au•tism | aw-tiz-uhm

Autism spectrum disorder — commonly referred to simply as autism — refers to the broad range of conditions characterized by differences or challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, and communication.

Autism is a spectrum disorder, which means that each autistic person* has their own strengths and challenges. There are several subtypes of autism. One autistic person might need little to no help in their day-to-day life. Another might require significant support.

*Language where disability is concerned is evolving. Lingraphica adheres to identity-first language when it pertains to autism. We acknowledge that both identity-first and person-first approaches to language are designed to respect the subject of our words. When there is a preference for person-first language, Lingraphica honors that preference.

How Common Is Autism?

According to recent estimates from the CDC, about 1 in 54 children has been identified with autism. Autism can occur in all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups, and is four times more common among boys than among girls.

Diagnosing Autism

At this time, there is no medical test (e.g., blood test, imaging test, etc.) that can diagnose the disorder. This can make diagnosing autism difficult. Instead, medical professionals will examine a person’s developmental history and behavior in order to make a diagnosis.

In some cases, autism can be detected at 18 months or younger, and by age 2, a professional diagnosis is considered reliable. Despite this, many do not receive a final diagnosis until adolescence or even adulthood. Such delays can prevent an autistic person from getting the help they need.

The various methods used in a diagnosis include monitoring, screening, and evaluating. Developmental monitoring can be done by a parent and other caregivers. It refers to tracking the progress of expected milestones by a child’s age. Developmental screening takes a closer, more formal look with the use of a screening test or questionnaire. Screening is typically done by a healthcare professional. Questions can cover language, movement, behavior, and emotions. While monitoring and screening provide indication of development, a proper developmental evaluation is needed for diagnosis. This more detailed examination and formal assessment can help to identify specific needs and treatment.

Can Autism Be Prevented?

There is no known way to prevent autism. The causes for autism are not entirely known. Most scientists agree that various factors might increase the risk of an autism diagnosis, including genetic factors and family history. While some people have had concerns over a link between autism and child vaccinations, studies have shown that a link between receiving vaccines and developing autism does not exist.

What Are The Symptoms of Autism?

In most cases, the signs of autism are usually seen by the time a child is 2 years old. Each autistic person will likely have a unique behavior pattern and level of severity. Some of the more common symptoms include impairments surrounding communication, social interaction, and behavior.

An autistic child or adult might have any of the following characteristics:

  • Appears unaware of others’ feelings
  • Doesn’t appear to understand simple questions or directions
  • Doesn’t recognize nonverbal cues, such as facial expressions or tone of voice
  • Doesn’t respond to name or appears to not hear on occasion
  • Doesn’t speak or has delayed speech
  • Has poor eye contact and lacks facial expression
  • Loses previous ability to say words or sentences
  • Prefers playing alone, retreating into their own world
  • Persistently repeats words or phrases
  • Resists hugging or cuddling
  • Speaks with an atypical rhythm and/or tone
  • Unable to initiate or maintain a conversation

Nonverbal Autism

According to the CDC, approximately 40% of autistic children do not talk at all. Roughly 25%–30% will use some words at 1 to 1.5 years old and then “lose” them. Others might speak, but not until later in childhood.

Can You Recover From Autism?

There is no known cure for autism, but there are a number of treatment methods and strategies that can help maximize function by supporting development and adapting the environment. Since every autistic person is unique, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all treatment. A person’s treatment method instead is typically tailored to their specific needs.

Treatment options can include:

Improving Your Communication and Speech With An AAC Device

Lingraphica AAC devices are designed to improve communication for people who have conditions like autism. The device can help with expressing thoughts, practicing scenarios, and fostering independence.

Learn More

Ready for a Consultation?

All it takes is 15 minutes to find out if a Lingraphica AAC Device is right for you or a loved one. Call 866-570-8775 or click the button below to schedule a consultation.

Schedule a Consultation