Autism, or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), refers to a group of conditions that cause difficulties with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech, and nonverbal communication. Collectively, ASD is comprised of the following conditions: autistic disorder, pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), and Asperger syndrome. ASD is a common diagnosis and, according to the Center for Disease Control, affecting 1 in 54 children in the United States today.
ASD is commonly diagnosed around 2-3 years of age and is based on behavior and development. Each child diagnosed with Autism will demonstrate different strengths and weaknesses. However, common signs and symptoms of ASD include:
- Challenges with social, emotional, and communication skills
- Avoiding eye contact
- Repeating actions over and over
- Difficulty adapting to change
- Fixation on certain objects
- Sensitivity to light, sound, and touch
Additionally, treatment for ASD is dependent on the child, their symptoms, and their developmental delays. Children may benefit from all therapy services or may need more attention in one area over another.