Autism Spectrum Disorders
Autism spectrum disorder is a complex disorder, and its study is rapidly evolving. The word ‘spectrum’ relates to a broad scope of symptoms and severity levels in individuals with an autism spectrum disorder. It is a neurodevelopmental disorder causing social interaction and communication challenges, repetitive behavior, and restricted interests. People with autism spectrum disorder can find it tough to use and interpret verbal and non-verbal communication. Some children talk less or don’t talk, while others may be good at talking. Children might show symptoms of autism spectrum disorder within the first 12 months or later, around 24 months old.
The cause of autism is unknown and controversial. Most researchers agree that there is no single etiology, and multiple clinical variations exist. Overall, many researchers and clinicians believe that genetic predispositions might interact with environmental risk factors to change the development of brain structure. Other contributing factors might include infections, metabolic diseases, or physiological brain abnormalities.
Signs and Symptoms
• Poor eye contact and lack of facial expressions
• Speaking in a monotone or robotic voice
• Preference to play alone or restricted interests in play
• Difficulty in using and understanding gestures and words
• Repeating words and phrases without using them purposefully
• Difficulty understanding how others feel
• Sensitivity to light and certain smells and sounds
• Repetitive movements, behaviors, and routines
How Can We Help?
Early diagnosis and treatment can make a tremendous impact in improving overall communication. Early intervention and preschool programs are beneficial in increasing social and pragmatic skills and language development. Our speech and language therapists can help to set goals to improve communication skills, develop an intervention plan and identify the most appropriate treatment approach to meet your child’s needs.