deal with, and has given them a way to form online communities and work remotely.Societal and cultural aspects of autism have developed: some in the community seek a cure, while others believe that autism is simply another way of being.
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.
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Zeroing In On The Genetics Of Autism
Some evidence that genetics plays a role in autism and ASD is provided by research on twins. According to the CDC, if one identical twin has autism, there’s a 75% chance the other twin will be affected, too. If a fraternal twin is affected, the other twin has a 3% chance of having autism.
Parents who give birth to a child with ASD have up to an 8% chance of having another child who is also affected, the CDC estimates.
Many U.S. couples have delayed childbearing, and the older ages of both the mother and the father have been linked with a higher risk of having children with ASD, according to a report in the journal Pediatrics. With age could come increased risk for genetic mutations or other genetic problems.
Specific genetic problems help explain only a small percentage of autism cases so far. “We know that major chromosomal abnormalities are identified in about 5% of ASD,” says Milunsky of Boston University. “We know that Fragile X syndrome is responsible for about 3%.” Fragile X syndrome, a family of genetic conditions, is the most common cause of inherited mental impairment, and also the most common known cause of autism or autism-like behaviors.
“Hot spots” of genetic instability may play a role, researchers say. For instance, a team of researchers reported in The New England Journal of Medicine that duplications and deletions on a specific chromosome seem to be associated with some cases of autism.
But genetics is not the whole story, he and other experts say.
Autism Prevalence Around The World
There’s is no official count of the number of people who have been diagnosed with autism worldwide. Some countries don’t have well-established health and education systems, so those on the higher functioning end of the spectrum can slip through the cracks. According to the Simmons Foundation Autism Research Initiative, a number of factors can affect the accuracy of autism surveys worldwide. In addition to the heath and education resources available, these include the way that the society views autism and an autism diagnosis and the methods used to gather the data.
Although there are many countries that simply don’t have enough official data about autism, several countries have conducted reputable studies. They can offer a few clues about the prevalence of autism around the globe.
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