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Category Archives: Autism
What Is Autism? What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and autism are both general terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors. With the May 2013 publication of the DSM-5 diagnostic manual, all autism disorders were merged into one umbrella diagnosis of ASD. Previously, they were recognized as distinct subtypes, including autistic disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder, pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) and Asperger syndrome.
ASD can be associated with intellectual disability, difficulties in motor coordination and attention and physical health issues such as sleep and gastrointestinal disturbances. Some persons with ASD excel in visual skills, music, math and art.
Autism appears to have its roots in very early brain development. However, the most obvious signs of autism and symptoms of autism tend to emerge between 2 and 3 years of age. Autism Speaks continues to fund research on effective methods for earlier diagnosis, as early intervention with proven behavioral therapies can improve outcomes. Increasing autism awareness is a key aspect of this work and one in which our families and volunteers play an invaluable role. Learn more
Autism statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identify around 1 in 68 American children as on the autism spectruma ten-fold increase in prevalence in 40 years. Careful research shows that this increase is only partly explained by improved diagnosis and awareness. Studies also show that autism is four to five times more common among boys than girls. An estimated 1 out of 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls are diagnosed with autism in the United States.
ASD affects over 3 million individuals in the U.S. and tens of millions worldwide. Moreover, government autism statistics suggest that prevalence rates have increased 10 to 17 percent annually in recent years. There is no established explanation for this continuing increase, although improved diagnosis and environmental influences are two reasons often considered. Learn more
Not long ago, the answer to this question would have been we have no idea. Research is now delivering the answers. First and foremost, we now know that there is no one cause of autism just as there is no one type of autism. Over the last five years, scientists have identified a number of rare gene changes, or mutations, associated with autism. A small number of these are sufficient to cause autism by themselves. Most cases of autism, however, appear to be caused by a combination of autism risk genes and environmental factors influencing early brain development.
In the presence of a genetic predisposition to autism, a number of nongenetic, or environmental, stresses appear to further increase a childs risk. The clearest evidence of these autism risk factors involves events before and during birth. They include advanced parental age at time of conception (both mom and dad), maternal illness during pregnancy and certain difficulties during birth, particularly those involving periods of oxygen deprivation to the babys brain. It is important to keep in mind that these factors, by themselves, do not cause autism. Rather, in combination with genetic risk factors, they appear to modestly increase risk.
A growing body of research suggests that a woman can reduce her risk of having a child with autism by taking prenatal vitamins containing folic acid and/or eating a diet rich in folic acid (at least 600 mcg a day) during the months before and after conception.
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What Is Autism? | | Autism Speaks
The autism spectrum or autistic spectrum describes a range of conditions classified as neurodevelopmental disorders in the fifth revision of the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th edition (DSM-5). The DSM-5, published in 2013, redefined the autism spectrum to encompass the previous (DSM-IV-TR) diagnoses of autism, Asperger syndrome, pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), and childhood disintegrative disorder. These disorders are characterized by social deficits and communication difficulties, stereotyped or repetitive behaviors and interests, sensory issues, and in some cases, cognitive delays.
A revision to autism spectrum disorder (ASD) was proposed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders version 5 (DSM-5), released May 2013. The new diagnosis encompasses previous diagnoses of autistic disorder, Asperger's disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder, and PDD-NOS. Rather than categorizing these diagnoses, the DSM-5 will adopt a dimensional approach to diagnosing disorders that fall underneath the autism spectrum umbrella. It is thought that individuals with ASDs are best represented as a single diagnostic category because they demonstrate similar types of symptoms and are better differentiated by clinical specifiers (i.e., dimensions of severity) and associated features (i.e., known genetic disorders, epilepsy and intellectual disability). An additional change to the DSM includes collapsing social and communication deficits into one domain. Thus, an individual with an ASD diagnosis will be described in terms of severity of social communication symptoms, severity of fixated or restricted behaviors or interests and associated features. The restriction of onset age has also been loosened from 3 years of age to "early developmental period", with a note that symptoms may manifest later when demands exceed capabilities.
