Childhood development is a complicated and developing field, and finding bumps in the road can be emotional and difficult.
The possibility that your child has autism spectrum disorder may be worrying, but it doesn’t have to be.
If you have concerns that your child may have autism spectrum disorder it’s important to learn about the condition so that you can better support your child.
There are many options for assessment and assistance for your child, including the speech therapy treatments for autism spectrum disorder offered by District Speech in downtown Washington DC.
Autism spectrum disorder tends to begin showing symptoms around age two to four and can manifest as loss of developed skills or difficulty gaining new ones.
An autism diagnosis is not a bad thing; it gives you a tool to better understand and support your child.
Let’s dig a little deeper.
What Is Autism Spectrum Disorder?
Autism spectrum disorder is a developmental disorder that is generally characterized by trouble communicating, repetitive behaviors, and difficulty interpreting social cues, especially nonverbally.
Symptoms tend to begin presenting in children when they reach toddlerhood, and while it is generally diagnosed in childhood, autism is a lifelong condition.
Autism is a neurological condition, not a disease.
This means that people who have it have had it since birth, regardless of when they get a diagnosis.
Many autistic people lead happy and successful lives and need very little support as adults.
What Are The Signs Of Autism Spectrum Disorder?
Autism spectrum disorder is characterized by a wide range of symptoms, but different people will experience them to different degrees.
It’s called a spectrum for a reason.
People with autism have widely varying experiences, but a diagnosis can be a helpful tool for finding the help and support that they need.
Below, you’ll find some of the most common signs of autism spectrum disorder.
Repetitive Behavioral Patterns
People with autism tend to rely on routines and repetitive actions for structure and self soothing.
This can present as resistance to any kind of change in daily routine, or a desire to eat the same foods or do the same activities over and over.
This can also present as hand flapping, rocking back and forth, spinning in circles, or other repetitive physical behaviors, like playing with toys in unusual ways, or lining up cars or sorting blocks by color or shape.
It can also manifest as a reluctance to go to places they’ve never been before, which is why teletherapy sessions for speech therapy can especially benefit autistic folks.
Social & Communications Issues
People on the autism spectrum can have several different types of issues communicating with other people.
In some individuals this presents as a partial or complete lack of speech, or speaking in a repetitive, monotone, or babbling way.
In some cases, especially in children, speech may come mainly in the form of repeated fragments of speech from other people or from television or movies, which is called echolalia.
Autism spectrum disorder can also cause issues with communication in the form of nonverbal social cues.
This can present as difficulty making eye contact or interpreting body language or other nonverbal conversational tools.
What Causes Autism Spectrum Disorder?
The causes of autism are not entirely known, but it is thought to be a combination of environmental factors and genetics.
Autism is not a disease and cannot be caught from someone who has it.
It is not caused by vaccines, and it is not caused by actions that parents take while raising their child.
How Can You Tell If Your Child Has Autism Spectrum Disorder?
Some early signs of autism in children include:
- Not responding to their own name by a year old
- Avoiding eye contact
- Repetitive physical behaviors
- Unusual response to sensory stimuli
If you’re concerned that your child may have autism spectrum disorder, it can be diagnosed by an assessment with a child psychiatrist, psychologist, or developmental-behavioral pediatrician.
That is by no means a complete list of symptoms, and if you have concerns about your child’s developmental health talking to your child’s primary care provider is a good first step.
How Can A Speech Therapist Help With Autism Spectrum Disorder?
When it comes to speech therapy treatments for children with autism, a primary focus is learning to communicate using language in addition to learning to speak.
This can present a unique challenge that can benefit from the help of a speech therapist.
Early intervention and help from a speech therapist can help children with autism learn to communicate and improve quality of life long term.
For children who are partially or entirely nonverbal, a speech therapist in Washington DC can work with their strengths and weaknesses to introduce alternative methods of communication.
Speech therapy can help children with their ability to understand both verbal and nonverbal conversation cues, as well as interacting in social situations and communicating their needs.
However, early intervention is critical, as it has the most impact while your child is still learning language skills
Book An Appointment With District Speech
If you think your child may have autism spectrum disorder, it’s important to remember that there is help available.
Your child is not alone on this journey, and neither are you.
District Speech can help assess whether your child’s developmental patterns fall within the autism spectrum, and work with you and your child to find treatments for their symptoms if they do.
Book an appointment with District Speech to start your child’s journey to better communication.
1300 I St NW, #400E,
Washington, DC 20005
District Speech and Language Therapy specializes in speech therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy solutions, for both children and adults, in the Washington D.C and the Arlington Virginia areas.