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  • Writer's pictureDan Wethington MS, LPC

Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder that seems to be rising in the amount of people who have this disorder in the United States. ASD is a disorder that utilizes a spectrum to understand the severity of the symptoms. What this means is that a person could have mild ADS which would mean that symptoms do have an impact upon their life, but they are still mostly able to function in most areas, or they might have a severe set of symptoms that make it so that the person cannot function without support from others. In this article, I intend to provide some information about ASD and some of the ways that I help people with autism spectrum disorder at Arise Counseling Services.

Autism Spectrum Disorder Treatment and symptoms at Arise Counseling Services

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?

ASD is a developmental disorder that causes a person to interact, think, and behave differently than others. There are often no obvious physical signs that a person has Autism Spectrum Disorder and it usually starts to become noticeable when a child is below the age of three. As stated above, symptoms can vary widely between individual cases and the symptoms can also change over time, but these symptoms often include challenges in communication and understanding the social cues that other people put off such as non verbal communication or differences in the context of the communication. People with ASD also may have interests in topics that are out of the norm or they may be extremely focused on their interests to the exclusion of other factors in the environment. The also might demonstrate repetitive behaviors and become distressed when things are changed in the environment such as a change to their routine or the introduction of something unexpected.

Symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • Deficits in social interactions that involve a lack of social reciprocity. This means that the individual might have trouble with back and forth communication or allowing others to participate in conversation.

  • Deficits in non-verbal components of communication. This means that they might not understand non-verbal cues, they may not utilize non-verbal communication, and they may not make eye contact with others.

  • Deficits in maintaining and understanding relationships. The person also may not be able to change how they communicate in different settings or contexts.

  • Restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and/or interests. A person may have repetitive motor movements such as arm flapping or clapping, they may insist upon having a routine and object or become distressed when the routine is disrupted. They also may have a strong attachment to objects or interests that are out of the norm.

  • Sensory sensitivity: The person may be very sensitive to stimuli that are intense from a sensory standpoint such as loud noises or textures with food.

  • Symptoms must be present during early childhood and they must cause a significant impairment to the individual's life.

Prevalence of ASD

It is estimated that about one in 44 8-year-old children (%2.3) in the US have ASD according to a study done in 2018. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, boys experience ASD about four times as often as girls. The prevalence of ASD has been steadily increasing over the past several decades and researchers are continuing to try to determine why this is occurring.

Causes of ASD

Researchers are not entirely sure of the causes of ASD but it does seem to have a genetic component. Individuals who have family members with ASD are more likely to be diagnosed with ASD. Also, children who were born with a low birth or those who have another genetic abnormality are more likely to also have ASD.

ASD Treatment

Early recognition and treatment are very important for people who have ASD because it is possible to help a person to learn skills that will increase their ability to function early on, and this can lead to them having better outcomes. Treatments can also vary a lot in accordance with the severity of ASD. Medication has been helpful in treating some of the symptoms related to irritability and impulsivity and behavioral treatments have been helpful in helping people to learn to cope with the disorder and to learn social skills that help them to function more effectively in relationships.

At Arise Counseling Services, I provide treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorder when it is in a more mild presentation. I can help children, adolescents, and adults to gain some of the social skills training and to cope with the experience of feeling excluded from a social standpoint. I also can help parents to recognize some of the early signs of Autism and guide them to doctors who are able to diagnose and treat this with medication and other treatments when needed. If you expect that your child may have autism spectrum disorder, there are many resources available in the community of York, PA and likely in other areas as well. I would be happy to help to link you up with those resources or answer any questions that you have as well.

For more information

If you would like to learn more about any of the treatments above, please contact me and I would be happy to help. If you would like some professional help dealing with your ASD or another mental health concern, feel free to schedule an appointment with me today or reach out to discuss your options. You should also subscribe to my blog and continue to follow because I intend to write more specific posts about the treatments that I use in the future.

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