Autism spectrum disorder is a type of neurodevelopmental disorder that is characterized by symptoms such as diminished social communication and interaction, repetitive behaviors, and restricted interests.
Also sometimes referred to as ASD or simply autism, this disorder is a complex condition that can impact all areas of a person’s life. As the term spectrum indicates, the signs, symptoms, and effects of autism spectrum disorder can vary considerably from person to person.
As described by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), treatment for autism spectrum disorder can help people acquire new skills, enhance their innate strengths and capabilities, and achieve improved quality of life.
Signs & Symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder
The signs and symptoms of autism spectrum disorder can be significantly different among children and adolescents who have this condition.
The many signs and symptoms of autism spectrum disorder include:
- Repetitive movements or speech patterns
- Failure to engage in conversation
- Reduced capacity for sharing thoughts, interests, or emotions
- Nonstandard use of eye contact and body language
- Deficits in recognizing and interpreting social cues
- Problems developing and maintaining relationships
- Difficulty adapting behaviors according to accepted social standards
- Extreme distress regarding transitions or changes
- Rigid thought patterns
- Intense focus on, preoccupation with, or attachment to certain objects or topics
- Inflexible adherence to certain routines or behavior patterns
- Indifference or excessive reaction to sensory stimuli
People who exhibit signs and symptoms of autism spectrum disorder should complete a screening, receive an accurate diagnosis from a qualified professional, and, if necessary, find an appropriate place to get autism treatment.
Autism Spectrum Disorder Causes & Risk Factors
Researchers have not identified one universal autism spectrum disorder cause or risk factor. However, they have noted that several factors can increase the likelihood that a person will develop ASD.
The fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) reports that possible causes and risk factors for autism spectrum disorder may include:
- Being born to parents of advanced age
- Low weight at birth
- Exposure to the anticonvulsant medication valproate during fetal development
- Having certain genetic variants
Effects of Autism Spectrum Disorder
The impact and effects of autism spectrum disorder can vary considerably from person to person depending on a variety of factors, including the nature and intensity of the autism symptoms they experience.
Potential effects of autism spectrum disorder may include:
- Delayed language development
- Disrupted eating and sleeping patterns
- Difficulties with certain self-care tasks
- Problems forming and maintaining healthy friendships
- Substandard academic progress
- Chronic unemployment or underemployment
- Inability to establish a healthy independent lifestyle
- Social withdrawal and isolation
Autism Spectrum Disorder Statistics
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported the following autism spectrum disorder statistics:
- The CDC estimates that about 1 in 54 children (or about 1.9% of that population) have autism spectrum disorder.
- About 3% of boys and about 0.7% of girls have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.
- About 33% of children who were diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder also have an intellectual disability.
- Identifiable autism symptoms typically occur by age 8.
Therapies Used in Autism Spectrum Disorder Treatment
Children and adolescents who receive care at our center follow personalized autism spectrum disorder treatment plans that are based on a thorough assessment of their needs.
Depending on several individual factors, a young person’s autism treatment plan may include elements such as:
- Basic medical care
- Medication management services
- Individual therapy
- Family therapy
- Multiple types of group therapy
Groups at our autism spectrum disorder treatment center may address a variety of topics, such as emotion regulation, pragmatic communication skills, and activities of daily living.
Benefits of Autism Spectrum Disorder Treatment
The many benefits of receiving care at our autism spectrum disorder treatment center include:
- Safety and security – Throughout your child’s stay in our autism spectrum disorder treatment center, they will benefit from round-the-clock supervision provided by a team of dedicated professionals. Our team is focused on ensuring that our autism spectrum disorder treatment center remains a safe and supportive place for all young people who are entrusted to our care.
- Personalized care – We develop a personalized autism spectrum disorder treatment plan for each child or adolescent, and we work closely with parents and other caregivers throughout their children’s time with us. We’re committed to providing the customized services that can yield long-term benefits.
- Structured and welcoming environment – Children and adolescents who participate in our autism spectrum disorder treatment program benefit from a carefully designed treatment environment. Participants follow a structured schedule, and we make a concerted, ongoing effort to help them feel welcomed, comfortable, and valued.
- Experienced professionals – Care at our autism treatment center is provided by a multidisciplinary team of professionals. This team may include a physician, nurses, a board-certified child and adolescent psychiatrist, social workers, occupational therapists, speech and language pathologists, and other compassionate experts.
Choosing the Right Autism Spectrum Disorder Treatment Center
To choose the right autism spectrum disorder treatment place for your child, it’s important to evaluate the facilities you’re considering based on their ability to meet your child’s specific needs and help them achieve their immediate and long-term goals.
Representatives of places that offer autism spectrum disorder treatment should be happy to provide you with detailed responses to any questions you have, such as:
- Do you provide age-appropriate inpatient programming for children and adolescents who have autism spectrum disorder?
- What is your approach to autism treatment, and which types of evidence-based services do you include in your autism treatment plans?
- How will you identify and address the full scope of my child’s needs?
- How are parents involved in their children’s care while they’re in your autism spectrum disorder treatment program?
- What are the qualifications of the professionals who provide care at your autism spectrum disorder treatment center?
For answers to these and any other questions you may have about autism spectrum disorder treatment at Belmont Behavioral Health System, please contact us at your convenience.
A member of our team is available 24/7 to provide you with the information you need about autism treatment so that you can make the best decision for your child and your family.
This content was written on behalf of and reviewed by the clinical staff at Belmont Behavioral Health System.