Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

What is autism spectrum disorder?

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a group of complex, neurodevelopmental disorders that impairs a child's ability to communicate and interact with others. It is a developmental disability that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges. ASD can also be associated with intellectual disabilities, delay or absence of language development, trouble with motor coordination and/or attention, and physical health issues. Individuals with ASD often present other co-occurring conditions, including epilepsy, depression, anxiety and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).  The American Psychiatric Association's Diagnosis and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) considers ASD as a single disorder that includes disorders that were previously considered separate: 
 
  • Autism
  • Asperger's syndrome
  • Childhood disintegrative disorder
  • Pervasive developmental disorder 
 
 
Risk factors
 
  • Being male
  • Family history of ASD
  • Other medical conditions
  • Extremely preterm babies
 
Diagnosis
There is no medical test, like a blood test, to diagnose ASD. Doctors look at the child’s behavior and development to make a diagnosis. The criteria-based diagnosis requires deficits in social communication/interaction across multiple contexts and restricted, repetitive behavior/interests.
 
 
Treatment
There is no cure for autism spectrum disorder, however, early treatment can make a big difference in the lives of many children.
 
 
 
# AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER BY THE NUMBERS #
  • ASD affects 1 in 68 children in the United States.
  • It affects 1 in 42 boys.
  • It affects 1 in 189 girls.
  • Boys are nearly 5 times more likely to have ASD than girls.
  • Behavioral signs of autism surface between the ages of 2-3. 
 
autism spectrum disorder about
 
 

Sources
  • "Autism Spectrum Disorders." World Health Organization. World Health Organization, n.d. Web. 05 May 2017.
  • "Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 28 Mar. 2016. Web. 05 May 2017.
  • "Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Information." Cleveland Clinic. Cleveland Clinic, n.d. Web. 05 May 2017.
  • "Autism Spectrum Disorder | Johns Hopkins Guides." Johns Hopkins Guides: Antibiotic (ABX), Diabetes, HIV & Psychiatry. Johns Hopkins Health System, 27 Feb. 2015. Web. 05 May 2017.
  • "Autism Spectrum Disorder." Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 03 June 2014. Web. 07 May 2017.

 

Autism is often referred to as a “hidden disability” because the condition often does not “look” visible.  Parents may come to believe a child with the condition is acting out, and adults with autism can feel misunderstood and isolated.  Although autism can severely impact daily living, support for those affected is improving as our understanding of the condition evolves.  Check out this infographic for important facts and stats about autism spectrum disorder:
 
 
autism spectrum disorder - raising awareness
 
 
 
 

 

The healtheo360 Team interviewed some of the kids at the Autism Family Services of New Jersey's Beach Bash!
 
autism beach bash about autism spectrum disorder
 

 

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