Autism Spectrum Disorder | ASD
Autism spectrum disorder was previously known as autism and Asperger syndrome. People with autism learn and behave differently than others. Their social skills can be different, too. Autism begins in early development and can continue throughout life. Early diagnosis and intervention can help children build skills and overcome challenges.
What is autism spectrum disorder?
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a group of developmental disorders that can cause difficulties in social interactions, communication, and behavior. The disorder was previously known as Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome. The condition begins in early development and continues throughout life. ASD affects everyone a little differently, which is why people are diagnosed as part of a spectrum.
The cause of ASD is unknown. However, medical professionals believe it is caused by a combination of factors involving genes and the environment.
ASD risk factors include:
Having a family member with ASD
Premature birth and low birth weight
Parents older than 35 or 40
Other genetic conditions
There are no medical tests for doctors to use to diagnose ASD. In evaluating patients, doctors can look at language abilities and thinking skills. They may also order blood and hearing tests to make sure the patients have no other illnesses or disorders. Pediatric psychologists, psychiatrics, speech language pathologists or developmental pediatricians may help with ASD diagnosis and treatment.
Symptoms of ASD begin to show in early development. Be sure to speak with your child’s provider or pediatrician with concerns about your child’s health and development, as early intervention can improve symptoms.