Autism, also known as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), is a developmental disability caused by certain differences in the brain. These differences may be genetic in some cases, but in others, their cause is unknown. In fact, we have yet to learn about many aspects of these types of disorders.
Simply put, those with ASD can communicate, behave, interact, and learn differently from most other people. Oftentimes, nothing about their physical appearance sets them apart from those who do not have these disorders. And not all cases are the same. For example, some patients can exhibit highly developed communication skills, while others may be non-verbal. Likewise, some of them can lead independent lives, while others need some help to perform their daily activities.
Signs and Symptoms
The signs of ASD usually become apparent before a child turns 3 years old. Symptoms may persist for the rest of their lives, but they may also improve over time.
People with ASD often have issues to communicate and interact with others. Moreover, they can exhibit behaviors or interests that may seem repetitive. Sometimes they may also encounter difficulties in their learning and mobility.
These signs and symptoms are not exclusive to ASD, which makes it challenging to diagnose this condition. There isn’t a specific medical exam either, such as X-rays or blood tests, that could help with the diagnosis. Doctors usually diagnose this disorder by monitoring a child’s development and behavior. The process could take some time.
There is no cure for this condition. Available treatments for ASD typically focus on managing any symptoms that could interfere in the patient’s everyday activities and quality of life. This often requires a multidisciplinary team that may include specialists in psychology, education, pediatrics, and neurology, among other fields.
If you think your child or loved one may have ASD, there are options to get help. At our Salus Clinics, we have pediatricians and neurologists ready to assist. Make your appointment today, either online or by calling 787.789.1996.