While many people have heard of autism, not everyone completely understands exact how autism spectrum disorder (ASD) works. Part of this may be because, as the Centers for Disease Control reports, scientists don’t know the exact causes of ASD, and there are many different conditions that fall under ASD. Read on to get a quick rundown on ASD, potential risk factors, and signs to watch for in your children.
What Exactly is Autism Spectrum Disorder
ASD is a developmental disability that can lead to social, behavioral, and communication challenges. An ASD diagnosis can include several different conditions, such as autistic disorder, Asperger syndrome, and pervasive developmental disorder. According to the CDC, about 1 in 68 children are identified with ASD.
Due to the number of conditions and differences between each case, the severity of individual cases of autism spectrum disorder can vary greatly. People with ASD often look the same as other people, but various symptoms can cause issues in their daily lives.
Learning, problem-solving, and other related abilities can range drastically, as people with ASD can ranged from extremely challenged to gifted. Depending on severity, people with ASD may need help to do daily functions, while others may not need as much outside help.
Signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder
ASD starts early in life, with some symptoms showing in the first few months. A reliable ASD diagnosis can typically be made by age 2, although some children might not be able to be diagnosed until after 4 years of age depending on the type of ASD.
There are many red flags that can potentially indicate ASD, particularly issues with social skills, communication, and unusual interests and behaviors. The CDC lists the following signs as red flags that a child with ASD might do:
- Not respond to their name by 12 months of age
- Not point at objects to show interest (point at an airplane flying over) by 14 months
- Not play "pretend" games (pretend to "feed" a doll) by 18 months
- Avoid eye contact and want to be alone
- Have trouble understanding other people's feelings or talking about their own feelings
- Have delayed speech and language skills
- Repeat words or phrases over and over (echolalia)
- Give unrelated answers to questions
- Get upset by minor changes
- Have obsessive interests
- Flap their hands, rock their body, or spin in circles
- Have unusual reactions to the way things sound, smell, taste, look, or feel
While scientists don’t know the exact causes of ASD, there are certain factors that can increase the chance a child has some form of ASD, such as genetics. If you’re concerned that your child is showing signs of ASD, give us a call at 440-934-8810 or contact us online to make an appointment with one of our local pediatricians today.
Dr. Matthew Kacir, M.D.
DISCLAIMER: This blog is for informational purposes only. It does not replace medical care from a licensed physician. If you have a medical concern, please contact your doctor.