According to the most recent data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 2% of all children have an Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Chicago parents who believe their child may exhibit atypical developmental behavior may have to consider the possibility of ASD. Early identification and intervention is generally the ideal path to the best care for their son or daughter.
Seeing the signs
ASD affects children through a range of symptoms, which include language, play and social behavior, according to HelpGuide. Children with ASD routinely have difficulty starting or continuing conversations, articulating their needs and understanding jokes. When they play, parents often see signature behaviors such as obsessively arranging toys and hyper-focusing attention on particular interests like music or math. They also tend towards social detachment and disinterest and may have an aversion to physical contact.
A child may exhibit any of these behaviors and not be autistic. However, as a few or more begin to occur and persist, the likelihood of an ASD increases.
Making the diagnosis
The spectrum of mild to severe autism is expansive and the diagnosis requires an extended, complex evaluation. The primary concern is accuracy; symptoms of other issues like hearing problems, learning disabilities and lead poisoning could lead to a misdiagnosis of ASD. In addition to a comprehensive medical exam, a variety of healthcare specialists will assess a child’s cognitive, speech and adaptation skills. Developmental experts often prefer to view the child in everyday settings to evaluate his or her reactions and interactions. Medical professionals will make the final diagnosis of ASD based on the cumulative results of these tests.