Autism Spectrum Disorder

autism spectrum disorder

The autism spectrum is very wide.  Some kids have noticeable issues, while in others the symptoms might be quite mild.  Some common traits and symptoms that you might see from a child with ASD include deficits in social communication and interactions, such as a lack of back and forth communication or a failure to initiate or respond when spoken to.  You might see a lack of eye contact or a lack of facial expression and other deficits in non-verbal communication.  Kids with ASD might have a harder time making friends or being able to join into imaginative play with others.  They have a hard time with change and often adhere to strict routines. It can help to maintain routines and give these kids advance notice of changes in their schedule. 

 

Kids on the spectrum are often hyper focused on certain activities, subjects or objects.  They might show repetitive behaviors like hand-flapping, rocking, jumping or twirling.  Kids with ASD might be sensitive to touch, light and sound.  Noise canceling headphones, sunglasses and weighted blankets can help these kids cope with stimulus sensitivity.  When kids on the spectrum become overwhelmed and upset, creating a calm environment without distraction, noise and stimulus can help to calm them down.  Relaxation techniques, such as counting, deep breathing or exercise can also be helpful.  Also consider keeping fidget toys, squeeze balls and chewing gum on hand for such situations. 

 

Your pediatrician may make observations or conduct an evaluation during well child visits if indicators for autism are present.  If your child exhibits traits or behaviors common with autism, your medical provider may provide a recommendation for further testing.  Tests will help to measure your child’s abilities in the following areas:  communication, social reciprocity, repetitive behaviors, relating to people, emotional response, object use, sensory use and verbal and non-verbal communication, etc.

 

Some options for ASD testing and treatment in the Salt Lake Valley are, but not limited to:

  • Neuro Assessment and Development Center
  • Wasatch Pediatrics
  • Psychological Solutions
  • Autism Solutions
  • University Autism Spectrum Disorder Clinic
  • Utah Autism Academy
  • Autism Assessment and Treatment
  • Autism and Behavioral Intervention
  • Coping Cat Program

 

Common Testing Measures to help provide a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder are:

  • Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, 2nd ed. (ADOS-2)
  • Childhood Autism Rating Scale, 2nd ed. (CARS-2)
  • Childhood Autism Rating Scale, High Functioning Version, 2nd ed. (CARS-2-HF)
  • Gilliam Autism Rating Scale, 2nd ed. (GARS-2)

 

Once your child has an ASD diagnosis there are a variety of therapy and treatment options.  Common therapies include, but are not limited to:

  • Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA)
  • Naturalistic Developmental Behavioral Interventions (NDBI)
  • Pivotal Response Training (PRT)
  • Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)
  • Social Skills Training
  • Speech Therapy
  • Occupational Therapy

 

Books and resources include, but are not limited to:

  • 101 Games and Activities for Children with Autism, Asperger’s, and Sensory Processing Disorders, by Tara Delaney
  • Early Intervention for Autism: Assessment & Treatment Strategies for Birth to 5, by Susan Hamre
  • Navigating Autism, by Temple Grandin
  • Population One: Autism, Adversity, and the Will to Succeed, by Tyler McNamer
  • Connecting With The Autism Spectrum: How To Talk, How To Listen, And Why You Shouldn’t Call It High-Functioning, by Casey “Remrov” Vormer
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder (revised): The Complete Guide to Understanding Autism, by Chantal Sicile-Kira
  • A Parent’s Guide to High-Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder, Second Edition: How to Meet the Challenges and Help Your Child Thrive Second Edition, by Sally Ozonoff, Geraldine Dawson, James C. McPartland
  • The Social Survival Guide for Teens on the Autism Spectrum: How to Make Friends and Navigate Your Emotions, by Lindsey Sterling