Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complex neurodevelopmental disease which affects behavior, communication, and social role. According to the latest statistics in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 1 in 68 children in the U.S. has ASD.

Psychologists can play a major role diagnosing ASD and assisting individuals to cope with and handle the challenges of the disorder.

Understanding Autism

Since the term “spectrum” indicates, ASD symptoms exist along a continuum. Some individuals with the illness are able to do functions of living, maintain jobs and also to succeed in schools. Others also have intellectual impairments and are going to need help and extensive support.

Whilst ASD is a varied disorder, the condition can be characterized by certain repetitive behaviors and difficulties with social communication and interaction.

Some frequent symptoms and signs include:

  • Failure to engage in typical babbling or pointing in infancy.
  • Struggling to generate eye contact start in infancy.
  • Struggling to react to one’s name.
  • Loss of previously acquired language or social skills, usually during the next phase of life.
  • Unusual responses to sensory input.
  • Unusual movements such as rocking, rocking or flapping arms.
  • Difficulty playing or interacting with peers.
  • Difficulty talking about feelings.
  • Difficulty understanding tone of voice, body language, and gestures.
  • Obsessive interest in a particular topic.
  • Difficulty breaking from routine.

Diagnosing ASD

Although ASD can be identified as early as 15 to 18 weeks old, the typical age of diagnosis is approximately 4.5 years, and a few folks aren’t diagnosed until adulthood. That’s unfortunate since the identification is essential for early intervention. Studies have shown that early intervention can make a difference. Do not put off testing if you suspect your child shows signs of this disease. 

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ASD is a neurodevelopmental disease, and it’s supposed to have a strong genetic component. But tests such as brain scans or blood tests can be used to diagnose ASD. Rather, the disease is diagnosed by healthcare providers based on behaviors and the individual’s history.

Different specialists can create this identification, including a couple of psychologists, pediatricians, and neurologists. Psychologists (including neuropsychologists, who focus on the association between the mind and human cognitive, behavioral and psychological functioning) tend to be involved in the diagnostic process. It is essential that the specialist consists of expertise working with the broad range of symptoms.

To make a diagnosis of ASD, psychologists draw on a number of sources of information:

Patient interviews.

Observations of the individual’s behavior.

Tests of cognitive and language skills.

Medical tests to rule out other issues.

Interviews with parents, teachers or other adults who can answer questions concerning the person’s social, psychological and behavioral growth.

Treatment and Encourage

Given the complicated nature of the illness, children with ASD benefit from interdisciplinary treatment teams composed of specialists from various fields. Those groups typically include doctors, educators, speech therapists and occupational therapists, along with psychologists.

Many interventions are designed to take care of children with ASD. A Few of the methods include:

Applied behavior analysis (ABA). ABA is a technique which uses helpful behaviors to increase and reduce or interfere with learning. ABA treatment was demonstrated to improve social communication and vocational skills. Developmental individual-difference relationship-based version (DIR). From the DIR model, also known as therapists, parents and floor time therapy follow the child’s lead in playing while also directing the child to participate in complicated interactions. TEACCH Autism Program. The TEACCH framework promotes involvement in actions.

It’s important to get your child evaluated by a provider trained in diagnosing and treating autism so that he or she can suggest the most suitable interventions. Interventions can be handled by educators, in addition to by psychologists and behavior analysts.

Psychologists also play a significant role in helping children of all ages in addition to adults with ASD handle specific challenges associated with the disorder.

Parents are encouraged to trust their instincts and find a doctor who will listen and consult with their kid appropriate specialists for identification. Doctors unfamiliar with diagnosing schizophrenia occasionally dismiss parent issues, delaying also the opportunity for early intervention treatments and the diagnosis. Autism Speaks and psychiatric institutions are working to raise awareness of signs among doctors as well as parents.

From arrival to 36 weeks of age, every child ought to be screened for developmental landmarks during regular very good visits. When this type of screening — or a parent increases concerns about a child’s growth, the doctor must consult with the kid. These evaluations should consist of a screening instrument like the M-CHAT and direct exposure tests in addition to hearing. Among these screening tools are geared.