What is Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?
What Causes Autism?
However, scientific evidence has shown there are certain factors that have been linked with autism, including:
- Having a sibling with ASD.
- Advanced parental age at conception (both parents).
- Certain genetic conditions (ex: Down syndrome, Fragile X syndrome, and Rett syndrome).
- Premature birth, especially before 26 weeks gestation or low birth weight.
- Certain difficulties during birth, especially oxygen deprivation.
Can Autism be Cured?
Autism is a life-long condition that cannot be cured. However, autism symptoms can be addressed by teaching strategies to increase independence and improve the overall quality of life.
How is Autism Diagnosed?
Diagnosing autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can be difficult because there is no medical test, like a blood test, to diagnose the disorder.
Most children are screened for autism by their primary care physician. If the doctor suspects signs of ASD, they will likely make a referral to a specialist who can evaluate and deliver an official autism diagnosis.
The specialist’s diagnosis is based on an assessment that evaluates the child’s communication and language skills, social skills, daily living skills, behavioral issues, and sensory processing issues. The specialist will also observe the child completing directed activities and interview the parents.
How Early Can Autism be Diagnosed?
Diagnosing children with ASD as early as possible is critical to ensure children receive the services and support they need to reach their full potential.
What Are Some Early Signs of Autism?
- Avoiding eye contact
- No speech or delayed speech
- Loss of previously acquired speech
- Repeating words or phrases
- Repetitive motor behaviors (hand flapping, spinning in circles, rocking back and forth, etc.)
- Difficulty with transitions
- Not responding to name
- Limited use of gestures (ex. waving, pointing)
- Hypersensitivity to sounds, lights, and textures
- Obsessive interests or insisting on doing actions in the same way
- Lack of social skills or avoiding interaction with others
- Delayed or limited imaginary play (e.g., lining up toy cars instead of playing with them)
- Prefers playing alone
- Challenging or aggressive behaviors
- Extremely picky eating habits
- Unusual sleeping habits
- Cognitive impairments
- Delay in motor skills
What Are the Treatment Options for Autism?
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is one such behavior-based intervention and can help children with autism develop skills that improve their daily living skills, social and communication skills, and educational and occupational skills. ABA can also address challenging behaviors that interfere with their development, safety, and well-being.
ABA therapy should include parent training or parent coaching services to help parents learn strategies that support their child’s behaviors and development at home.
There are no known medications that treat Autism directly. However, your child’s doctor may recommend medication for other symptoms, including hyperactivity, irritability, or sleeping problems.
What is ABA Therapy?
ABA therapy is an evidence-based intervention that can be an effective treatment for other concerns, such as ADHD, learning difficulties, and other challenges.
ABA therapy is administered by Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA) and Registered Behavior Technicians (RBT) that help your child develop skills they can use in their everyday life to function more independently.
Data collection and progress monitoring activities are used to track your child’s progress to ensure they’re receiving effective services. Meaningful treatment goals for your child are created to improve skills at home, at school, and in the community.
Collaboration with parents is essential to the child’s success in ABA!
Is ABA Therapy Covered by Insurance?
Most major insurance plans as well as Medicaid cover ABA therapy. Constellation Kids accepts most major insurance providers and we have experienced insurance specialists on staff that can help you navigate the process of funding your ABA services with your insurance coverage.
In addition, our staff can help you determine the exact coverage eligibility and benefits that your insurance provider offers.
If your child has many of the potential signs of autism listed above but does not have a diagnosis, please contact your child’s primary physician for an evaluation.