Autism / Asperger's

Read below to learn more about autism / asperger's below.

Could your child have autism?

Our speech language pathologists provide services (e.g. evaluations, therapy, and consultations) for a wide variety of children on the autism spectrum and with extensive developmental delays integrating techniques based on the Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and the use of Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS), a picture based communication system, which frequently augments non-verbal or limited verbal children which can lead to increased verbal functional speech.

Red Flags include:

  • Does not babble or coo by 12 months of age
  • Does not gesture (point, wave, grasp, etc.) by 12 months of age
  • Does not say single words by 16 months of age
  • Does not say two-word phrases on his or her own (rather than just repeating what someone says to him or her) by 24 months of age
  • Has any loss of any language or social skill at any age.

Are there other possible symptoms of autism and PDD?

There are a number of things that parents, teachers, and others who care for children can look for to determine if a child needs to be evaluated for autism.

The following "red flags"could be signs that your child should be evaluated for autism or a related communication disorder.

  • does not respond to his/her name. cannot explain what he/she wants.
  • Language skills or speech are delayed.
  • doesn't follow directions
  • seems to be deaf.
  • The child seems to hear sometimes, but not others.
  • The child doesn't point or wave bye-bye.
  • The child used to say a few words or babble, but now he/she doesn't.
  • The child throws intense or violent tantrums.
  • The child has odd movement patterns.
  • The child is hyperactive, uncooperative, or oppositional.
  • The child doesn't know how to play with toys.
  • The child doesn't smile when smiled at.
  • The child has poor eye contact.
  • The child gets "stuck" on things over and over and can't move on to other things.
  • The child seems to prefer to play alone.
  • The child gets things for him/herself only.
  • The child is very independent for his/her age.
  • The child does things "early" compared to other children.
  • The child seems to be in his/her "own world."
  • The child seems to tune people out.
  • The child is not interested in other children.
  • The child walks on his/her toes.
  • The child shows unusual attachments to toys, objects, or schedules (i.e., always holding a string or having to put socks on before pants.)
  • Child spends a lot of time lining things up or putting things in a certain order.

When do children usually show signs of autism?

Several symptoms can be seen by 18 months of age, such as poor eye contact, trouble with pretend play and imitation, delayed communication skills and problems with "joint attention." Joint attention occurs when a child points or otherwise tries to get someone to look at the same thing he is observing. Children with autism often don't point or show joint attention. Nonetheless, the average age of diagnosis is about three years old. Parents and doctors often are alerted to a problem when the child doesn't develop speech around age 2

Autism Spectrum

Our speech language pathologists provide services (e.g. evaluations, therapy, and consultations) for a wide variety of children on the autism spectrum and with extensive developmental delays integrating techniques based on the Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and the use of Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS), a picture based communication system, which frequently augments non-verbal or limited verbal children which can lead to increased verbal functional speech.

For more information on Autism, go to autism-society.org or read the two documents below from the American Academy of Pediatrics that will have a significant impact on the lives of individuals with ASD, their families, and those who serve them. Thanks to the Autism Society of America who has worked diligently on this effort.

Related articles: Benefits of Speech Therapy for Children with Autism

About Asperger Syndrome

Asperger Syndrome or (Asperger's Disorder) is a neurobiological disorder named for the Viennese physician, Hans Asperger, who published a paper in the 1940's which described a pattern of behaviors in several young boys who had normal intelligence and language development that exhibited autistic-like behaviors and marked deficiencies in social and communication skills. Asperger Syndrome was added to the DSM IV in 1944 despite only being recognized in the past few years by professionals and parents.

Individuals with Asperger Syndrome:

  • exhibit a variety of characteristics and the disorder can range from mild to severe
  • show marked deficiencies in social skills
  • has difficulties with transitions or changes and prefer sameness
  • often have obsessive routines and may be preoccupied with a particular subject of interest
  • has a great deal of difficulty reading nonverbal cues (body language)
  • has difficulty determining proper body space
  • sensitive to sounds, tastes, smells, and sights
  • may prefer soft clothing, certain foods, and be bothered by sounds or lights no one else seems to hear or see.

The person with AS perceives the world very differently due to neurological differences and may be perceived as rude or poorly behaved which is definitely not the case.

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