If your loved one has been diagnosed with autism, it’s essential to understand what that means. Knowing the signs and available treatments will give you the knowledge to feel secure and prepared for a bright future.
We’ll be answering the following questions:
- What is autism?
- Is autism a disability?
- Are you born with autism?
- What causes autism?
- At what age does autism appear?
- What are the symptoms and signs of autism?
- What treatments are available for autism?
- What is ABA therapy?
What is Autism?
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that impacts cognitive abilities, social skills, and behavioral and emotional processes. It’s within a broad category of developmental disorders known as Pervasive Developmental Disorders.
Adults and children with ASD exhibit behaviors and characteristics associated with the disorder, which are used as determining factors for a diagnosis.
Is Autism a Disability?
Yes, autism is a developmental disability that creates differences in the brain from neurotypical brains. Because of the range of these differences, adults and children with autism must be treated according to their unique contexts.
With all this said, it’s important not to confuse a disability with an illness. While individuals with autism have experiences and challenges others may not, it’s not a negative diagnosis. We need to empower and support our family and friends with autism, embracing their differences and offering the support they need to thrive and integrate socially and vocationally.
Are You Born with Autism?
Yes, people with ASD are born with it. The idea that autism develops after birth can come from mistaking the word “diagnosis.” Someone may not be diagnosed with a disorder until later in life, but this doesn’t mean the disorder developed suddenly.
Misconceptions of autism development may also come from grouping it with disorders that can spring up during childhood. For example, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder causes an individual to lose acquired skills. In conditions like this, different outside factors can cause it to develop.
What Causes Autism?
As of now, it isn’t clear what causes autism. In some scenarios, people in the same family will have autism, suggesting it can be genetic.
Despite autism’s unknown cause, false information circulates, raising unnecessary worries and concerns.
No evidence suggests that autism is caused by the following:
- Lifestyle or diet
- Abuse, neglect, or bad parenting
- Contagious infection or disease
- A behavioral or mental health disorder
- Temporary childhood conditions
At What Age Does Autism Appear?
While autism is present from birth, the signs and symptoms become more apparent as the individual grows up.
In some circumstances, a child as young as 18 months old can be diagnosed with autism, sometimes younger. An experienced professional can typically make a reliable diagnosis at around 24 months old.
Symptoms and Signs of Autism
- Not responding to sounds, voices, or their name by nine months of age
- No babbling or meaningful gestures by 12 months of age
- Does not play simple interactive games (e.g., pat-a-cake)
- No verbal communication by 16 months of age
- Adverse reaction to loud or sudden sounds
- Absence of facial expressions by nine months of age (e.g., happy, sad, angry, scared, surprised, etc.)
- Avoids or does not keep eye contact
- Resists being held, touched, or cuddled
- Prefers playing or being alone
- Speaks in rhythm or sing-songy voice
- Appears unaware of other peers’ feelings
- Uninterested in playing with others their age
- Doesn’t point at objects
- Exhibiting violent behavior towards others, especially without provocation (e.g., biting, scratching, hitting, screaming, etc.)
- Unusual attachment to one toy or object
- A limited inventory of sounds, words, and gestures for their age group
- Unable to imitate actions
- Difficulty expressing emotions
- Upset by certain sounds, tastes, and smells
- Restricted and repetitive behaviors (e.g., lining up toys orderly, repeating words or phrases, never changing playing habits, following specific routines)
- Becomes upset or minor changes in routine
- Delayed skills (language, cognitive, movement, learning)
- Difficulty paying attention or calming down
What Treatments Are Available for Autism?
There are plenty of available treatments for ASD. Roman Empire Agency offers services that help our clients learn independent living skills and receive support where it is needed.
REA’s services include:
- Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)
- Adaptive Skills Training (AST)
- Independent Living Skills Training (ILS)
- Supported Living Services (SLS)
- Forensic Services
- SSI/ Medical/ Medicare Assistance
What is ABA Therapy?
Like our other services, ABA focuses on developing necessary life skills. REA’s Functional Behavior Assessments (FBA) and treatment plans are individualized and carried out by an ABA therapist with specialized training.
Skills covered in our ABA therapy program include:
- Social communication skills
- Community Training
- Functional Pre-Academics
- Functional Academics
- Home Living Skills
- Health and Safety
- Leisure Skills
- Self Care Skills
- Social Skills
- Motor Skills
- Work Skills