Frequently Asked Questions
What is Autism?
Autism is a spectrum disorder, which means it varies from person to person - no two persons are affected in the same way. Autism is a complicated developmental disorder that usually affects a person in the first three years of life. It affects a person's ability to communicate and interact with others. There is no known cause or cure for autism, and affects every culture and race. 1 in 55 children are diagnosed on the autism spectrum. Boys are 4 times more likely to be diagnosed than girls.
How do I know my child has
Early Childhood Signs:
- Does not babble or coo by 12 months
- Does not gesture (point, wave) by 12 months
- Does not say single words by 16 months
- Does not say 2 word phrases by 24 months
- Has any loss of language or social skills at any age
- Lack or delay of spoken language
- Repetitive use of language and/or motor mannerisms
(ex: hand flapping, twirling objects, rocking back and forth)
- Little or no eye contact
- Lack of interest in peer relationship
- Lack of spontaneous/make-believe play
- Persistent fixation on parts of objects
If your child has any of these symptoms, it may not necessarily mean they have autism. The autism spectrum has a wide range and symptoms vary by person. It is important to have your child evaluated by a multidisciplinary team. The team usually consists of a neurologist, psychologist, pediatrician, speech/behavioral therapist, or other professionals who are specialized in autism.
Can My Child be Cured?
At this time, there is no cure for autism. However, autism is treatable. Early intervention is very important in the treatment of autism and can significantly improve life. There are treatment and educational approaches that reduce some of the challenges associated with autism. Intervention may help lessen disruptive behaviors and education can teach self-help skills that allow for greater independence. Just as there is no one symptom or behavior that identifies individuals with autism, there is no one single treatment that will work for all individuals with autism.
Treatment options include (but are not limited to):
- Non-medical intervention (Speech therapy, Occupational therapy)
- Behavioral Therapy (ABA, Floor Time)
- Educational approaches (school related services)
- Biomedical Treatments (modified diet, vitamins)
I think my child has autism... What do I do first?
1. Schedule an evaluation with your pediatrician
2. Contact your local school district for an evaluation