Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a term used to describe individuals who display problems communicating and interacting with others. For example, they may experience difficulty having a normal back-and-forth conversation, making appropriate eye contact, and understanding social cues. They tend to show problems knowing how to respond appropriately in social situations and have a hard time building relationships with peers. From an early age, children with ASD display restricted behaviors and interests. They may be highly dependent on routines and become upset if things in their environment change. Children with ASD can easily become highly focused or stuck on an object.
If a parent suspects their child may have ASD, an in-depth evaluation is a critical first step in the treatment process. Early identification of ASD is particularly important because studies have shown that early intensive behavioral intervention can significantly improve communication, learning, and social skills in children with ASD. In addition to behavioral treatments, children with ASD may benefit from medication, speech or occupational therapy and social skills groups.
Your child might have an ASD if they exhibit some of the following difficulties:
- Problems sharing interests, emotions, or affect with others
- Fails to initiate or respond to social situations
- Shows poor regulation of eye contact and body language
- Decreased interest in developing friendships with others
- Does not understand nonverbal cues
- Uses toys in nonfunctional ways (e.g., focuses on the spin of the wheel instead of using it as a car imaginatively)
- May copy words or phrases repeatedly
- Highly restricted, fixed interests
- Low or high response to sensory experiences, such as sound, light, texture of food, feel of clothing
If you have concerns that your child might be on the Autism Spectrum, please call CNC at 847-272-2484 to schedule a consultation and/or assessment. A thorough evaluation is important in understanding each child’s individual needs to determine services that may be helpful in promoting school, social and learning success. Our psychologists are available to attend a school meeting and work with treatment providers to share the results and recommendations from the evaluation.