One of the most common questions I receive from parents at my private practice is, “do you think he/she has Autism Spectrum Disorder?”
It’s very important for parents, caregivers and teachers to know the signs and symptoms of children who are, in fact, diagnosed as being on the spectrum. As with any disorder, knowing symptoms can assist the people in the child’s life begin to help him/her the best way possible. In this blog, I will address the common signs or symptoms of an individual that may be diagnosed with an Autism.
According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by deficits in social communication and social interaction and the presence of restricted, repetitive behaviors.
Social communication deficits include impairments in aspects of joint attention (looking and focusing on multiple things or activities) and social reciprocity (give and take in conversations), as well as challenges in the use of verbal and nonverbal communicative behaviors for social interaction.
At its core, communication is a social process; therefore, the social communication issues experienced by individuals with ASD also impact their communication partners.ASHA, 2012
Family members, friends, teachers, speech pathologists, and other service providers who interact with someone with ASD are faced with the challenge of learning to respond to subtle attempts for communication, interpreting the functions of problem behavior, and modifying the environment to foster active, social engagement (ASHA,2012). Peers often times feel challenged when communicating with someone who has been diagnosed with ASD, which can lead to even more issues with social interactions and a negative learning experience.
Individuals who are diagnosed with ASD may have difficulties with four main areas, which will be discussed in greater lengths. These four main areas also have sub-areas that will be briefly targeted in this blog. It is important to remember that not every individual will exhibit difficulties in all areas – they may only have issues in one. Everyone is different!
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This means being able to engage and fully participate in all facets of a conversation.
Social cognition refers to the mental processes involved in perceiving, attending to, remembering, thinking about, and making sense of the people in our social world (Moskowitz, 2005).
This area is one of the largest indicators that a child may be diagnosed with ASD. Therefore, it will be discussed in the most detail as possible.
Problems with behavior and emotional regulation include (ASHA, 2012):
Deficits in sensory and feeding may lead to the following behaviors:
REMEMBER. Not every individual will display all of these characteristics. They may have a little from the sensory and feeding category, a bunch from cognition and none from the other categories.
PLEASE NOTE. Even if your child is diagnosed with ASD, they can grow up to have the same things as every other child – be successful, have a job and have a family.
It is important to get your child properly diagnosed by a medical professional as early as possible to start intervention as soon as possible!
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