Autism spectrum disorder is a multifaceted developmental disability; signs typically appear during early childhood and affect a person’s ability to communicate, and interact with others. There is no known single cause of autism. There are several behaviors associated with autism that an individual may experience including delayed learning of language; difficulty making eye contact or holding a conversation; difficulty with executive functioning, which relates to reasoning and planning; narrow, intense interests; poor motor skills’ and sensory sensitivities. Early intervention and access to appropriate services and/or supports have been documented to positively contribute to many individual's successful outcomes.
Autism Spectrum Disorders typically appear during the first three years of life. There are no medical tests for diagnosing Autism. So if you are concerned about developmental delays in your child(ren) consult with your child's doctor. Here are some of the early signs of Autism Spectrum Disorders (this list is not exhaustive):
- No social smiling by 6 months;
- Poor eye contact;
- No babbling, pointing, or meaningful gestures by 12 months;
- Loss of skills at any time;
- No one-word communication by 16 months;
- Not showing items or sharing interests;
- No two-word phrases by 24 months;
- Unusual attachment to one particular toy or object; and
- Not responding to sounds.
Here are some great resources:
Asperger Works. This program assist adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders with employment.
Autism Eats. This program provides information on autism-friendly non-judgmental environments for family dining and socialization.
Autism Insurance Resource Center. This program provides information on issues related to insurance coverage for Autism related treatments and services.
Autism Support Center at Northeast Arc. The center providses information and support for families of people with Autism, including a paretn support group.