Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex developmental condition that involves persistent challenges in social interaction, speech and nonverbal communication, and restricted/repetitive behaviors. The effects of ASD and the severity of symptoms are different in each person.
ASD is usually first diagnosed in childhood with many of the most-obvious signs presenting around 2-3 years old, but some children with autism develop normally until toddlerhood when they stop acquiring or lose previously gained skills. According to the CDC, one in 59 children is estimated to have autism. Autism spectrum disorder is also three to four times more common in boys than in girls, and many girls with ASD exhibit less obvious signs compared to boys. Autism is a lifelong condition. However, many children diagnosed with ASD go on to live independent, productive, and fulfilling lives.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
People with ASD often have problems with social, emotional, and communication skills. They might repeat certain behaviors and might not want change in their daily activities. Many people with ASD also have different ways of learning, paying attention, or reacting to things. Signs of ASD begin during early childhood and typically last throughout a person’s life.
Children or adults with ASD might:
not point at objects to show interest (for example, not point at an airplane flying over)
not look at objects when another person points at them
have trouble relating to others or not have an interest in other people at all
avoid eye contact and want to be alone
have trouble understanding other people’s feelings or talking about their own feelings
prefer not to be held or cuddled, or might cuddle only when they want to
appear to be unaware when people talk to them, but respond to other sounds
be very interested in people, but not know how to talk, play, or relate to them
repeat or echo words or phrases said to them, or repeat words or phrases in place of normal language
have trouble expressing their needs using typical words or motions
not play “pretend” games (for example, not pretend to “feed” a doll)
repeat actions over and over again
have trouble adapting when a routine changes
have unusual reactions to the way things smell, taste, look, feel, or sound
lose skills they once had (for example, stop saying words they were using) (source)
WHAT CONDITIONS ARE CONSIDERED SPECTRUM DISORDERS?
Until recently, experts talked about different types of autism, such as autistic disorder, Asperger’s syndrome, pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS). But now they are all called “autism spectrum disorders.”
If you still hear people use some of the older terms, you’ll want to know what they mean:
Asperger’s syndrome. This is on the milder end of the autism A person with Asperger’s may be very intelligent and able to handle their daily life. They may be really focused on topics that interest them and discuss them nonstop. But they have a much harder time socially.
Pervasive developmental disorder, not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS). This mouthful of a diagnosis included most children whose autism was more severe than Asperger’s syndrome, but not as severe as autistic disorder.
Autistic disorder. This older term is further along the autism spectrum than Asperger’s and PDD-NOS. It includes the same types of symptoms, but at a more intense level.
Childhood disintegrative disorder. This was the rarest and most severe part of the spectrum. It described children who develop normally and then quickly lose many social, language, and mental skills, usually between ages 2 and 4. Often, these children also developed a seizure
Is Rett Syndrome an ASD?
Children with Rett syndrome often have behaviors similar to autism, and experts used to group it among spectrum disorders. But now that it’s known to be caused by a genetic mutation, it’s no longer considered an ASD. (Source)
A person’s treatment plan can include behavioral interventions, other therapies, medicines or a combination of these.
USE OF MEDICATION
Many families of children and adults with autism are faced with the option of using medicines. This is a medical decision and there is no one right answer. (source) Unfortunately there are a number of possible side effects of take medications that are commonly prescribed.
HOW CAN CHIROPRACTIC CARE HELP INDIVIDUALS ON THE AUTISM SPECTRUM?
While there isn’t a known cure for Autism, there is a multitude of therapies that can help patients live happier, fuller lives. Many forms of Autism have a altered sensory information communicated between the body and the brain. This is why Chiropractic Care can be extremely beneficial to these patients. Improving the communication of the nervous system improves the way the body can function. After having their nervous system adjusted, many patients and their families have reported experiencing more relaxation and display more eye contact and an increased willingness to be social. Some patients report chiropractic care to have a similar sensation of stress relief they experience from stimming. However, the therapeutic effect of chiropractic care lasts for a much more prolonged period than the self-calming result of stimming.
For parents who are seeking care for their child who was newly diagnosed with Autism, consider Pediatric Chiropractic Care. Chiropractic care, alongside other treatments like occupational therapy, their developmental pediatrician prescribes, assists children’s overall physical health and cognitive function. Maintaining a healthy spinal alignment also helps Autistic children with other problems like digestive disorders, sleep disturbances, and bedwetting. Since our doctors can determine many of these issues during their assessment, this is exceptionally beneficial for Autistic patients, especially those whose children have speech delays. (Source)