Authored by Stacy Hensley in Child and Teen Health
Published on 09-15-2009
Autism Spectrum Disorders
Children with an autism spectrum disorder(ASD) each have different symptoms. The spectrum is used to categorize similar autism spectrum disorders from mild to severe depending on the range of the symptoms. This is used to help diagnose the disorder and the severity of the child’s symptoms.
There are three categories of autism spectrum disorders. These categories are classic autism, Asperger syndrome, and pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified which is often referred to as PDD-NOS.
Autism is a developmental disorder that causes problems in communication, social interactions, and behavior. Some children with autism may seem to be developing normally and then lose the skills that they once had. The symptoms usually become visible by the time the child reaches three years old. Each child is different and can exhibit a combination of symptoms.
- Speaks with an strange tone or rhythm.
- Does not make eye contact
- Repeats things others say or things they see on television.
- Prefers to play alone.
- No response to their name.
- Has specific routines or rituals.
- Performs repetitive movements, such as rocking, spinning, head banging or hand-flapping
- Does not like or adjust well to changes.
- Moves constantly.
- Does not seem to notice pain.
- May be highly sensitive to light, touch, and sound.
Asperger syndrome is usually considered to be at the milder end of the spectrum. Like children with autism, children with Asperger syndrome will also have problems with social interaction and communication.
Asperger Syndrome Symptoms
- May have awkward body movements and gestures.
- May not make eye contact.
- May have limited facial expressions.
- Becomes obsessive over a specific subject.
- Does not seem to understand the feelings of other people.
- Lacks coordination or seems clumsy.
- May have a rigid walk or odd posture.
Pervasive Development Disorder-not otherwise specified
Pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified is used for cases that can not clearly be classified as a specific autism spectrum disorder. A child with Pervasive Development Disorder-not otherwise specified usually shows signs of communication problems, some social problems, and even some behavior problems, but not they are not sufficient enough to be classified as classic autism or Asperger syndrome.
There is currently no known cure for the autism spectrum disorders, but there are several treatment options available for you to choose from.
Public schools are required to provide free education for all students, including those with special needs. Do some research and ask around because not all public schools are created equally. Find the school in your area that offers the best education opportunities for children with special needs.
There are several therapies available with children that have an autism spectrum disorder. Some schools may offer behavioral therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy. You can also find places outside of school that offer these therapies.
Early intervention is important for children with autism spectrum disorders. Starting treatment early can make a big difference in your child’s educational and developmental progression.