In 2000, one in every one hundred and fifty children was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Since then, there has been a drastic increase of the incidence of this disorder. In 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control, autism spectrum disorder occurs in one out of every sixty eight children (CDC, 2014). That is a significant increase over a short period of time. As a parent, when you hear the words “Your child has autism spectrum disorder” they can instill fear, worry, and sadness. When parents hear this for the first time they will have many questions. “Is there anything I can do to help my child? If so, what can be done?” With specific interventions such as behavior therapy, speech, and occupational therapy, the symptoms of autism spectrum disorder can be controlled or eliminated. Autism spectrum disorder interventions are vital to increasing successful outcomes in children with autism spectrum disorder.
All about Autism Spectrum Disorder
With such a significant increase in the numbers of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder since 2000, it is important to understand all about what it is, its comorbidities, and how the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-Five classifies it.
Autism Spectrum Disorder and its Characteristics
Autism spectrum disorder is the term used for a group of disorders in brain development. It is a complex disorder and symptoms usually appear before the child is age five. It is called a spectrum disorder because each person is affected differently with different degrees of severity (A Parent's Guide to Autism Spectrum Disorder, 2011). There are three disorders included under the umbrella of autism spectrum disorder. They are; Autistic Disorder, Asperger Syndrome, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder- Not otherwise specified. All three of these umbrella disorders share three common characteristics. The first of the three common characteristics is problems with communication. There are two ways that communication is affected in people with autism spectrum disorder (National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, 2012). The first is a pattern of irregular language development. An example of the irregular pattern of speech development seen in autism is Echolalia. Another example of irregular speech development is prosody. Some people with autism may know the correct vocabulary to use but are unable to use a correct tone of voice. Not only are the unable to use prosody, but they are not able to detect it in others (Rudy, 2010). This can make them appear emotionally distant, or uninterested.
Another way communication is affected in people with autism spectrum disorder is limited nonverbal conversation skills. People who suffer from this disorder are unable to interpret nonverbal cues. For example, when two typically developing people are having a conversation and one of these people need to end the conversation there will be clues....