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Autism Spectrum Disorder

Answers About Complementary and Integrative Medicine—Autism Toolkit
Complementary medicine refers to practices that are used in addition to the educational, behavioral, and medical interventions recommended by your child’s pediatrician and schools. Alternative medicine refers to treatments that are used in place of the recommendations of your child’s pediatrician. When traditional and complementary practices are used together, it is often called integrative medicine. CAM (complementary and alternative medicine) is another way of saying complementary and integrative medicine (CIM) treatments.
ASD—About Medications and Integrative, Complementary, and Alternative Medicine Treatments
Treating children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often involves a comprehensive program that addresses the education, development, and behavior of the child. Read on to learn more from the American Academy of Pediatrics about the different treatments for ASD including medications and alternative treatments.
ASD—Communication, Social Skills, and Sensory Motor Interventions
Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have difficulties navigating everyday situations. Read on to learn more from the American Academy of Pediatrics about communication, social, and sensory interventions.
ASD—Developmental and Behavioral Interventions
Developmental and behavioral interventions are interrelated and are the mainstay for educating and supporting people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Read on to learn more from the American Academy of Pediatrics about these interventions.
ASD—Effective Education Programs and Public Programs
Many different strategies and techniques help children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) learn to interact with others and acquire new skills that may help them talk, play, participate in school, and care for their needs. Read on to learn more from the American Academy of Pediatrics about educational and public programs for children with ASD.
ASD—Family Support and Support in School
Families of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may experience stress before, during, and after a diagnosis. Read on to learn more from the American Academy of Pediatrics about support available for families of children with ASD.
ASD—How is the Diagnosis Made?
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is complex, and symptoms are different for each child. Read on to learn more from the American Academy of Pediatrics about how ASD is diagnosed.
ASD—Joint Attention Skills
How can we help children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) learn important social skills? Read on to learn more from the American Academy of Pediatrics about learning joint attention skills in 4 stages.
ASD—Teen and Adult Years
Teens and adults living with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may have special concerns. Read on to learn more from the American Academy of Pediatrics about improving the quality of life for teens and adults with ASD.
ASD—What Are the Early Signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder?
Many children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may show developmental differences throughout their infancy, especially in social and language skills.
ASD—What Causes Autism Spectrum Disorder?
Many factors may lead to symptoms of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). If a family already has a child diagnosed as having ASD, the chance that a sibling might also have ASD is 10 to 20 times higher than in the general population.
ASD—What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurologically based disability that affects a child’s social skills, communication, and behavior.
Autism Spectrum Disorder—Behavioral Issues in Child Care and Schools
Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have challenges with social interactions, language development, and sensory experiences, and they can engage in repetitive patterns of behavior or have highly focused interests. Research estimates indicate that at least 1 in 59 children (1.7%) have ASD, with boys having higher rates of ASD than girls. Children with genetic disorders, preterm birth, or family members with ASD are more likely to receive a diagnosis. Autism spectrum disorder is not caused by parenting or vaccines.
Behavior Challenges—Autism Toolkit
Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may have a hard time relating to and communicating with other people. They may try to communicate through their behaviors. For example, children with ASD may have a hard time telling their parents that they do not want to do an activity that parents want them to. They may then throw a tantrum from frustration instead of using words.
Discussing the Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder With Your Child—Autism Toolkit
As your child gets older, she may read reports or hear the word autism in reference to her. Some children are aware of their diagnosis, but some are not aware, and the parents may worry that their children will become upset when they find out they have autism. This is a valid concern, and it is better if your child is told about his diagnosis by you in a safe and supportive environment rather than on paper or through conversations with others.
Early Intervention Services—Autism Toolkit
Children learn by watching, imitating, and playing with others. Young children with signs of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often do not have some of these skills, and they need to learn them. The goal of early intervention (EI) is to help young children gain skills and to teach families some specific ways to meet their child’s needs. It is important to get help for your child as soon as possible. The earlier a child begins EI, the better the outcome can be.
Financial Assistance—Autism Toolkit
Many children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are able to get support from programs funded through their state or county. Some examples are financial help, education support, medical care, job skills training, and residential or living services. Some supports are available to all children because of federal laws, such as a free public education, including special education if needed. Other public benefits are based on need, such as financial or how serious the disability is. Most children with ASD, especially those who also have intellectual disability, will qualify for these benefits.
Gastrointestinal Problems—Autism Toolkit
Gastrointestinal (GI) problems include constipation, diarrhea, reflux, vomiting, belly pain, and feeding problems. Some children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have GI problems. These symptoms can add stress to the child and family and may cause behaviors such as aggression or self-injury.
