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Autism Spectrum Disorder

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability and "spectrum disorder" that affects communication and interaction skills. It typically appears during the first three years of life so it is recommended that children be screened for autism at 18 and 24 months of age. Science shows that there is a genetic component to ASD. Every case of ASD is different however here are some signs to watch for:

  • Children have a hard time learning social skills, such as making eye contact, having conversations, coordinating language with nonverbal communication, or learning through social imitation.
  • Children seem to inhabit their own world — a world that can sometimes be closed off to relatives and friends. Sometimes this includes repetitive behaviors and motor movements.

Autism spectrum disorders can be called many different things such as, autism, high functioning autism and Autistic Disorder.

What causes Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?

Although ASD research has advanced significantly in the past decade, it is still not known exactly what causes the disorder. It is likely that there are multiple causes. We do now know that there is no link between vaccines and autism. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) confirms this. Parents who have questions about vaccines are encouraged to talk with their child's pediatrician, who can provide you with more information about immunizations.

We also know that ASD is not caused by psychological factors and/or parenting behaviors or practices. Research has helped to identify and diagnose ASD at younger ages, resulting in earlier access to intervention services for children on the autism spectrum. Although ASD cannot be cured, some symptoms of ASD are treatable with interventions. The sooner autism is identified, the sooner an intervention program can start. If you are concerned about how your child plays, learns, speaks or acts, talk with your pediatrician.

How Does a Specialist Diagnose ASD?

Unfortunately, there is no biological test for ASD. The diagnosis is made when a physician or psychologist identifies ASD characteristics through directly observing the child along with gathering a developmental history. The key to helping children with autism spectrum disorder overcome some of the challenges they face is to get an early diagnosis.

Researchers are studying the very early signs of ASD, but it is currently very rare for a child to be diagnosed before 12 months of age.

How can I schedule an evaluation of my child at Covenant Children's Hospital?

  1. A referral needs to be placed by the child's primary care provider or pediatrician.
  2. The referral is then reviewed by the child neurologist.
  3. The family is then sent forms that will go over the child's history and development.
  4. Once the forms are received, the child is then scheduled for an evaluation that may take two hours.

Want to learn more? Contact Covenant Children's ASD expert today!

Yolanda Holler-Managan M.D.
Covenant Children's ASD Expert
4102 24th Street, Suite 401
Lubbock, Texas 79410
806.725.5425
Covenant Children's Hospital
806.725.KIDS
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