Developmental disorders like Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) can have an enormous impact on people, families, and communities. Our goal is to give you the tools you need to manage your diagnosis and lead a fulfilling life.
As the name suggests, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) does not describe a single, easy-to-define condition but rather a number of related but distinct conditions that can vary in severity. Conditions that were once thought to be separate disorders – such as PDD-NOS, Aspberger’s, and Autism – are now regarded as related pieces of the autism spectrum. Like other developmental disorders, Autism Spectrum Disorder can impact people in a variety of ways, from speech and language to social skills and more.
Estimates suggest that autism affects about 1% of the world’s population. In the United States, 1 in 54 children will be diagnosed with autism, with boys being four times as likely as girls to be diagnosed with the disorder.
If you believe that you or someone you care about might be experiencing Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), you are not alone. Keep reading to learn more about:
If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, please contact emergency services or reach out to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)’s free, confidential, 24/7 national helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) for immediate assistance.
Developmental disorders like Autism Spectrum Disorder are conditions that arise during a person’s developmental period and can impair their physical, social, mental, and behavioral development. Developmental disorders such as autism typically affect a person for their whole life.
Every person with autism develops differently, has different strengths, and faces different challenges. Autism Spectrum Disorder is often accompanied by sensory sensitivity and medical problems such as:
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Autism is often diagnosed early in life. Developmental delays are typically noticeable by the time a person is 2 or 3 years old, but autism can be diagnosed in children as young as 18 months.
Because autism is a spectrum, the signs and symptoms of autism can vary greatly. Some people show behavioral and developmental differences in infancy. Other people with very high-functioning autism may not be diagnosed until adulthood, believing instead that they simply have social or generalized anxiety.
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There are several warning signs of autism that parents and caregivers can identify in infants. Keep in mind that babies can exhibit these symptoms, but still develop typically into their toddler years and beyond.
Signs of autism in babies include:
By the time a person reaches the age of 2 or 3 years old, the developmental delays common in Autism Spectrum Disorder are usually more noticeable. Signs of autism in toddlers include:
Our procedure for diagnosing autism has developed a great deal since autism was first added to the DSM in 1980. As a result of these changing diagnostic criteria, many people with high-functioning autism are not diagnosed until adulthood. This experience is particularly common in women, who may present with different symptoms, and people with a form of high-functioning autism formerly known as Aspberger’s.
Symptoms of autism in adults include:
Like many other complex mental health conditions, we aren’t able to pinpoint a single cause of autism. Instead, we know that a variety of genetic, biological, and environmental risk factors contribute to whether or not a person is likely to develop Autism Spectrum Disorder.
A few factors that increase a person’s risk for autism include:
While there is no cure for Autism Spectrum Disorder, experts have developed a number of therapies to help people with autism manage their symptoms and achieve the highest quality of life possible. Treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorder might include:
At Transformations Care Network, we are dedicated to helping people in our communities access life-changing mental health care. If you believe that you are experiencing a developmental disorder such as Autism Spectrum Disorder, contact us today to learn what our compassionate care providers can do for you.