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Autism

What is Autism?

What is autism? It’s a brain disorder that makes it hard for people to interact with others or communicate well. In Utah, 1 out of every 80 males have been diagnosed with the condition and 6 times more boys than girls are affected by it in some form at an early age. Autism can appear suddenly during a child’s first 3 years of life before being recognized as such later on in adulthood when they may exhibit symptoms like restlessness or hyperactivity instead among many other signs depending on their exact type which varies from person-to-person ever so slightly but enough to impact how they perceive things around them hence making socializing tough if not impossible altogether most often resulting in isolation and depression without proper treatment although this doesn’t apply to all cases.

More Information About Autism?

When to see a doctor

It’s very important to monitor your child’s development and seek help if you have any concerns. Symptoms of autism can be diagnosed as early as 12-18 months, so it is best for children to get treatment in their first years of life. You should take part in well baby visits with your physician at least once a year before age 2 where they will check on the following symptoms: eye contact (3–4 months), babbling or gesturing language skills (12mo.), single words spoken by 16months, two word phrases by 24mos., just repeating others’ words/sounds

Causes

Autism was first identified in 1943. Scientists still don’t know what causes it, but they do know that ASD is not caused by the way a parent raises their child because people are either born with it or have a tendency to develop autism; scientists study both:


• Genetic factors- Scans show differences in brain shape and structure of those who suffer from Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). It’s thought these changes are genetic, meaning part of one’s DNA which can pass down through generations.


•Environmental factors – outside factor does not cause this disorder as there is no concrete evidence showing otherwise; however environmental triggers might trigger autistic behaviors too.

Diagnosis and Tests

To determine if your child has ASD, doctors typically use an amalgamation of surveys, checklists and questionnaires from parents/teachers/doctors. These tests ask about behaviors like social interactions with others or play habits to understand whether a person fits the criteria for autism spectrum disorder (ASD).


To diagnose autism, a doctor gathers information about the child by interviewing them and observing their behavior. They do this with standard criteria in order to identify if they meet specific diagnostic checklists and questionnaires that have been established for determining whether an individual has autism or not.


Through medical tests, doctors can rule out or discover other conditions that may be causing symptoms. These additional tests don’t diagnose autism and cannot help with diagnosis of the disorder at all.


Evaluations rule out hearing problems and assess speech, language abilities to determine how autism affects overall communication skills. Autism has a big effect on the individual with it experiencing difficulties speaking clearly or communicating in general. Evaluating these aspects can help individuals as they may need therapy sessions regarding their struggles and parents may also learn more about what areas of development are lacking for their child compared to his/her peers so that accommodations could be made if necessary at school (e.g., writing down instructions).


When diagnosing autism, doctors may also look at several other conditions that might be causing the same symptoms.


Your child could have these in addition to or instead of autism:

  • ADHD
  • Oppositional defiant disorder
  • Conduct disorder
  • Mental retardation/learning disabilities
  • Hearing loss
  • Anxiety/depression
  • Ands finally, your doctor will want to rule out epilepsy if there are any seizures present.


Treatments

There are many types of treatments available, and they can be categorized in a variety of ways.

The first category is behavior and communication approaches as these aim to change the way that someone behaves or communicates by working on them through various exercises like applied behavioral analysis, social skills training, occupational therapy (which could help with any physical problems), sensory integration therapy (to soothe different senses if there was some kind of traumatic event which caused pain) and assistive technology for those who cannot use their hands effectively such as computers.

There’s also dietary changes people might make because certain foods may not work well with other conditions but this would most likely require an expert opinion before you made adjustments to your diet even though it could have great benefits later down the road.

By visiting Path’s clinics, Doctors can advise on the latest research in which medications or complimentary medical treatments are showing promise.

Prevention

Unfortunately, there is no known way to prevent autism spectrum disorders. However, studies have found NO links between the two and it’s important that your child gets their vaccines.

Support and resources

The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders has a website to help individuals with ASD who have communication challenges.

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research has resources to help caregivers and health professionals with the oral healthcare needs of individuals with ASD.

Clinical Trials.Gov lists federally funded clinical trials that are looking for participants. If you or someone you know would like to take part in an autism study, go to the website and search “autism.”

The Autism Treatment Network (ATN) seeks to create standards of medical treatment that will be made broadly available to physicians, researchers, parents, policymakers, and others who want to improve the care of individuals with autism. ATN is also developing a shared national medical database to record the results of treatments and studies at any of their five established regional treatment centers.

Symptoms

People with ASD often have problems with social, emotional, and communication skills. They might repeat certain behaviors and might not want change in their daily activities. Many people with ASD also have different ways of learning, paying attention, or reacting to things. Signs of ASD begin during early childhood and typically last throughout a person’s life.

According to the CDC, these may be symptoms of autism:

Children or adults with ASD might:

  • not point at objects to show interest (for example, not point at an airplane flying over)
  • not look at objects when another person points at them
  • have trouble relating to others or not have an interest in other people at all
  • avoid eye contact and want to be alone
  • have trouble understanding other people’s feelings or talking about their own feelings
  • prefer not to be held or cuddled, or might cuddle only when they want to
  • appear to be unaware when people talk to them, but respond to other sounds
  • be very interested in people, but not know how to talk, play, or relate to them
  • repeat or echo words or phrases said to them, or repeat words or phrases in place of normal language
  • have trouble expressing their needs using typical words or motions
  • not play “pretend” games (for example, not pretend to “feed” a doll)
  • repeat actions over and over again
  • have trouble adapting when a routine changes
  • have unusual reactions to the way things smell, taste, look, feel, or sound
  • lose skills they once had (for example, stop saying words they were using)