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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERS

Little boy looking at camera with smileRise and Shine shared that children who have difficulty with social communication and behavior are said to have an autism spectrum disorder (formerly known as a pervasive developmental disorder (PDD)). There may be large differences between individuals with these disorders, and symptoms and difficulties occur along a continuum or spectrum. The continuum may include a child with autism who does not find social interaction rewarding on one end, and another child who is very sociable on the other. Some children with ASD have an intellectual disability, while others have higher than average intelligence. ASD is found in children of all racial/ethnic groups and socioeconomic backgrounds. It occurs in both boys and girls, but is more common in boys.

Most children with problems in development have only one or two areas of disability. Children with ASD, however, have problems in multiple areas, particularly:

  • Social interaction
  • Communication
  • Flexibility
  • Imagination

What are the symptoms of autism spectrum disorder?

Children with ASD often do not show any signs of the disorder for the first few months of life, but begin to display symptoms as they age. The first symptoms of ASD are most commonly seen between the ages of 12 and 24 months, although some children may not show clear signs until later ages. Delayed language development is a common reason many children with ASD are originally brought in for evaluation, but not all children with ASD have delayed language development. Signs of autism include problems with social communication and restricted/repetitive behaviors and interests. Behavioral problems are also common in children with ASD. More information about the symptoms of ASD can be found on the following websites:

What is the cause of autism spectrum disorder?

Parents are not responsible for this condition. Although many years ago doctors believed that an abnormal relationship between the infant and his/her parents caused ASD, we now know this is not true.

Scientific evidence has strongly refuted the theory that the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine or preservatives used in vaccines (thimerosal) cause ASD. Vaccines are an important part of maintaining your child’s health and do not lead to an increased risk of developing ASD.

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