According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) are a group of developmental disabilities that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges. CDC estimates that an average of 1 in 110 children in the U.S. have an ASD. CDC is working to find out how many children have ASDs, discover the risk factors and raise awareness of the signs.
Types of ASDs
There are three types of Autism Spectrum Disorders:
o Austistic Disorder – Often referred to as “classic” autism, those with autistic disorder have significant language delays and deficiencies in social connectedness.
o Asperger Syndrome - Named for Hans Asperger, an Austrian born pediatrician, those with Asperger’s syndrome may have high I.Q.’s and precocious vocabularies but may have social challenges.
o Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified (PDD – NOS; also referred to as “atypical autism”) – These individuals usually have milder symptons than those with austistic disorder. Symptons may appear as challenges in communication and participation in ordinary life.
Signs and Symptons
Symptons of ASDs may be seen within the first few months or may not be apparent until 24 months or later. Symptons may improve over time. Check with your pediatrician regarding developmental milestones for your child. Possible areas for concern are:
- Not responding to their name by 1 year of age.
- Avoiding eye contact and wanting to be alone.
- Flapping their hands, rocking their body or spinning in circles.
- Resisting physical contact.
- Plays with toys the same way each time.
- Unusual reactions to touch, smell, sounds, taste and sights.
For a full listing of signs and symptons please visit the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention website.
There is currently no cure for ASDs. Learn as much as you can. Early intervention is key. For more information check the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) even if your child has not been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.