Delaware County Medicine & Health Spring 2017 - 18

FEATURE

AUTISM
SPECTRUM
DISORDER

Putting the Pieces Together
By: Nandini Iyengar MD, FAAP

A

utism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental/neurobehavioral disorder
that affects a child's social skills, communication, and behavior. The Diagnostic and Statistical
Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th ed., created an umbrella diagnosis of ASD in 2013 which condensed the
previously known conditions such as autistic disorder,
Asperger syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder,
and pervasive developmental disorder. According to
estimates from CDC's Autism and Developmental
Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network, about 1 in
68 children has been identified with ASD occurring
4.5 times more commonly in boys than girls.

16 DELAWARE COUNTY MEDICINE & HEALTH

spring 2017

Most children with ASD master early motor skills like walking and sitting, but exhibit delays in speech and social skills.
First-time parents may have difficulties noticing these delays
and, for all parents, their children's diagnosis of ASD may be
difficult to accept. However, research has shown that early
diagnosis and intensive behavioral interventions based on
applied behavior analysis improves cognitive ability, language,
and adaptive skills. As clinicians, we must create an environment where parents can openly ask for help and utilize
available resources as quickly as possible.
If parents feel that something is not right, they may benefit
from seeking a professional opinion. Even if the suspicion of
ASD is a false alarm, alerting clinicians sooner can expedite
initiation of therapies if delays are identified. Since the symptoms and severity of children with ASD vary significantly,
each child will have an individual need and recommended
therapy. For instance a child with speech delay may be able to
learn communication skills through speech therapy, augmentative communication therapy, including picture books,
mobile apps focusing on speech, sign language, occupational
or physical therapy to strengthen core muscles and ameliorate
sensory problems.



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https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/delcomed/DelawareMedicalSocietySummerFall2020
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https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/delcomed/DelcoMedicalSociety
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/delcomed/DelawareCountyMedicalSocietyWinter2017
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https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/delcomed/DelawareCountyMedicalSociety
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