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Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder that effects communication, social interactions, and behavior. “There is often nothing about how people with ASD look that sets them apart from other people, but people with ASD may communicate, interact, behave, and learn in ways that are different from most other people. Many people with ASD also have different ways paying attention or reacting to things” (CDC, 2018). Each child with ASD is unique and the abilities of individuals with ASD range greatly, just like those without ASD, from gifted to severely challenged.
“Signs of ASD begin during early childhood and typically last throughout a person’s life. ASD can sometimes be detected at 18 months or younger. By age 2, a diagnosis by an experienced professional can be considered very reliable” (CDC, 2018). Symptoms of ASD often appear in the first 2 years of a child’s life and 1 in 59 children have ASD.
“Research shows that early intervention services can greatly improve a child’s development. In order to make sure your child reaches his or her full potential, it is very important to get help for an ASD as soon as possible” (CDC, 2018). Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is considered best practice for the treatment of ASD by the Surgeon General, American Academy of Pediatrics, and American Psychological Association.
“The list below gives some examples of the types of behaviors that are seen in people diagnosed with ASD. Not all people with ASD will show all behaviors, but most will show several.” (National Institute of Mental Health, 2018). Additionally, a list specific to early childhood is included below. Autism is considered a ‘spectrum’ because there is great variation in what types of symptoms individuals have and the severity of symptoms people experience.
Autism is diagnosed based off the signs and symptoms that represent difficulties and deficits associated with it. However, individuals with autism have many strengths! As with all people, some strengths are unique to them and you know those best. But some strengths may be more common among a group of people. This is a list of only some of the strengths that may be noted in individuals with autism.
This video shows typical early childhood development in contrast to children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Typical development at 9 months of age
Typical development at 12 months of age
Typical development at 18 months of age
Typical development at 2 years of age
Typical development at 3 years of age
Typical development at 4 years of age