Autism affects an extimated 1 in 1000 children in the United States while recent data from the CDC suggests that an astounding 1 in 88 children are affected by autism spectrum disorder. Parents of toddlers, and even pregnant women, worry about the condition and what it will mean for their children. While it may be a difficult diagnosis, it’s important to know what your child is facing and what you can do as a parent to make life easier for your child. Let’s take a closer look at autism and how it’s diagnosed.
Autism is a condition that affects brain development. Children that suffer from autism may begin to show signs as early as 2-3 years of age. The problems that affect autistic children can range from social and interactive problems to repetitive behavior. The condition is more prevalent in boys than girls and is on the rise, the numbers doubling since the CDC first started tracking the stats on autism. The cause of autism varies from child to child. Over the past few years, scientists have found that gene mutations or changes may be to blame. However, research is still underway and proving that there may be many causes of this disease.
Signs and Symptoms of Autism
As a parent, you may be wondering what you can look for to help determine whether or not your child has autism. There are many symptoms that occur with autism and they fall into a few basic groups. The first group is social challenges, which means that the child may have trouble interacting with others and the world around him. The second group is communication problems, which include delayed speech and gestures used to communicate. The last category is repetitive behavior, which means that the child may repeat a word, action, sound, etc, over and over. However, there are also medical problems associated with the disease. Children with autism may also have genetic disorders, seizure disorders, sleep dysfunction, sensory processing problems, and pica.
There is no way to medically diagnose autism. What can be done, after parents or caretakers notice the symptoms of the disease, is have their child screened for behavior disorders. Psychologists and specially trained doctors can screen your child with behavioral evaluations. The first step is to look at a checklist to see if your child should be further evaluated. It’s important to note that every child should be screened up to 36 months to determine whether or not they are developing as they should.
Autism is a scary word for parents, but there are things you can do to determine whether or not your child has the condition. It first begins by watching your child’s behavior as he grows. If you notice that your child isn’t developing as he should, you need to see your doctor immediately for further diagnosis.
About the Author: Lorette Alcide is a medical biller for a large chain of pediatric and neurology groups. She highly recommends you visit AboutMedicalBillingAndCoding.org if you’d like to learn more about the administrative opportunities in healthcare.