Imagine experiencing a sensory overload non-stop all day, every day. For some of those living with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), the experience can be debilitating. We now know that there are many different types of autism characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication. The disorder is caused by different types of genetic and environmental influences. ASD symptoms vary from person to person. Cases with mild symptoms may go easily misdiagnosed.
- no babbling or pointing by age 1
- no single words by age 16 months or two-word phrases by age 2
- no response to name
- loss of language or social skills previously acquired
- poor eye contact
- excessive lining up of toys or objects
- no smiling or social responsiveness
Later indicators include:
- impaired ability to make friends with peers
- impaired ability to initiate or sustain a conversation with others
- absence or impairment of imaginative and social play
- repetitive or unusual use of language
- abnormally intense or focused interest
- preoccupation with certain objects or subjects
- inflexible adherence to specific routines or rituals
With continuous treatment and therapy, the symptoms of autism spectrum disorder may lessen over time. If you are a parent of a child on the autism spectrum here are a few simple tips to help; Be consistent. Stick to a schedule. Reward good behavior. Create a home safety zone.
Under the U.S. federal law known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), children with disabilities—including those with ASD—are eligible for a range of free or low-cost services. Under this provision, children in need and their families may receive medical evaluations, psychological services, speech therapy, physical therapy, parent counseling and training, assistive technology devices, and other specialized services.