Inclusion in School—Autism Toolkit
Inclusion in school means students with disabilities learn and participate alongside their peers without disabilities. Inclusion may look different for each student. It should be guided by student needs and include supports, if needed, to promote success. Inclusion is not just about education in the classroom. It includes chances to be part of activities before, during, and after school with nondisabled peers. This may include clubs, committees, or sports teams. It is important to focus on the needs of the student and encourage inclusive chances in which she can be successful.
Intervention Approaches Used for Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder—Autism Toolkit
If you have concerns about your child’s development and behavior, your child should be seen to tell if she needs therapy. You do not need a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to begin many kinds of therapy. There can be a long wait for ASD diagnosis, so it is important to start therapy while your child is still waiting for a diagnosis. However, once your child is diagnosed with ASD, she may be able to get more interventions, such as applied behavioral analysis (ABA). It is important to have your child seen by an ASD specialist even if your child is already receiving intervention.
Is Your Toddler Communicating With You?
Your baby is able to communicate with you long before he or she speaks a single word! A baby's cry, smile, and responses to you help you to understand his or her needs. In this publication the American Academy of Pediatrics shares information about how children communicate and what to do when there are concerns about delays in development.
Laboratory Tests—Autism Toolkit
All children have some laboratory tests at birth and as part of regular checkups. Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often need more tests. These tests can help find the cause of the condition or problems related to it that may not be obvious. This helps guide your child’s doctor in treating your child best.
Managing Chronic Health Needs in Child Care and Schools—Autism Spectrum Disorders
Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are a group of developmental disabilities caused by a problem with the brain. Children with ASDs have trouble in 3 core areas of their development.
Nutrition and Eating Problems—Autism Toolkit
Eating problems are common in children. In children with ASD, the problems may be more serious and last longer because of problems with taste, texture, or smell. They may be the result of learned behaviors.
School-Based Services—Autism Toolkit
There are different levels of intervention that a teacher and school can provide to your child: (1) Informal plan. (2) Response to intervention (RTI). (3) Section 504 plan. (4) Individualized Education Program (IEP).
Seizures and Epilepsy—Autism Toolkit
About 1 in 4 children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has seizures. Seizures usually start in early childhood or the early teen years. Children with ASD who have a lower IQ or cannot speak have the highest risk for seizures. Epilepsy is defined as 2 or more seizures when the child does not have a fever or another medical reason for the seizure.
Sibling Support—Autism Toolkit
Siblings might ask about autism if they’ve heard you use the term, but they’re more likely to ask about what their brother or sister is doing (ie, behaviors). There is no “perfect time” for these conversations, but starting early and revising your description for age appropriateness can be very helpful.
Sleep Problems—Autism Toolkit
Sleep problems are common in children with and without autism spectrum disorder (ASD). One-half to one-third of children with ASD have sleep problems.
Talking About Sexuality for Parents of Teens With Autism Spectrum Disorder—Autism Toolkit
All children and teens, including those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), have questions about physical changes in their bodies, emotions, and feelings during and after puberty. It is important to help children and teens understand these changes by talking with them early and often about puberty and sexuality.
Teaching Social Skills—Autism Toolkit
Having a hard time socializing is one of the key features in children witdh autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Children with ASD can have difficulty with many social skills.
The Medical Home for Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder—Autism Toolkit
Parents, pediatricians, and other health care professionals are encouraged to work together so that all of the needs of children and youths are met. This partnership is at the core of what the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) calls a medical home. The medical home is not a physical place but rather a way of giving a child comprehensive and compassionate primary care. A medical home helps coordinate the medical care and other services your child needs into a single plan for your child’s health.
Toilet Training—Autism Toolkit
Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often have slowed development, may be stuck on their own routines, or may be nervous about learning a new skill. They may not understand how to copy the steps using the toilet, or they may not understand the words parents are using. Many children with ASD may toilet train at a later age than typically developing children.
Vaccines—Autism Toolkit
Scientific studies show that many different genes work together with things in the environment to put a child at risk for autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Scientific studies do not show that vaccines cause ASD.
Visiting the Doctor—Autism Toolkit
Going to the doctor can be stressful for any child. For a child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), there may be extra challenges because of sensory, communication, and other symptoms. Here are some tips to help make visiting the doctor easier.
Wandering Off (Elopement)—Autism Toolkit
Research shows that about 1 in 3 young children with ASD has tried to wander off. This behavior may continue to happen in older children and even teenagers and adults with ASD. This is concerning since many people with ASD may not be able to share their names, addresses, or phone numbers if they get lost.
Your Child and Medications—Autism Toolkit
While medications will not change your child’s autism spectrum disorder (ASD), they can be helpful when added to other treatments to help your child’s development and learning.