Autism and Aspergers (www.helpguide.org)

The autism spectrum disorders belong to an “umbrella” category of five childhood-onset conditions known as pervasive developmental disorders (PDD). Some autism specialists use the terms pervasive developmental disorder and autism spectrum disorder interchangeably. However, when most people talk about the autism spectrum disorders, they are referring to the three most common PDDs:

 

  • Autism

 

  • Asperger's Syndrome

 

  • Pervasive Developmental Disorder - Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS)

Key Symptoms of Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome in Children:

 

  • Communicating verbally and non-verbally

  • Relating to others and the world around them

  • Thinking and behaving flexibly

  • Social Skills Issues

  • Speech and Language Issues

  • Restricted Behavior and Play Issues

  • Sensory Problems

  • Emotional Difficulties

  • Uneven Cognitive Abilities

Diagnosing an autism spectrum disorder is not a brief process. There is no single medical test that can diagnose it definitively; instead, in order to accurately pinpoint your child's problem, multiple evaluations and tests are necessary.

 

Common Steps Taken to Evaluate for an Autism Spectrum Disorder:

  • Parent Interview

  • Medical Exam

  • Hearing Test

  • Observation/Assessment

  • Lead Posioning Screening

  • Speech and language evaluation

  • Cognitive testing

  • Adaptive functioning assessment

  • Sensory-motor evaluation

The team of specialists involved in diagnosing your child may include:

 

  • Child psychologists

  • Child psychiatrists

  • Speech pathologists

  • Developmental pediatricians

  • Pediatric neurologists

  • Audiologists

  • Physical therapists

  • Special education teachers

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