Autism forms the core of the autism spectrum disorders. Asperger syndrome is closest to autism in signs and likely causes; unlike autism, people with Asperger syndrome have no significant delay in language development. PDD-NOS is diagnosed when the criteria are not met for a more specific disorder. Some sources also include Rett syndrome and childhood disintegrative disorder, which share several signs with autism but may have unrelated causes; other sources differentiate them from ASD, but group all of the above conditions into the pervasive developmental disorders.
Autism, Asperger syndrome, and PDD-NOS are sometimes called the autistic disorders instead of ASD, whereas autism itself is often called autistic disorder, childhood autism, or infantile autism. Although the older term pervasive developmental disorder and the newer term autism spectrum disorder largely or entirely overlap, the former was intended to describe a specific set of diagnostic labels, whereas the latter refers to a postulated spectrum disorder linking various conditions. ASD, in turn, is a subset of the broader autism phenotype (BAP), which describes individuals who may not have ASD but do have autistic-like traits, such as avoiding eye contact.
Under the DSM-5, autism is characterized by persistent deficits in social communication and interaction across multiple contexts, as well as restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities. These deficits are present in early childhood, and lead to clinically significant functional impairment. There is also a unique form of autism called autistic savantism, where a child can display outstanding skills in music, art, and numbers with no practice.
Asperger syndrome was distinguished from autism in the DSM-IV by the lack of delay or deviance in early language development. Additionally, individuals diagnosed with Asperger syndrome did not have significant cognitive delays.PDD-NOS was considered "subthreshold autism" and "atypical autism" because it was often characterized by milder symptoms of autism or symptoms in only one domain (such as social difficulties). In the DSM-5, both of these diagnoses have been subsumed into autism spectrum disorder.
Although autism spectrum disorders are thought to follow two possible developmental courses, most parents report that symptom onset occurred within the first year of life. One course of development follows a gradual course of onset in which parents report concerns in development over the first two years of life and diagnosis is made around 34 years of age. Some of the early signs of ASDs in this course include decreased looking at faces, failure to turn when name is called, failure to show interests by showing or pointing, and delayed pretend play. A second course of development is characterized by normal or near-normal development followed by loss of skills or regression in the first 23 years. Regression may occur in a variety of domains, including communication, social, cognitive, and self-help skills; however, the most common regression is loss of language. There continues to be a debate over the differential outcomes based on these two developmental courses. Some studies suggest that regression is associated with poorer outcomes and others report no differences between those with early gradual onset and those who experience a regression period. Overall, the prognosis is poor for persons with classical (Kanner-type) autism with respect to academic achievement and poor to below-average for persons across the autism spectrum with respect to independent living abilities; in each case, a lack of early intervention exacerbates the odds against success. However, many individuals show improvements as they grow older. The two best predictors of favorable outcome in autism are the absence of intellectual disability and the development of some communicative speech prior to five years of age.[medical citation needed] Overall, the literature stresses the importance of early intervention in achieving positive longitudinal outcomes.
While a specific cause or specific causes of autism spectrum disorders has yet to be found, many risk factors have been identified in the research literature that may contribute to the development of an ASD. These risk factors include genetics, prenatal and perinatal factors, neuroanatomical abnormalities, and environmental factors. It is possible to identify general risk factors, but much more difficult to pinpoint specific factors. In the current state of knowledge, prediction can only be of a global nature and therefore requires the use of general markers.
The results of family and twin studies suggest that genetic factors play a role in the etiology of autism and other pervasive developmental disorders. Studies have consistently found that the prevalence of autism in siblings of autistic children is approximately 15 to 30 times greater than the rate in the general population. In addition, research suggests that there is a much higher concordance rate among monozygotic twins compared to dizygotic twins. It appears that there is no single gene that can account for autism. Instead, there seem to be multiple genes involved, each of which is a risk factor for part of the autism syndrome through various groups.
