There's no way to prevent autism spectrum disorder, but ASD can be treated, and children can improve their language and social skills. Children with ASD typically continue to learn and compensate for problems throughout life, but most will continue to require some level of support. If your child is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, talk to experts about creating a treatment strategy. Keep in mind that you may need to try several different treatments before finding the best combination of therapies for your child.
Autism spectrum disorder is a neurodevelopmental disorder that impairs a child's ability to communicate and interact with others. It also includes restricted repetitive behaviors, interests and activities. These issues cause significant impairment in social, occupational and other areas of functioning.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is now defined by the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnosis and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) as a single disorder that includes disorders that were previously considered separate — autism, Asperger's syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified. The term "spectrum" in autism spectrum disorder refers to the wide range of symptoms and severity. Although the term "Asperger's syndrome" is no longer in the DSM, some people still use the term, which is generally thought to be at the mild end of autism spectrum disorder.
The number of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder is rising. It's not clear whether this is due to better detection and reporting or a real increase in the number of cases, or both.
While there is no cure for, or way to prevent, autism spectrum disorder, intensive, early treatment can make a big difference in the lives of many children.
Jaymie L. Fox, Psy.D. is a Georgia licensed psychologist who has worked with the pediatric population for over 20 years in a variety of clinical settings. Dr. Fox’ primary specialty focuses on the assessment of neurodevelopmental disorders, including Autism Spectrum Disorder, as well as neurocognitive deficits secondary to other acute and chronic medical or genetic conditions.