Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects a child’s social skills, communication and behavior. More simply put, it means that a child’s brain develops and works a little differently and can affect how a kid understands and relates to others.
True to its name, autism is a spectrum. Kids with autism are all unique. Some kids may have severe challenges while others do not. By thinking of the condition as a spectrum, we can better understand the range of functioning people with autism have.
Doctors used to have separate terms for different kinds of autism presentations. For example, Asperger’s syndrome used to be a diagnosis for some kids with autism. However, in 2013 all subcategories of autism were combined into one umbrella diagnosis called autism spectrum disorder.
Every child with autism will develop a little differently. But most commonly caregivers notice a child’s disinterest socializing and an inability to communicate or interact with others.
Caregivers may notice signs of autism before a child is 2, but the most obvious signs and symptoms begin to appear between age 2 and 3.
You may feel that you’ve heard more about autism recently than in the past. And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has seen an increase in diagnosis of the disorder. Today, one in 59 kids will meet the diagnostic criteria for autism by age 8.
There’s good research to back the idea that more kids are getting diagnosed because of greater awareness and access to care. But autism as a disorder has been in medical literature for more than 70 years.
While we don’t think of autism as being something that needs curing, we do believe that all children with autism deserve the opportunity to reach their full potential. We do have substantial evidence that the earlier children are diagnosed and treated, the more success they have in overcoming some of the challenges and burdens of autism.
At Marcus Autism Center, we want to make autism an issue of diversity, and not disability. We’re committed to helping children work through the challenges of having autism, while also taking care to celebrate what makes each child unique.
There are several evidence-based treatments and interventions to help kids with autism. The earlier a child gets treatment, the better the long-term outcomes are.
You are not alone. We are here for your child and your family.
If you’re interested in having your child evaluated by our team, you’ll need a physician referral and to complete the steps to make a new patient appointment.
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