What Is Autism?
What Is Autism?
Difficulties in social skills, repetitive activities, speech, and nonverbal communication are hallmarks of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), a group of conditions that includes but is not limited to autism.
Early diagnosis is crucial for children and families dealing with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
However, it is not always easy to make an ASD diagnosis. Since there is no reliable scientific test for it, doctors must instead rely on observing the behavior of infants and toddlers and considering the concerns of their parents.
In people with ASD, symptoms can range widely. Not everyone who is “on the spectrum” is mentally healthy. It’s true that there are certain people who are both intelligent and self-sufficient.
Taking your child to a pediatrician is the first of two steps in making a diagnosis of autism for any child, regardless of where they fall on the spectrum.
In Which Groups Is A Diagnosis Of Autism Most Likely To Be Made?
The CDC reports that in 2016, there were around 1 in 54 children in the United States who were diagnosed with ASD. Autism spectrum condition strikes people of every race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic background equally.
It was thought that men had a fourfold higher risk of experiencing it compared to women. However, recent research suggests that girls with ASD may go undetected since their symptoms often differ from boys’.
Girls tend to hide their symptoms due to something called the “camouflage effect” (Reliable Source). This suggests that there may be a higher incidence of ASD in females than was previously thought.
Researchers are still trying to pin down the precise cause of ASD, but there is presently no accepted cure. There are many people in the autistic community who disagree that a cure is necessary.
A child’s susceptibility to ASD may depend on factors such as their environment, biochemistry, and genetics.
What Methods Are Used to Identify Autism?
Children are typically diagnosed with ASD while they are very young. However, because to the broad diversity in symptoms and severity, autism spectrum disorder can be difficult to identify in some cases.
Sometimes a diagnosis isn’t made until a person is an adult.
At the present time, there is no accepted diagnostic test for autism. A parent or doctor might notice ASD symptoms in a young child, but a diagnosis would still need to be confirmed.
If the signs point to autism spectrum disorder, a medical team will likely diagnose it. A psychiatrist, neuropsychologist, psychologist, or developmental pediatrician may play a role here.
Analyzing Genes (Diagnosing Autism):
Despite autism’s status as a hereditary disorder, genetic tests cannot be used to detect or diagnose the condition. Several different factors, both genetic and environmental, have been linked to ASD.
It is possible to check for ASD biomarkers in some laboratories. They look for the most common genetic components that are now known, even if only a small fraction of people will find treatments that work for them.
ASD is more likely to have a genetic component if one of these tests turns up an abnormal result.
Normal results simply mean that a specific genetic contribution has been ruled out, but the underlying cause is still unknown.
The Autism Diagnostic Checklist:
Beginning at birth, your child’s development will be monitored by your doctor during regular and frequent visits.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends conducting standardized autism-specific screening assessments at 18 and 24 months of age, in addition to regular developmental monitoring.
If you are worried about your child’s development and there is a history of autism spectrum disorder in your family, your doctor may suggest seeing a specialist.
The specialist may administer tests like hearing tests to rule out deafness or difficulties hearing in order to find a physical cause for the behaviors.
They will use the M-CHAT (Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers) in addition to other methods of detecting autism.
The new screening tool is a checklist that parents complete. It helps establish whether a child has a low, moderate, or high probability of being autistic. The cost-zero evaluation consists of 20 multiple-choice questions.
If further testing reveals that your kid has a high likelihood of having ASD, he or she will undergo a more extensive diagnostic evaluation.
If your child has a moderate likelihood, more questions may be needed to confidently classify the data.
Behavior Evaluation (Autism Evaluation):
Step two in diagnosing autism is to conduct a complete neurologic and physical evaluation. This might require the help of a panel of authorities. Experts may include:
Experts in child growth and development
Occupational therapists and specialists in pediatric neurology
Audiologists and Speech Therapists
The assessment may also make use of screening instruments. Developmental screening can be done in a variety of ways. There is no magic bullet for diagnosing autism. Instead, a mix of diagnostic methods is required for autism.
Here are some common types of screening tools:
- Ages and Stages Questionnaires for the Social Communication Questionnaire (SCQ)
- Autism Rating Scale for Children (CARS)
- Autism The Diagnostic Interview, Second Edition
- Autism ADOS stands for Diagnostic Observation Schedule.
- Assessment Tools for the Autism Spectrum (ASRS)
The current edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) includes standardized criteria to help in the diagnosis of ASD, as reported by the CDC Reliable Information Source.