Autism Treatment

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Common Characteristics:

Behavioral

Communication

Learning

Misconceptions:

The Myths and Truths about Autism.

Diagnosis:

Incidence, Causes, Treatment, Needs and more information on Autism.

What is Autism

Autism is a lifelong neurological disorder that affects the person's development and how their brain processes information. Symptoms of this developmental disorder usually manifest themselves within the first three years of life.

Autism is best described as a spectrum disorder in that the characteristics of autism can be reflected in a myriad of ways. Individuals with autism can exhibit any combination of behaviors or symptoms in any degree of severity, from mild to severe. Therefore, two children diagnosed with autism can be dramatically dissimilar to one another. There is no typical or standard form of autism and there is often an uneven profile of skills scattered across various developmental areas.

Individuals with autism typically experience challenges in the areas of communication (verbal and/or written), social interaction (establishing relationships, maintaining friendships, appropriate play skills) and sensory integration (either hyper or hypo sensitivity to such stimuli as light, sound or touch). Unusual patterns of behavior, interests and activities can also be associated with the condition

 

While there is currently no known cure for autism, it is a treatable disorder and individuals can make remarkable progress with consistent and individualized programming focusing on communication, social skills and in some cases, behavioral intervention.

Kanner(1943) defined children with autism as children who exhibit a) serious failure to develop relationships with other people before 30 months of age b) problems in development of normal language c) ritualistic & obsessional behaviors ("insistence on sameness") and d) potential for normal intelligence.*

Dr. Leo Kanner's work is still respected today although changes have been made to his diagnostic criteria and various subtypes have been identified. Unfortunately, 45 years after Kanner's initial efforts, Autism remains greatly misunderstood and requires significant support and commitment from both the health care and education systems such as Nursing School, as well as the community at large.

* Behavioral Treatment and Normal Educational and Intellectual Functioning in Young Autistic Children. O.Ivar Lovass University of California, Los Angeles.