Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) – which is often shortened to autism – refers to a group of neurodevelopmental disorders that present challenges to the way a person interacts and communicates with others. Although individuals with autism typically do not have physical differences, they learn, think, and reason differently than others.
Autism symptoms and diagnoses most commonly occur during early childhood. Symptoms can vary greatly by individual, creating an assorted degree of challenges throughout life. Individuals with autism may be able to live independently with only minor difficulties, as is the cause with high functioning autism, or may require constant assistance and support. Some people with autism have intellectual gifts.
Types Of Autism Spectrum Disorder
There are five distinct disorders that fall under the umbrella of autism spectrum disorder. The symptoms and effects of these conditions range from minor to severe:
Asperger’s Syndrome, which is sometimes called high functioning autism, is the mildest form of autism. Individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome are uncoordinated and socially awkward. Although they have impairments, they also often have average or above average intelligence. Frequently, with Asperger’s treatment, individuals with this disorder can lead fairly independent lives.
Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified
Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS) refers to moderate cases of autism and is the most common diagnosis of the disorder. This diagnosis is given to individuals who exhibit multiple mild symptoms of autism or only exhibit a few symptoms.
Children with more serious symptoms than exhibited in Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified receive a diagnosis of autistic disorder. Individuals with this disorder experience a greater quantity and severity of autism symptoms, and are often mentally and intellectually disabled.
Rett syndrome is a rare disorder caused by a random genetic mutation. This disorder is characterized by continuous repetitive movements. Individuals with Rett syndrome also experience great difficulty eating, breathing, communicating, and walking.
Childhood Disintegrative Disorder
Childhood disintegrative disorder (CDD) is the rarest and more severe form of Autism. Often, individuals with childhood disintegrative disorder develop normally for the first four years of life before experiencing a severe loss of cognitive, social, and speech functions.
Symptoms Of Autism Spectrum Disorder
Autism spectrum disorder’s name stems from the wide range of symptoms that the condition can exhibit. The signs of autism most often present between the ages of two and three. Children with autism may exhibit any of the following symptoms:
- Poor eye contact
- Doesn’t respond to his/her name
- Difficulty starting and/or holding conversations
- Abnormal and repetitive speech patterns
- Dislikes physical contact
- Difficulty showing or expressing emotion, verbally and/or through facial expressions
- Difficulty understanding the emotions of others
- Acts inappropriately during social interactions
- Dislikes playing and interacting with others
- Doesn’t respond appropriately to simple directions and questions
- Abnormally fixated on certain activities or objects with great intensity
- Performs repetitive, sometimes harmful, movements
- Resistant to and upset by changes in his/her life, routines, and rituals
Since there are no blood tests or other medical assessments for this condition and it presents itself in many ways, autism can be difficult to diagnose. If you think your child may have autism, Clarity Clinic’s experienced team of Chicago psychiatrists and therapists can help you receive an accurate diagnosis and thorough autism treatment.
Autism Spectrum Disorder Treatment
While there is no cure or single treatment for Autism, with comprehensive, personalized treatment, individuals with this disorder can lead happy and healthy lives. Clarity Clinic’s experienced team of psychiatrists and therapists can work together to reach a correct diagnosis and provide individualized care, which may include behavioral therapy, family therapy, and medication. For Autism treatment, Asperger’s treatment, or any Autism Spectrum therapies your loved one needs, schedule an appointment today at Clarity Clinic’s Chicago office.