Autism is a spectrum disorder that is the name for a broad range of medical conditions that exhibit challenges in social skills, communication, and repetitive behaviors. Autism affects everyone differently and in varying severity. It typically presents itself in childhood and affects 1 in 54 children in the U.S. Autism is a lifelong disorder and is complex. However, with early intervention, those diagnosed can receive the services they need to live a quality life.
Signs of Autism
The DSMV characterizes autism as “Persistent differences in communication, interpersonal relationships, social interaction across different environments, and restricted and repetitive behavior, patterns, activities, and interests.” There is no one symptom every child with autism shares. Every case has different combinations of symptoms. Some common signs are:
- Being nonverbal
- Abnormalities in speech
- Difficulty making friends
- Repetitive sounds or phrases
- Repetitive movements
- Difficulty with a change in routine
- Restricted interests
- Extremely high or low sensitivity to sensory stimuli
Since autism is often diagnosed in childhood when certain milestones are consistently missed, knowing the typical milestones as your child grows will help.
Diagnosis and Treatment
If you become concerned that your child is not following a typical development course, the next step is to have your child evaluated by a physician. It is essential to see a medical professional since other medical conditions can be confused with autism, and a physician can make an accurate determination.
There is no cure for autism, but appropriate care and support will allow children diagnosed to flourish. There is no one size fits all approach to managing the symptoms of autism, so it’s important to work with your child’s doctor to find the most effective therapy for your child. Behavior management therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy are a few of the options available for autism. The FDA has approved some medications, such as risperidone and aripiprazole, for treating the irritability associated with ASD in children of certain ages. Other medication options have been shown to help with other symptoms but are not safe for children under 18.
Clinical Research is Brightening the Future of Autism
If your child is exhibiting signs of autism, clinical research studies may be an option. Research studies are looking into potential new opportunities for autism. The work of research is so vital since autism varies so much in each child.
Currently, Core Clinical Research is conducting clinical research studies for children who exhibit autism symptoms. Qualified participants will receive a full no-cost evaluation for autism or ASD. Once evaluated, you and your child may be allowed to participate in one or several other autism studies. More information can be found on our website.