Autism is a difficult to understand and complex illness commonly diagnosed in childhood. Children with Autism have a wide spectrum of symptoms including struggling with social interactions, understanding language, expressive communication, repetitive/purposeless behaviors, and difficulty establishing relationships with others. While Autism symptoms and severity ranges significantly, untreated Autism can lead to self-harming behaviors, destructive aggression, and serious behavioral outbursts at school.
What Is Autism?
According to the Department of Labor, Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) “a neurological developmental disability with an estimated prevalence of one to two percent of the American and worldwide population.” Commonly known as autism, the disorder usually manifests in early childhood and affects a child’s ability to communicate and interact with others. Symptoms can include a wide range of social, linguistic, and sensory issues. However, since autism is a spectrum disorder, the symptoms can vary widely. No two children with autism are alike and each person’s individual experience with autism, including their need for support and medical intervention, can vary widely.
How Is Autism Diagnosed?
If your child has developmental delays, you should speak with a health care professional who specializes in neurological or developmental issues in children. NeuroHealth Arlington Heights is an expert family practice that can assess your child. We offer autism treatment to patients in and around Arlington Heights, IL.
Since Autism symptoms vary so widely, and a lot of the symptoms are shared with other disorders such as ADHD, diagnosis can be tricky. There isn’t one set test that can determine whether or not your child is on the spectrum. However, working with an experienced medical provider who has worked with many similar cases increases your chances of getting a correct diagnosis.
The specialist may:
- Review your child’s communication, behavior, and social interactions over time.
- Test your child’s understanding of language and social skills.
- Ask your child to interact in a structured social situation and observe how he or she behaves.
- Look into other disorders that have similar symptoms, like fragile X syndrome.
After gathering this information, your specialist may be prepared to give a diagnosis. To be diagnosed with ASD, your child must meet these criteria:
- Experience difficulties with social situations.
- Have trouble understanding nonverbal communication, like body language.
- Have trouble developing and understanding relationships.
Your child must also show at least two of these criteria:
- Repetitive movements or speech patterns
- Extreme distress when routines are interrupted
- Abnormal interest in objects or topics
- Either abnormally high or abnormally low sensitivity to sensory input
If your specialist notices these signs, your child could be diagnosed with autism.
How Is Autism Treated?
ASD is not a curable disorder, and the cause is still unknown in the medical world. Because symptoms vary so widely, there isn’t a set treatment that is guaranteed to work. However, if your child has autism, he or she can still get treatment that will help him or her function and even thrive in society.
Treatment can include behavioral therapy, family therapy, and medication:
- Behavioral therapy helps children understand social situations and linguistic skills. Because children with ASD don’t intuitively grasp social norms, this kind of therapy teaches them how to behave acceptably in different situations and how to communicate with other people.
- Family therapy is focused on helping the child’s entire family. Your family may not know how to successfully interact with your child with autism, and therapy can help your home function smoothly and peacefully.
- Medication isn’t a way to cure ASD. However, certain medicines may help with symptoms. For example, if your child shows severe distress when anything disrupts his or her routine, anti-anxiety medication may help.
NeuroHealth Arlington Heights provides comprehensive treatment for autism, and we can help you find the right treatment for your child’s unique needs.
To learn more about autism treatment in Arlington Heights, IL, come to NeuroHealth. Our staff of trained experts can evaluate, diagnose, and treat your child to give him or her a better chance at a happy future. Contact us today!