Autism Spectrum Disorder Is one of the Fastest Disorders in the United States
BY Mary A. Schuttta
Autism Spectrum Disorder is a complex developmental disorder. One percent of the United States??™ population aged 3 ??“ 17 has this disorder. Autism is one of the fastest growing disorders with a 10% ??“ 17% Annual growth rate.1-1.5 million Americans live with Autism today. The cost for taken care of individuals??™ with Autism for a lifespan cost 3.2 million dollars per person. This disorder causes problems with social interaction and communication. Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder can have very different symptoms. Autism Spectrum Disorder also includes Autism disorder, Asperger Syndrome, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder Otherwise Specified. The symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder are does not babble or coo by the age of one. Does not point, wave, or grasp by the age of one. The child does not say single words by the age of one year and four months of age. Does not say two-word phrases by the age of two. The child has any loss of language or skill at any age. The symptoms of Autism are usually seen by the age of 24 months. Autism has no one single causes though there are many theories. One theory is that it is caused by abnormalities in the brain structure or function. The abnormalities of the brain can be proven by a brain scan. There is also a link in many families with Autism related disabilities. Another theory is problems during pregnancy or during delivery that could cause Autism. Autism also seems to occur frequently among individuals who have certain medical conditions including Fragile X Syndrome, Tuberous Sclerosis, Congenital Rubella, and Phenylketonuria (PKU). Environmental Factors such as heavy metals like mercury also may cause Autism. The current trend in a medical diagnosis typically includes a school evaluation. A parent may request verbally and also a written request for a test to be done on their child. The school system may also choose to conduct an evaluation if it deems necessary. The medical assessment typically includes a history of the mother??™s pregnancy. There is also a review of the child??™s developmental milestone and the parent??™s and child??™s exposure to environmental toxins. The doctor will also ask about the child??™s eating and sleeping patterns, coordination, stomach and bowel functions, sensory issues, allergies, medical illnesses and seizures. The doctor will also ask for a complete family history of developmental disorders and genetic and metabolic disorders. The doctor will also perform a thorough physical exam and routine lab tests. As of today there is no single behavioral or communication test, but there is several screening test that have been developed to help diagnose Autism. The current diagnostic methods of Autism are different for each individual unfortunately there is no cure for Autism or one single treatment. There is on the other hand ways to minimize the symptoms. There is Behavioral therapy and other therapeutic options. Some of these options are Behavior management therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy. There is also education and school-based options. This includes public education from age 3 through high school or till the age of 21. There is also the Individual Education Plan also known as an IEP plan. The IEP plan includes the parents/caregivers, teachers, school psychologist, and any other developmental specialist that are in contact with the child. There is also medical options that can help with some of the symptoms of Autism. Some of these medications are Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI??™S), Tricyclic??™s, Psychoactive and anti-psychotics. There is also stimulants and anti-anxiety medications that an individual with Autism can take to treat symptoms. There are three groups that are at higher risk for having Autism these groups are boys, other siblings of those who have Autism, and individuals that have other developmental disorders.


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