Autism, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and Asperger’s

In 2023, CDC reported that approximately 1 in 36 children in the U.S. is diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Statistics show boys are 4x more likely to be diagnosed than girls.

About 31% of all children with ASD have an intellectual disability.

Early intervention is important for the opportunity to support healthy development and improve quality of life.

Autism falls under neurodevelopmental disorder. Neurodevelopmental disorders are a group of conditions that typically manifest early in development, and are characterized by deficits that produce impairments of personal, social, academic, or occupational functioning. These deficits vary from limitations of learning, social skills, or intelligence. 

According to DSM-d criteria, people with ASD often have:

Social communication/ interaction behaviors

Restrictive/ repetitive behaviors

  • Persistent deficits in social communication and social interaction across multiple contexts.
  • Deficits in how they reciprocate social-emotional interactions, reduced sharing of interest, emotions; failure to initiate or respond to social interactions
  • Deficits in verbal and nonverbal communication; abnormal eye contact and inappropriate body language, deficits in understanding and use of gestures, and even total lack of facial expressions.
  • Deficits in developing, and maintaining relationships with others
  • Often talking about their favorite subject without noticing there is no interest from others in the topic
  • Repeating certain unusual behaviors, such as repeating words or phrases
  • Becoming upset at changes in their routine and having difficulty with transitions
  • Experiencing sleep problems

People with autism's strengths lie in their ability to remember details, being strong visual and auditory learners, and they often excel in mathematics, science, and art.

Autism is evaluated by your mental health care provider, through a person’s behavior and development. ASD can be reliably diagnosed as early as 2 years old. It is important to seek professional help sooner if you notice anything out of normal. The earlier the diagnosis, the better prognosis you will achieve. 

Evaluation begins during a well-child check-up with your pediatrician or healthcare provider. If a child exhibits deviation from normal development during the screening process, the healthcare provider should refer that child for additional evaluation. Early diagnoses also help to determine which services, educational programs, and behavioral therapies will benefit the child. 

Diagnostic evaluation for a child often include:

Medical and neurological examinations

Cognitive development and abilities

Language development and abilities

A child’s behavior

Diagnostic evaluation for adults includes:

It is more difficult to diagnose ASD in adults because symptoms may overlap with other mental disorders. It is important to seek an experienced psychiatrist who will be able to diagnose you properly. Some areas explored during your ASD evaluation include how you interact socially, any communication challenges you may have, sensory issues, repetitive behaviors, and any restrictions in interests. 

Autism is usually known as a “spectrum” because there is a wide variety in the type of symptoms and signs people experience.

Once diagnosed, treatment may include medications to treat specific symptoms or to treat any other underlying psychiatric disorder present.

Contact Me