Frequently Asked Questions
A. Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are a group of developmental disabilities caused by problems with the brain. We are learning more and more everyday about what causes Autism spectrum disorders and generally it is understood to be caused by a complex interaction of genetics, environmental influences, and other factors we have not yet discovered. ASDs can impact a person's functioning at different levels, from very mildly to severely. There is usually nothing about how a person with an ASD looks that sets them apart from other people, but they may communicate, interact, behave, and learn in ways that are different from most people. The thinking and learning abilities of people with ASDs can vary - from gifted to severely challenged. To receive a diagnosis of Autism an individual must have difficulties in three categories: 1. Social Interaction 2. Verbal Communication 3. Repetitive Behaviors.
Q? What is Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)?
A. ABA therapy utilizes the well-documented principles of human behavior and learning to decrease negative behaviors and increase communication, life skills and independence. ABA is a research-based intervention that has been used with a wide variety of populations. It is widely considered the front line treatment for Autism and other developmental disorders.
Q? What are the signs of Autism?
ASDs begin before the age of 3 and last throughout a person's life, although symptoms may improve over time. Some children with an ASD show hints of future problems within the first few months of life. In others, symptoms might not show up until 24 months or later. Some children with an ASD seem to develop normally until around 18 to 24 months of age and then they stop gaining new skills, or they lose the skills they once had.
A person with an ASD might:
-Not respond to their name by 12 months
-Not point at objects to show interest (point at an airplane flying over) by 14 months
-Not play "pretend" games (pretend to"feed" a doll) by 18 months
-Avoid eye contact and want to be alone
-Have trouble understanding other people's feelings or talking about their own feelings
-Have delayed speech and language skills -Repeat words or phrases over and over (echolalia)
-Give unrelated answers to questions -Get upset by minor changes -Have obsessive interests
-Flap their hands, rock their body, or spin in circles
-Have unusual reactions to the way things sound, smell, taste, look, or feel
Q? Is there a cure for Autism?
Although there is no known cure for autism, research indicates the best treatment is intensive early intervention such as applied behavior analysis. In addition assessing diet, occupation therapy, and other allied treatments are helpful for many people.
Q? What is the first step if I am worried about my child's development?
If you have concerns about your child the first step is having a professional assess your child. It is important that this professional has experience with developmental problems in children. Typically a Pediatrician, Psychiatrist, or Psychologist are good places to start. Call CAC today and we can help you find the right person to assess your child.