Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) are the result of neurological differences that create difficulties with social reasoning, communication, and processing sensory information. ASDs can vary greatly from person to person, both in terms of that person’s strengths and weaknesses and the severity of symptoms. The wide variation in ASDs has lead to it being called a ‘spectrum’ disorder. One person with ASDs may be severely impaired, while another may need only periodic support. Research has shown that children benefit from early interventions, and that waiting until a child is older may make it harder to help him ‘catch up’.
Recognizing the Symptoms and ‘Red Flags’
Symptoms of ASDs are often first recognized when a child begins daycare or preschool.
- The child is withdrawn from others, and makes limited eye contact
- The child may have trouble figuring out what to say, his speech may be repetitive or he may say unexpected things and repeat what he hears
- The child is having trouble transitioning from one activity to the next.
- Children with ASDs may have ‘meltdowns’ when things surprise them or if they feel over-stimulated (sometimes by touch, loud noises, or people around them).
- Children with ASDs may play repetitively, with little imagination or creativity
- The child’s attempts to make friends are awkward or unsuccessful
- The child may have unusual or intense interests, and may be more engaged with objects than other people
- Unexpected motor behaviors: flapping, pacing, shaking, or delayed fine and gross motor skills
Support Services: What do I do?
If you suspect your child has an ASD, early intervention is essential. Diagnosis through assessment by a licensed psychologist provides the foundation for your intervention plan.
MindWell is proud to offer the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS-2). The ADOS-2 is considered the “Gold Standard” in assessing for spectrum disorder. The ADOS-2 is a semi-structured, standardized assessment of communication, social interaction, play, and restricted and repetitive behaviors. It presents various activities that elicit behaviors directly related to a diagnosis of ASD. By observing and coding these behaviors, our clinicians can obtain information that informs diagnosis, treatment planning, and educational placement.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation to learn more about our assessments.