The signs and symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder are different from other developmental disorders. By age six months, a child with autism may not be smiling broadly or engaging in facial expressions. By nine months, a child may not be babbled, using back-and-forth gestures or speaking in meaningful two-word phrases. However, the signs and symptoms of autism may change over time.
There are several diagnostic tools for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) that have been designed to help doctors and other professionals determine whether a child may have the disorder. Some of these tools are ADOS, ADI-R, and DISCO. These tools assess children based on their skills and behaviour. These tools use specific criteria to make a diagnosis, but individual clinicians’ judgments are also vital.
Currently, there are twelve different diagnostic tools for ASD, most of which are based on direct observations or interviews with the child or their parents or primary caregivers. All of these tools are designed to complement one another and help clinicians make the best possible diagnosis. These tools have varying degrees of sensitivity and specificity, and are useful for a variety of purposes.
Another diagnostic tool for autism spectrum disorder is the Childhood Autism Rating Scale, Second Edition (CARS-2). It can be used with children as young as two and can help identify the severity of ASD symptoms. This tool also has the added benefit of being appropriate for children with both high and low cognitive abilities.
When a child has ASD, a formal diagnosis is essential to start the child on a path to recovery. A formal evaluation will determine the severity of the disorder and whether early intervention services are needed. During this evaluation, a healthcare provider will also discuss the child’s developmental history. Genetic testing or counseling may also be recommended.
Early diagnosis is important because it can shed light on the child’s unique challenges and strengths. It can also help caregivers decide on the proper educational and behavioral therapies for the child. Diagnostic evaluations involve a multidisciplinary team of health care providers, including child neurologists, psychologists, occupational therapists, and speech-language pathologists.
While most children are diagnosed at two years of age, some children may not show signs until they are older. Some children show symptoms as early as 18 months, but it is rare for them to be diagnosed until they are three. In addition, some children may be mildly autistic and show no symptoms until later.
Treatments for autism spectrum disorder can include a wide range of medical and psychological interventions. These therapies may include Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention (EIBI), special education, psychopharmacology, and physical, occupational, and speech therapy. They may also involve instruction in adaptive living skills and social skills training.
The most successful treatment options for individuals with ASD involve a multidisciplinary approach. While behavioral interventions are most effective for addressing core deficits, pharmacological therapies may be helpful for addressing associated behavioral or emotional symptoms. Drugs should target specific neurobiological processes in order to be effective.
Children with ASD often struggle with gross motor skills, coordination, and balance. Occupational therapy helps children improve muscle tone and develop proprioception. Skilled therapists also help children develop new skills, improve posture, and increase fitness. Some children with ASD also struggle with sensory processing and have difficulty expressing themselves. Occupational therapy helps improve these skills as well as daily functioning.
In children with autism, unexpected events and loud environments can overwhelm them. They may have outbursts of emotion, or shut down entirely. Some autistic children exhibit savant syndrome, which is characterized by extraordinary abilities in a specific field. These abilities may include playing an instrument, memorizing vast amounts of information, or understanding complex math. Early detection is critical, as a reliable diagnosis can be made as early as two years old.
There are several factors that play a role in predicting the adult life outcomes of people with ASD. Several studies have shown that women have worse outcomes than men. The study of Taylor et al. suggests that the differences may be due to their reduced ability to communicate effectively. Moreover, adults with ASD are less likely to marry and engage in long-term romantic relationships.
The results of longitudinal studies are helpful for predicting the long-term effects of autism. They can determine whether early interventions are effective in reducing the risk of autism. Early treatment can improve the chance of a child attending a typical classroom and living semi-independently in the community. However, most people with autism continue to be impaired in terms of their social skills and their ability to communicate. Despite the advances in research, the lifelong effects of autism spectrum disorder are not fully understood.