What is autism? It can be a little daunting to think about. If you’re like me at the beginning of your autism journey you were overwhelmed and confused. I had a lot of people tell me what autism looked like in my child, but I think it’s also helpful to understand the bigger picture of autism.
Autism By the Numbers
The 2016 Center for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) Study
The CDC conducted a study in 2016 of 8-year-olds (born in 2008). The study showed a staggering increase in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) diagnoses from a previous study conducted by the CDC in 2000.
- 2016 study: 1 in 54 children were diagnosed with ASD.
- 2000 study: 1 in 250 children were diagnosed with ASD.
Part of the reason for the increase in ASD diagnoses was the change made by the American Psychiatric Association in 2013. This change lumped four different diagnoses under the autism umbrella. The four diagnoses were:
- Childhood Disintegrative Disorder
- Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS)
What is Autism?
Simply put, autism is a disorder characterized by deficiencies in communication, social interaction, and behavior.
Treatment Plans Should Be Individualized
The symptoms and severity of autism can vary drastically from one person to another. This makes it hard to determine one appropriate treatment for autistic people as a group.
It is essential to look at the individual when treating autism. Your Autism Game Plan should be created based on your child’s individual strengths and challenges.
Common Symptoms of Autism
- Not looking at faces
- Lack of interest in interacting with other people
- Do not respond to their name before 1-year-old
- Inability or delay in the use of hand motions such as pointing or simple sign language
- Inability to use and interpret non-verbal communication
- Greater interest in objects than in people
- Obsessive interest in certain objects or themes
- Changes to routine trigger a meltdown or unease
Co-existing medical diagnoses:
- Gastrointestinal issues like constipation or diarrhea
- Sleep disorders
- Mood disorders
Early Intervention is Beneficial
Early intervention is more beneficial than delaying treatment. While early intervention can lead to faster and more profound success, don’t worry if your child isn’t diagnosed until an older age–progress is still possible.
You aren’t always going to make the right choices for our child no matter how smart you are or how much research you’ve done. We all take wrong turns at times, but it’s important to get back on the horse and keep fighting for your child.
Be gentle with yourself. You’re doing a great job.
I hope this information has been helpful to you as part of creating Your Autism Game Plan.
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All my videos offer unbiased, actionable advice for your most common autism challenges.