April is Autism Awareness Month
April is National Autism Spectrum Disorder Month. In the United States, Autism is a disorder that is growing at a very rapid pace. Recent statistics have shown that one in every 68 children in the United States is diagnosed each year. Out of this staggering statistic, the state of New Jersey has the highest rate of diagnosis. According to a recent study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control, one in every forty five children in New Jersey is diagnosed with Autism and with these numbers, one in every twenty eight are males. This study shows data that is almost thirty percent higher than the national average. With these high rates occurring right in our state,it is important to understand what Autism Spectrum Disorder is and what the warning signs and symptoms are and the effects it can have on your child or loved one. The Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center team has developed some tips to help you better understand Autismand how you can identify it.
Autism spectrum disorder can be diagnosed at any age. The physician team at Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center would like to remind that early detection and intervention will be the crucial first step in your loved ones development and diagnosis. For more information or to make an appointment to our Outpatient Clinic, please call at 201-392-3100.
What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?
Autism Spectrum Disorder is a complex group of developmental disorders that affects a person's brain development. Each disorder varies and can be characterized in a multitude of ways along a spectrum ranging from mild to severe. The complications associated with Autism affect the verbal and nonverbal communication skills,coordination, intellectual disability and physical health issues such as sleeplessness and intestinal agitation. If someone has these symptoms it can affect their ability to perform daily activities and function throughout their whole lives.
What are the first signs and symptoms of Autism?
Early intervention and detection of Autism will be a key indicator on how your child develops. With early treatment, development outcomesmay improve drastically over time. That is why one of the most important things you can do as a parent is to learn the early signs of Autism and become familiar with your child's developmental milestones.
One of the earliest signs of a child with a disorder is that they are not reaching developmental milestones like speaking, babbling and crawling by a certain age. If you notice your child is not expressing signs of joyfulness such as smiling by six months or of sharing sounds back and forth with you or someone else, this could be a sign of concern. By twelve months babies should be babbling, waving and making gestures. Ifthe child is twenty-four months or older and there is significant loss of speech, hearing, and movement, you should speak to your pediatrician about this.Meadowlands Hospital’s Pediatric Physicians can answer any questions you may have about your children’s health. To schedule an appointment, please dial 201-392-3275.
How is ASD Diagnosed?
When a concerned parent comes into the Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center our physicians will answer any questions and concerns that you may have regarding your child's development. Our pediatricians will assess the patient and make decisions based on your child's developmental milestones. There are many screening tools used in diagnosis such as the Autism rating scale that will take into account every cause for concern. However, this initial consultation may not result in a definitivediagnosis; it will only provide us the information if further treatments and evaluation is needed. If further diagnosis and evaluation is needed, our team of specialists will conduct checklists with results that are evaluated and summarized to identify if the child meets certain criteria. The Meadowlands Hospital team will be with you every step of the way to ensure you receive an accurate and trusting reading.
What are the causes?
Unfortunately, there is no known cause Autism Spectrum Disorder. Brain scans and other diagnosis tools can now show some difference in the shape and structure of brains in children with autism, but these are only theories and not scientifically proven. In some families there may even be a pattern of autism and related disabilities through generations. Some symptoms change over time but people with ASD will need services and support as they get older. Many people living with ASD are able to live successful, healthy and independent lives within a supportive setting.
What is the treatment?
Autism is a unique disorder and requires a specific treatment plan. Early intensive behavioral intervention will involve families, physicians and therapists to work together. Therapy is available in the home or educational environment. Along with these therapies, health services will provide training sessions to educate others on how to assist these patients. The therapist will use therapies on sensory integration, speech, and occupational development to build a relationship between caregiver and person. Other treatments will include nutritional needs, behavioral communication and medication that will assist the patients to function and improve their daily lives significantly.