A number of prenatal and perinatal complications have been reported as possible risk factors for autism. These risk factors include maternal gestational diabetes, maternal and paternal age over 30, bleeding after first trimester, use of prescription medication (e.g. valproate
) during pregnancy, and meconium in the amniotic fluid. While research is not conclusive on the relation of these factors to autism, each of these factors has been identified more frequently in autistic children compared to their non-autistic siblings and other normally developing youth.
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Autism spectrum - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Welcome to the Autism Treatment Center of America, the worldwide teaching center for The Son-Rise Program , a powerful and effective treatment for children and adults challenged by Autism, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) , Asperger's Syndrome, and other developmental difficulties. The Son-Rise Program was originated in 1974 by parents, Barry Neil Kaufman (best-selling author, Son-Rise: The Miracle Continues) and Samahria Lyte Kaufman for their son. The treatment and educational model has changed the way children with Autism are helped worldwide.
Experience an introduction to The Son-Rise Program through this inspiring video. Learn practical tools that you can begin using today, and see examples of these tools in practice.
The Son-Rise Program was originated by Barry Neil Kaufman and Samahria Lyte Kaufman in 1974 for their son, Raun, who was challenged by autism.
Their Autism education model has changed the way children with Autism are helped worldwide.
The following video is an introduction to The Son-Rise Program with some practical Autism teaching and treatment tools that you can begin using today and some examples of those tools in practice.
Click Here to watch
Watch the series of 60-90 second video clips that, in a funny but sweet way, outline the differences between ABA and The Son-Rise Program.
Parents are the best resource for the child and our wish is that we can get The Son-Rise Programs message of hope out to other parents.
The purpose of these videos is to stimulate debate and discussion in a playful, fun, and lighthearted way. Our goal is to outline the key differences between ABA and The Son-Rise Program and to give parents the knowledge so that they can make an educated choice for their child and their family.
Click Here to watch
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Autism Treatment Center of America: The Son-Rise Program
What are the autistic spectrum disorders (ASD)? Autism spectrum disorders, or ASD, are also called pervasive developmental disorders (PDD) because they involve delay in many areas of development. PDD or ASD is a category that includes five different disorders of development, each with differing severities and patterns:
For more information on ASD and PDD:
What is autism or autistic disorder? Autism is the most common autism spectrum disorder. People with autism have differences in the development of their thinking, language, behavior and social skills. The differences appear before age three, and can be diagnosed by 18 months. For a diagnosis of autism, a child must have a specified number of symptoms in these areas:
If you think your child may have these traits, talk to your health care provider and find out how to have your child evaluated.
What is Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS)? PDD-NOS, also called atypical autism or mild autism, means having differences in some of the same areas as in autism, only not to such a great extent. A child with PDD-NOS does not meet the criteria for any other specific PDD/ASD.
What is Asperger syndrome? See YourChild: Asperger syndrome.
What is Childhood Disintegrative Disorder (CDD)? See these resources:
How common are the autism spectrum disorders? The Center for Disease Control and Preventions (CDC) Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network released data in 2007 that found about 1 in 150 8-year-old children in the areas of the United States they monitor had an ASD1 For more on the numbers: Prevalence of ASDs, from the CDC.
Autism occurs throughout the world in families of all racial, ethnic and social backgrounds. Boys are four times more likely to have autism than girls2.
The MIND Institute in California found that the number of cases of autism is on the rise. This is probably a national trend.
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Autism, Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and Pervasive ...
What Is Autism Spectrum Disorder?
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is characterized by:
The term spectrum refers to the wide range of symptoms, skills, and levels of impairment or disability that children with ASD can have. Some children are mildly impaired by their symptoms, while others are severely disabled. The latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) no longer includes Aspergers syndrome; the characteristics of Aspergers syndrome are included within the broader category of ASD.
Information on ASD can also be found on the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development website and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
Scientists don't know the exact causes of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), but research suggests that both genes and environment play important roles.
