The CDC estimates that autism affects about 1 in 54 children in the United States. Children with autism often have different ways of learning, paying attention, or reacting to things. While no treatment has been shown to cure this condition, Woman’s Therapy team can help children learn how to best function and participate in society.
What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges. Diagnosis usually occurs in the first two years of life. While individuals have varying degrees of severity and symptoms, early diagnosis and treatment can greatly improve levels of functioning and communication skills.
What are Signs and Symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder?
- Decreased eye contact
- Difficulty following directions
- Difficulty acknowledging when others are speaking
- Difficulty responding to his or her name
- Delayed or absent speech
- Preferring to play alone rather than engaging others.
- Difficulty gauging tone of voice and/or facial expressions
- Leading caregivers to desired items/needs rather than verbalizing needs.
- Feeling overwhelmed in social situations
- Difficulty with turn-taking interactions
- Difficulty with change and/or transitions
- Repetitive body movements, such as hand flapping, rocking, spinning
- Repetitive verbalizations (echoing others, things heard on TV—but not communicatively)
- Fixation on lining items/toys up
- Fixation on items
- Sorting toys/objects by color and/or shape
- Repetitive motions with objects (spinning wheels on cars rather than rolling car)
- Child will only eat certain foods and/or avoids certain textures.
Additionally, individuals with autism may have hypersensitivity to sounds, smells, and textures.
How is Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosed?
Diagnosing ASD can be difficult since there is no medical test, like a blood test, to diagnose the disorders. Oftentimes, pediatricians will refer children to speech and/or occupational therapy due to delayed development of communication or play skills. After an evaluation and subsequent treatment, the therapist(s) may notice atypical behaviors that may indicate the possibility of ASD. Referral to a pediatric neurologist or developmental pediatrician for an evaluation may be obtained at that time.
What Treatment Options are Available for Autism Spectrum Disorder?
There is currently no cure for ASD. However, research shows that early intervention treatment services can improve a child’s development. Woman’s Hospital Center for Wellness offers physical, occupational, and speech therapy for children that have been diagnosed with autism. Therapy programs are structured to meet the individual needs of the child in a play setting and include sensory integration therapy, feeding therapy for picky eaters, and language skills training.
To learn more about Woman’s Therapy and ASD treatment, call 225-924-8450 or visit our website.