Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorders in Children

Autism spectrum disorder can start in childhood and later causes problems interacting in society, socially, at work and in school, including academic performance. Usually children first display symptoms of autism in the early years. A very small percentage of children seem to develop normally from birth, and then experience a prolonged period of regression, usually between eighteen and twenty-four months of age, when they gradually develop verbal language, socialization, emotional development and learn more complex routines. The rest of the children suffer either some autistic characteristics or they have classic autistic tendencies but are not diagnosed with autism at that time.

The definition of autism spectrum is actually a collection of related disorders such as Fragile X Syndrome, Asperger’s Syndrome, Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS) and Autism Spectrum Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (ASD-NOS). Someone with AS is different from someone with PDD-NOS or FDD. Someone with PDD-NOS may be slow to speak, have poor eye contact or maintain their feelings towards others. Someone with Asperger’s Syndrome has difficulties in relating to others, usually have problems with initiating and taking part in conversations, and can rarely tell the difference between one kind of voice and another. Someone with autism spectrum disorder has symptoms similar to those listed above, but they can’t talk, have poor eye contact and maintain their feelings towards others.

Many people believe that there is just one main autism spectrum disorder, but there is in fact a great many different variations of these disorders. People with Asperger’s Syndrome and autism spectrum disorders (asd) may have the same basic symptoms, but they have different variations in how they display those symptoms and in how they behave. Other variations of these disorders include:

* Autism Spectrum Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (ASD-NOS): This is the most common form of autism spectrum disorder. It typically begins during childhood or adolescence and manifests with language and social communication deficits, as well as extreme interests in one specific topic or type of hobby. This form of autism spectrum disorder is very often characterized by early intervention. Often the symptoms are so severe that it’s difficult for a parent to even realize that their child might have Asperger’s. Early intervention can help parents and children to develop skills that increase their chances of leading a normal life.

* Autism Spectrum Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (ASD-NOS): This is the second most common form of autism spectrum disorder. Unlike Asperger’s Syndrome, people with ASD-NOS do not receive an Asperger’s treatment or any other type of autism treatment. Instead, they are treated using a standard medical approach that involves a set of diagnostic assessments and a structured social-behavioral approach. People with this form of autism spectrum disorder may not have other underlying mental health disorders.

Although people with ASDs don’t necessarily have a myriad of signs and symptoms that will necessitate an autism evaluation and diagnosis, these disorders can be difficult to miss due to their subtlety. It’s not uncommon for people to confuse sensory processing disorders such as autism with sensory processing disorders such as autism spectrum disorders. The difference is that the latter involve much more information processing in the brain than the former.

Children with ASDs can often exhibit the same set of symptoms as autistic individuals, such as extreme interests in one subject or topic and a lack of interest in others. For example, if your child loves animals, they may show great interest and excitement in pet names, noises, or types of behavior. However, they may also show signs of agitation, anxiety, and nervousness around animals. Similarly, children with ASDs can have a fixation on one type of toy or another and can often become involved in repetitive play or routines, without communicating their feelings. They may not communicate their social skills, as most people do with typical children.

If you suspect your toddler or young child may have ASDs, your family doctor or pediatrician should take a comprehensive diagnostic screening and review. You will likely be given a thorough examination as well as asked questions pertaining to your child’s medical history, mental health history, medications taken and current family living arrangements. Your doctor will also need to determine if the child has gastrointestinal, neurological, and psychiatric symptoms as well. The screening can also provide valuable information about potential therapies, such as social skills training, occupational therapy, and other alternative treatments, as well. In addition, you and your medical professional will be able to determine if your child needs ongoing treatment and if the symptoms are ones associated with a more serious developmental disorder. Your doctor will help you find an effective and safe early childhood health care program that will optimize your child’s potential for optimal development and serve as the foundation for a happy and healthy life.

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