Individuals on the autism spectrum tend to have differing degrees and combinations of symptoms and therefore treatment must be tailored to the individual. It is also important to keep in mind that individuals with autism vary widely in their needs, skills and abilities.While autism appears to be on the rise is unclear whether the growing number of diagnosing these shows the increase comes from an actual increase in cases or improved detection by parents, teachers, and health care professionals.
Signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Social interaction
- Communication — both verbal and nonverbal
- Behaviors and interests
A child on the Autism spectrumoften experiences learning development delayed from birth, though some children seem to develop normally before experiencing a sudden loss in social or language skills at a certain point in early childhood. For others, particular or unusual behavior patterns (such as spending hours lining up toys) will become obvious at a later stage.
Parents are usually the first to notice something is irregular but proper diagnosis of autism is often delayed as some parents and even doctors down play early signs of autism — in fact, many suggest symptoms are just a phase or a sign of a minor delay in typical social and language progression.
Until recently, the types of ASD have been determined by guidelines in the widely-recognized diagnostic manual (known as DSM – IV) of the American Psychiatric Association. According to the Center for Disease Control (or CDC), the three major types of ASD are classified as follows:
- Asperger’s syndrome
- Pervasive developmental disorder
- Autistic disorder
The DSM -IV also included two rare but severe autistic-like conditions: childhood disintegrative disorder and Rett syndrome.The new diagnostic manual (DSM – V) has made some major changes in this list of disorders problematizing easy classification of this condition. It’s unclear, though, how these changes will affect the way health professionals define Autistic spectrum disorders, but it is clear from the manual that more attention is being paid to early identification, behavioral analysis, and intervention treatment than ever before.
At a speech pathology centre, such as Toronto’s Simone Friedman SLS, people with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are introduced to aholistic Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) and Intensive Behavioral Intervention (IBI) approach. The program selected for you or your child is designed to be unique and custom-tailored according to age, ability, availability, and budget. We use both naturalistic methods (including play and interaction) and formal behavior modification (including ABA, IBI) to help people with ASD to develop new skills. Some of the skills developed at Simone Friedman IBI therapy in Toronto include:
- Communication skills
- Social skills that include understanding and taking part in social situations and interactions
- Behaviour (which includes paying attention, as well as coping with restrictions and dealing with emotions)
- General life skills (such as housework and money skill planning)
- Motor skills (especially use of the body and hands)
- Cognition skills (which include learning concepts like colours and shapes)
- Hygiene (which includes self-help when it comes to bathing, toileting etc.)
If you suspect that your child may be on the ASD, do not hesitate to contact a speech language centre in your area right away. Early diagnosis and intervention can make all the difference in how a child with Autism makes important improvements in language and social skills.