Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have a broad range of symptoms,
skills, and levels of impairment or disability.
ASD is characterized by:
• Persistent deficits in social communication and social interaction
• Restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities
• Symptoms must be present in the early developmental period (typically
recognized in the first two years of life)
• Symptoms cause clinically significant impairment in social, occupational, or
other important areas of current functioning
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that about 1 in
68 children have been identified with ASD. ASD is almost 5 times more common
among boys (1 in 42) than among girls (1 in 189). The exact cause of ASD has not
been determined, but research suggests that both genes and environment play important
Other conditions that children with ASD may have include:
• Sensory problems: They may either overreact or underreact to certain sights,
sounds, smells, textures, and tastes.
• Sleep problems: Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep or have other sleep
• Intellectual disability: Many children with ASD have some degree of
intellectual disability. When tested, some areas of ability may be normal, while
others—especially cognitive (thinking) and language abilities—may be
• Seizures: One in four children with ASD has seizures, often starting either in
early childhood or during the teen years.
• Gastrointestinal problems
• Co-occurring Mental Disorders: Children with ASD are at higher risk of
developing mental disorders such as anxiety disorders, attention deficit
hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or depression.
While there’s no proven cure yet for autism spectrum disorder (ASD), treating ASD
early, with intensive behavioral therapy during the toddler or preschool years, can
significantly improve cognitive and language skills in young children with ASD.
Using school-based programs and getting proper medical care can greatly reduce
ASD symptoms and increase a child’s ability to grow, learn new skills, and function
better in daily life.
One type of widely accepted treatment is applied behavior analysis (ABA). The
goals of ABA are to shape and reinforce new behaviors, such as learning to speak
and play, and reduce undesirable ones. ABA, which can involve intensive, one-on-one
child-teacher interaction for up to 40 hours a week, has inspired the development
of other, similar interventions that aim to help those with ASD reach their full
potential. Some medications can help reduce symptoms that cause problems for a
child in school or at home.
This blog presents opinions and ideas and is intended to provide helpful general information. I am not engaged in rendering advice or services to the individual reader. The ideas, procedures and suggestions in that are presented are not in any way a substitute for the advice and care of the reader’s own physician or other medical professional based on the reader’s own individual conditions, symptoms or concerns. If the reader needs personal medical, health, dietary, exercise or other assistance or advice the reader should consult a physician and/or other qualified health professionals. The author specifically disclaims all responsibility for any injury, damage or loss that the reader may incur as a direct or indirect consequence of following any directions or suggestions given in this blog or participating in any programs described in this blog or in the book, The Building Blocks of Health––How to Optimize Your Health with a Lifestyle Checklist (available in print or downloaded at Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble and elsewhere). Copyright 2021 by J. Joseph Speidel.