By: Dr. Janice Montague- Tuxedo Pediatrics (Suffern, NY)
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a Neurodevelopmental disorder that is marked by two unusual kinds of behaviors:
There are genetic and environmental factors that probably play a role in ASD. In the past, children with these behaviors were diagnosed with one of a set of distinct disorders—autism, Asperger’s disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder (CDD), and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS). Now these separate diagnoses are combined into what’s called the autism spectrum. Symptoms are typically recognized in the first two years of life.
The social/communication piece may appear as follows:
The repetitive piece may appear as follows:
Other symptoms include but are not limited to:
Treatment works to minimize the impact of the core features and associated deficits of ASD and to maximize functional independence and quality of life. Therapies such as speech, occupational and physical are often helpful. There are medications that are used for anxiety and aggression as well. The most important interventions include behavioral interventions. Behavioral therapies improve learning, communication, and social skills.
Models of behavioral training are:
Prognosis can be quite good for many children as long as it is recognized early and treated. More research is finding genetic links, environmental factors, medications, and dietary changes that are helping and impacting the lives of these children every day. So please make sure to discuss all concerns with your pediatrician at every visit. We are here to help you diagnose, treat, and support your family.
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