What is Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), sometimes referred to simply as autism, is a complex developmental disorder that can cause significant social, communication, and behavioral challenges. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by deficits in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication, and repetitive behaviors observed in a particular child. Such behaviors include repetitive motor behaviors (hand flapping, body rocking), insistence on sameness, resistance to change, and, in some cases, aggression or self-injury.

Not everyone with Autism Spectrum Disorder experiences the same difficulties.

Many people with ASD also have unique ways of learning, communicating, paying attention, and reacting to different sensations. Many individuals with ASD have significant cognitive impairments, although some have typical or above average IQs. Not everyone with ASD experiences the same difficulties.

Signs and Symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder

Every child is different, and every child develops at his or her own pace. However, there are specific developmental milestones that all children should be reaching by specific ages. If your child is not meeting milestones, or you are concerned about your child’s development, don’t hesitate to talk to your child’s doctor. Some milestones include:

  • Not responding to their name by 12 months of age
  • Not pointing at objects to show interest (point at an airplane flying over) by 14 months
  • Lack of interest in playing “pretend” games (pretending to “feed” a doll) or imitating by 18 months
  • Avoiding eye contact and wanting to be alone
  • Trouble understanding other people’s feelings (empathy)
  • Delayed speech and language skills
  • Repeating words or phrases over and over (echolalia)
  • Providing unrelated answers to questions
  • Getting upset by minor changes
  • Obsessive interests
  • Flapping their hands, rocking their body, or spinning in circles
  • Unusual reactions to the way things sound, smell, taste, look, or feel

Are you concerned about a child who might have or has Autism Spectrum Disorder? Contact Canopy to discuss what solutions we may have for you.

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