Autism Spectrum Disorder
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a type of developmental disability which develops before the age of three. The exact causes of ASD are not yet fully known although it can coexist with other conditions.
As the name suggests, the features of ASD and the impact of these vary greatly between individuals. During the first year of life, children can develop on track and may then stop learning new skills or even lose some of the skills they have already developed. There is usually an associated Intellectual Disability, although one variant of ASD is Asperger Disorder where individuals have average or above-average intellectual functioning.
There are several indicators that can alert parents to the possibility that their child could have ASD including:
- Not seeking out cuddles from their parents
- Not waving “bye” at 12 months of age
- Limited eye contact with parents
- Not pointing at things to share their experience with their parents
- Not playing and sharing toys with other children
- Limited imaginative play
- Having a strong preference for individual play with one particular object or toy.
- Becoming highly distressed when routines are not followed
The features of ASD can be divided into the following main categories:
The diagnosis of ASD should be confirmed by a trained professional including a Psychologist, Psychiatrist or Paediatrician. Other health professionals can often be involved to assess the full impact of ASD on a person’s functioning. These can include Speech Pathologists, Audiologists and Occupational Therapists, to name a few.
For some individuals, the features of Autism Spectrum Disorder can improve through therapy and the support of caregivers and health professionals. Autism SA can also provide education, respite and support to families and individuals with ASD.
Our doctors at Adelaide Disability Medical Services will help to coordinate the health professionals involved in your care, using appropriate GP Mental Health Care Plans and Chronic Disease Management Plans where needed. We understand that good medical care for people with ASD requires time, patience and flexibility and we will support you on your healthcare journey.
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