INITIAL ASSESSMENT FOR AUTISM

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Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), is a range of conditions characterized by challenges with social interactions, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication. Autism isn’t just one condition, but many types, caused by different combinations of genetic and environmental factors.

The most obvious signs of ASD appear between ages 2 and 3, but in some cases can be diagnosed as early as 18 months.

While Best Day Psychiatry and Counseling, formerly known as Fayetteville Psychiatric Associates, doesn’t have treatment providers specializing in autism spectrum disorder, we do treat the interconnected conditions. These conditions can include:

  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
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SYMPTOMS OF AUTISM

Most families or/and caregivers report symptoms within the first two years if life and will typically express concern by 18 months of age. Studies have found:

  • Reports of abnormalities in the child’s language development and social relatedness at around 14 months of age
  • Fewer joint attention and communication behaviors at age 1 than their typical same-age peers
  • Abnormal eye contact, passivity, decreased activity level and delayed language by 12 months of age
  • Differences in sensory-motor and social behaviors
  • Differences in the use of communicative gestures
  • A decline in eye fixation from 2 to 6 months of age

There is no single test for diagnosing autism spectrum disorder in children. Instead, diagnosis is based on watching how your child interacts and plays with others, reviewing the developmental history and interviewing you as a parent or caregiver.

Assessing autism in a previously undiagnosed teenager or adult can be a challenge. The commonly used diagnostic tools are meant to be used for children which means there is no established diagnostic test for adults. Because of these limitations, the evaluation of an adult has to heavily lean on direct observations from the patient and their support system.