Also known as: autism spectrum disorder or ASD, autistic disorder, pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), Asperger syndrome
What is autism?
Autism refers to a group of neurodevelopmental disorders that makes it difficult for a child to interact socially, communicate verbally and non-verbally and connect with people. This makes everyday functioning difficult with other children and at school problematic.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) refers to the wide range of symptoms with which children might be affected- some more severely, some less so.
Asberger Syndrome and pervasive developmental disorders belong to the same broad category of developmental disorders. This group of disorders affects all racial and ethnic people's as well as families at all socioeconomic levels.
What causes autism?
It appears that both genetics and environmental factors play a role in causing autism. Neither the way parents behave or vaccines in use today are a cause.
What are the symptoms of autism?
Infants and children behave differently to their siblings and friends of the same age. They may not make eye contact, not interact with parents or play with friends (in a crowded environment they may become very emotional) and may make repetitive movements. All forms of social communication between them and parents, siblings, family members and friends is awkward and sometimes inappropriate. They may speak in a flat tone and repeat themselves many times on topics of their interest. Many might develop epilepsy and have seizures. Some children and adults with autism may have great skills in a variety of different forms- mathematics, the arts etc.
What are autism care options?
There is no cure for autism; it is a permanent condition. However, therapy can help reduce disruptive behaviors and education can increase the individual’s ability to become more independent. The earlier in life that a person with autism is diagnosed and starts to receive treatment for his particular symptoms or difficulties, the more beneficial it will be. Each person’s autism is unique so required treatment options vary.
Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP
This page was last updated on: 6/15/2018 7:47:57 AM
Weekly Support Programs
Knowing how to swim saves lives. Swimming and water safety lessons are offered by a trained instructor for babies as young as 6 months to adolescents under 21 years old. Learn more.
Participants will learn to optimize neurological potential across the developing age and care continuum, to provide other treatment modalities to optimize results, to provide options for our patients and families, to provide options for our patients and families, and more! Learn more.
Yoga is a great way to get children active in a non- competitive environment. This one-day-a-week class is available for patients currently receiving therapy at one of our Nicklaus Children’s outpatient center locations, their siblings and children residing in our community. Learn more.
From the Newsdesk
Seeing a baby boy intubated, hooked up to a maze of machines, and with IV pumps snaking out of his tiny arms is an incredibly heartbreaking and terrifying experience. The Nicklaus Children’s staff was not only caring and friendly, but knowledgeable and explained everything to us in detail. Meeting the neurosurgery team brought us great comfort because they were confident and calm—they won our trust immediately.
Learn about Individual Education Plans with Dr. Reshma Naidoo, Neuropsychologist and Neurorehabilitation Specialist at Nicklaus Children's Hosptial.