Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complex neurological disorder that affects an individual’s ability to communicate. ASD individuals have trouble communicating with others and understanding the world around them. Speech therapists can help individuals with ASD develop the social and language skills necessary for day-to-day life.
ASD is the fastest growing developmental disorder in the United States, affecting 1 in 68 children in the U.S. according to a study by Autism Speaks (autismspeaks.org). Autism Spectrum Disorder is characterized by deficits in social interaction and communication, as well as restrictive, repetitive patterns of behavior and interests.
ASD has varying degrees of severity, which is why it’s called a “spectrum” disorder: individuals with ASD can be very high functioning and independent or they can be nonverbal and dependent on another person for all of their daily needs. Many individuals with ASD have difficulty with social interactions, understanding facial expressions, and communicating verbally or nonverbally.
Individuals with ASD often have trouble making eye contact or using gestures to indicate that they would like something. Some people with ASD may also engage in repetitive behaviors such as hand flapping, spinning in circles, toe walking, and obsessing over objects or subject matter (such as trains).
Some symptoms of ASD include difficulty communicating verbally or nonverbally, difficulty with social interactions, and inability to make eye contact. Individuals may also have repetitive behaviors such as hand flapping, spinning in circles, toe walking, or obsessing over objects or subject matter (such as trains). ASD can range from mild to severe.
Due to the multi-faceted nature of ASD, it is often referred to as a “spectrum” disorder. ASD symptoms vary from person to person and can range from mild to severe. Some individuals may be nonverbal and dependent on others for their daily needs; other individuals may be high functioning and independent.
Autism Spectrum Disorder has varying degrees of severity. On one end of the spectrum, an individual with ASD may be very high functioning and highly verbal. On the other end of the spectrum, an individual with ASD may not be speaking at all and needs assistance with daily living skills.
ASD covers a wide range of developmental issues as well as a broad spectrum of symptoms. Individualized care and treatment is necessary for each child because of how diverse the symptoms and level of severity can be. Because of this, it’s important to work with a doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of ASD.
People with ASD rate the social aspects of life as much more difficult than other people. About 40 percent report significant loneliness and more than one third have no close friends. Many have trouble making and keeping friends, and others are socially withdrawn or uncomfortable in social situations. On the other hand, some people with ASD enjoy social activities and are capable of forming friendships with unaffected peers.
Asperger syndrome is a form of autism that typically begins in childhood and continues throughout adulthood. Unlike some forms of autism, people with Asperger syndrome don’t have delays in language or intellectual development.