A term used to refer to a category of developmental disabilities is Autism Spectrum Disorder, which is also known as ASD. These developmental disabilities are characterized by speech and social contact difficulties and small and repeated activities in a person (Lord, Cook, Leventhal & Amaral, 2013). In ASD, the use of the term “spectrum” is due to the large variety of conditions or impairments that an individual diagnosed with ASD can face. Because of the resulting large spectrum of cases and severity, it is difficult to identify the first symptoms of ASD, according to Lord et al. (2013).
By simply studying a child’s actions and development, ASD is diagnosed. Diagnosis can easily be done among children aged between nine months and fourteen years. The evaluation mainly assesses language abilities, thinking skills, and age appropriate skills (Lauritsen, 2013). More comprehensive assessment entails blood tests and hearing tests. Symptoms of ASD can be grouped into several categories, which include behavior, sensory, social skills, play, and communication. Diagnosing ASD among adults can be hard as some of its symptoms may overlap with those of other mental health disorders, for example, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
Most people tend to link causes of ASD with vaccines. However, studies carried out on the matter shows that although the exact cause is not known, the disorder is associated with genes and the environment. According to Dawson (2008), scientists have identified ASD to be more common amongst individuals with certain genetic conditions, such as tuberous sclerosis or Fragile X syndrome. Administering ASD treatment and getting proper care early is important. This approach helps the person by allowing them a better chance to maximize their potential. ASD has no single best treatment. However, the patient is usually advised to work closely with their doctor to choose the best treatment program (Dawson, 2008). Some treatment programs include music and physical therapy, auditory training, discrete trial training, facilitated training and sensory integration therapy.
Dawson, G. (2008). Early behavioral intervention, brain plasticity, and the prevention of autism spectrum disorder. Development and psychopathology, 20(03), 775-803.
Lauritsen, M. B. (2013). Autism spectrum disorders. European child & adolescent psychiatry, 22(1), 37-42.
Lord, C., Cook, E. H., Leventhal, B. L., & Amaral, D. G. (2013). Autism spectrum disorders. Autism: The Science of Mental Health, 28(2), 217.