About Autism

About AutismWhat is Autism?

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is s a complex developmental disability characterized by impaired social interactions, problems with verbal and nonverbal communication‌, and repetitive or restricted activities and interests. ASD is described as a "spectrum" because individuals with ASD vary widely in their symptom presentation and severity. Some individuals present with very mild symptoms, such that the disorder may go largely unnoticed by others. In other individuals, symptoms are can be more significantly impairing. Some severely affected individuals may never develop the ability to speak or may exhibit self-injurious behaviors. In all cases, individuals with ASD can benefit from the appropriate treatment.

Common Early Signs of an ASD

  • Difficulties responding to his/her name
  • Limited interest in reciprocal social activities (peek-a-boo)
  • Limited pointing at objects to show interest (point at an airplane flying over)
  • Limited pretending during play (pretend to "feed" a doll)
  • Difficulties making appropriate eye-contact
  • Delayed language
  • Obsessive or unusual interests
  • Unusual and repetitive motor mannerisms (e.g., flapping/waving hands or walking on tip toes)
  • Unusual reactions to the way things sound, smell, taste, look, or feel

How is ASD Diagnosed?

The recognized “Gold-Standard” in diagnosing ASD involves a comprehensive evaluation by a professional with specialized knowledge and training in the area of ASD. Currently, there are no reliable blood tests, brain scans, or physical examinations that detect ASD. Rather, a diagnosis is made when an individual presents with behavioral deficits and atypicalities in Social-Communication and also displays Restricted/Repetitive behavior. The criteria for autism are described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). 

As ASAC, we know that every person is unique and we tailor each evaluation to a client's specific needs. Evaluations typically occur over the course of several visits, during which the clinician conducts clinical interviews and administers direcr assessment measures. Our clinicians utilize  and integrate various sources of information in order to comprehensively understand a client's current skills and weaknesses and to determine if the client meets the criteria for a clinical diagnosis. At the end of the evaluation process, clients are provided an in-depth in-person feedback session with their clinician and are also provided with a professional report detailing the evaluation results. 

Is ASD Treatable?

There is substantial evidence that individuals can make remarkable improvements in autism symptoms with appropriate therapies and interventions.  Most experts in the field agree that the earlier the intervention, the better the outcome.  ASAC works to ensure clients are provided with access to the most well-researched, effective treatments available.