Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorders

Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are a group of neurodevelopmental disorders with symptoms presenting in early childhood and persisting throughout the lifespan. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5 ASDs are characterized by “repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities,” and “persistent deficits in social communication and interaction.”

Symptoms of ASD are categorized by severity in 3 levels ranging from Level 1- requiring support to Level 3- requiring very substantial support. In the past diagnoses of Asperger Syndrome, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified were considered separate disorders, however these diagnoses are now classified as Autism Spectrum Disorders.

ASD is also commonly diagnosed in conjunction with other disorders or illnesses including but not limited to: ADD, ADHD, anxiety, bi-polar, seizure disorder, sensory processing problems, OCD, depression, and intellectual disability.

Treatment for ASD comes in many forms and is most commonly tailored for each individual and may include medication and engagement in social services as well as behavioral and cognitive training and supports.

It is important to remember that no two people with ASD are alike and that symptoms vary across individuals. ASD is a lifelong diagnosis for which there is no cure. However, with treatment and training some symptoms may lessen. Depending on the severity of symptoms, and with the appropriate supports and treatments in place, individuals with ASD can live independently and work in the community. For more information, see the references section below.







Category: In the News · Tags:

Comments are closed.