In identical twins who share the exact same genetic code, if one has ASD, the other twin also has ASD in nearly 9 out of 10 cases. If one sibling has ASD, the other siblings have 35 times the normal risk of also developing the disorder. Researchers are starting to identify particular genes that may increase the risk for ASD.
Still, scientists have only had some success in finding exactly which genes are involved. For more information about such cases, see the information below about Fragile X syndrome and tuberous sclerosis.
Most people who develop ASD have no reported family history of autism, suggesting that random, rare, and possibly many gene mutations are likely to affect a person's risk. Any change to normal genetic information is called a mutation. Mutations can be inherited, but some arise for no reason. Mutations can be helpful, harmful, or have no effect.
Having increased genetic risk does not mean a child will definitely develop ASD. Many researchers are focusing on how various genes interact with each other and environmental factors to better understand how they increase the risk of this disorder.
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NIMH Autism Spectrum Disorder
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a range of complex neurodevelopment disorders, characterized by social impairments, communication difficulties, and restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behavior. Autistic disorder, sometimes called autism or classical ASD, is the most severe form of ASD, while other conditions along the spectrum include a milder form known as Asperger syndrome, and childhood disintegrative disorder and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (usually referred to as PDD-NOS). Although ASD varies significantly in character and severity, it occurs in all ethnic and socioeconomic groups and affects every age group. Experts estimate that 1 out of 88 children age 8 will have an ASD (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, March 30, 2012). Males are four times more likely to have an ASD than females.
The hallmark feature of ASD is impaired social interaction. As early as infancy, a baby with ASD may be unresponsive to people or focus intently on one item to the exclusion of others for long periods of time. A child with ASD may appear to develop normally and then withdraw and become indifferent to social engagement.
Children with an ASD may fail to respond to their names and often avoid eye contact with other people. They have difficulty interpreting what others are thinking or feeling because they cant understand social cues, such as tone of voice or facial expressions, and dont watch other peoples faces for clues about appropriate behavior. They may lack empathy.
Many children with an ASD engage in repetitive movements such as rocking and twirling, or in self-abusive behavior such as biting or head-banging. They also tend to start speaking later than other children and may refer to themselves by name instead of I or me. Children with an ASD dont know how to play interactively with other children. Some speak in a sing-song voice about a narrow range of favorite topics, with little regard for the interests of the person to whom they are speaking.
Children with characteristics of an ASD may have co-occurring conditions, including Fragile X syndrome (which causes intellectual disability), tuberous sclerosis, epileptic seizures, Tourette syndrome, learning disabilities, and attention deficit disorder. About 20 to 30 percent of children with an ASD develop epilepsy by the time they reach adulthood..
ASD varies widely in severity and symptoms and may go unrecognized, especially in mildly affected children or when it is masked by more debilitating handicaps. Very early indicators that require evaluation by an expert include:
Later indicators include:
Health care providers will often use a questionnaire or other screening instrument to gather information about a childs development and behavior. Some screening instruments rely solely on parent observations, while others rely on a combination of parent and doctor observations. If screening instruments indicate the possibility of an ASD, a more comprehensive evaluation is usually indicated.
A comprehensive evaluation requires a multidisciplinary team, including a psychologist, neurologist, psychiatrist, speech therapist, and other professionals who diagnose children with ASDs. The team members will conduct a thorough neurological assessment and in-depth cognitive and language testing. Because hearing problems can cause behaviors that could be mistaken for an ASD, children with delayed speech development should also have their hearing tested.
Children with some symptoms of an ASD but not enough to be diagnosed with classical autism are often diagnosed with PDD-NOS. Children with autistic behaviors but well-developed language skills are often diagnosed with Asperger syndrome. Much rarer are children who may be diagnosed with childhood disintegrative disorder, in which they develop normally and then suddenly deteriorate between the ages of 3 to 10 years and show marked autistic behaviors.