Real Facts About Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs): Complete Medical Guide for Parents

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It is also associated with rigid routines and repetitive behaviours. Autism is a spectrum disorder, which means that symptoms can range from very mild to quite severe. Every individual with autism is one of a kind, so while they will have commonalities with others with autism, the way they are impacted will be unique to each individual. Presently, there is no medical test for autism spectrum disorders. The diagnosis is based on observed behaviour, and educational and psychological testing. Therefore, there is no blood test, brain scan, or other high-tech test that can be used to diagnose it.

Usually the team members evaluate the child, assessing his or her strengths and weaknesses, and then explain the test results to parents. Each of these disorders had specific diagnostic criteria but shared the primary symptoms of deficits in social communication, social interaction and rigid, stereotypical behaviors.

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Autism can be diagnosed at any age. If children are showing signs of autism, it usually becomes evident before age three. Some parents report that they noticed differences in their children from birth; others became concerned when their young child was not hitting their developmental milestones or walking and talking.

In some other cases parents report that their child was developing normally and then began to lose skills they already had. Sometimes children may be identified as having a developmental delay, such as a speech delay, before obtaining a diagnosis of autism or may have received a diagnosis of something else such as attention deficit disorder or non-verbal learning disability.

Autism Spectrum Disorder: MedlinePlus

Autism Speaks www. Make sure your child always wears or carries this identification, especially because wandering could be a concern. The home can be a very dangerous place for any young child, but it can be even more dangerous for your child with autism. The difference is that the safety measures and precautions most parents implement for very young children may need to be in place for a much longer period of time for children with autism.

Consider this checklist to keep your child with autism safe at home.

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A recent study funded by Autism Speaks, through its support of the Interactive Autism Network IAN , an online project bringing together families affected by autism, and published in the journal Pediatrics shows that children with ASDs wander away from home, stores, and school more often than unaffected children. Through the use of parent surveys, researchers found that nearly half of children with autism attempt to wander or run from a safe, supervised place, and more than half of these wandering children go missing long enough to cause worry.

Overall, the occurrences of wandering increased with the severity of the ASD, and the children who wandered most commonly left their own homes or ones they were visiting. The study highlighted the need for parents to develop safety plans with their families, teachers, police, and other community members to protect children with autism who wander and to be able to locate them. The National Autism Association recommends that parents and caregivers use the following tips to help prevent wandering by understanding wandering patterns and eliminating triggers in children with an ASD:.

Determine which type of wandering best describes your child is he directed by goals, is he a sudden runner, etc. Develop and implement strategies to help your child deal with his triggers in a way that helps him to cope with the trigger rather than running away.

Some of the tips they specifically recommend for parents of wandering children with autism include the following:. Because children spend such a large amount of time in school, it is just as important to know how to keep them safe in the classroom as it is at home.

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The following six tips should help to keep your child with autism safe in their home-away-from-home. Evaluate the building in the same way that you evaluated your home. Are there doors and windows that lock? Can your child reach the locks?

Autism Spectrum Disorder

Is there any water nearby? Are there any sensory triggers that could result in your child running away? Are there times when your child will be transitioning from one place to another without supervision? Take your child to school prior to the start of the school year. Show him his classroom and the restroom facilities and introduce him to faculty and staff.

Schedule a meeting with all of the faculty and staff who will be in contact with your child. Give them copies of the key information handouts and share your concerns with them.

Costs of Autism Spectrum Disorders in the United Kingdom and the United States

Schedule an IEP meeting before school begins and a follow-up meeting once the school year is underway. Be an active participant and advocate for social skills, safety training, and learning goals to be included and evaluated as part of the IEP process. An ABC News investigation found that in recent years, thousands of children have been injured and dozens killed after being restrained at school.

Because of the unpredictable nature of going on an outing, one of the most important things you can do is prepare your child with autism before going to a public place.