Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

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About the Disorder

Autism Spectrum Disorder is a developmental disorder that makes it difficult for people to communicate and interact with others. Symptoms usually begin to show in the first two years of life and can vary in intensity from person to person. This is why the disorder is considered to occur on a spectrum.

Symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD):

Those with ASD often display many of the following symptoms:

  • Failure to make and hold eye contact with others
  • Trouble listening to others or looking at others
  • Inability to share enjoyment of activities or playing with objects
  • Difficulty maintaining conversations
  • Responding slowly or not at all to another person calling their name or getting their attention
  • Repetitive or restrictive behaviors that may include: repeating words or phrases, holding interest in specific topics and interests (especially numbers and details) or obsessing over very focused interests
  • Irritability
  • Problems with sleep 

Why There Is Hope for Autism Spectrum Disorder

While many of symptoms can negatively impact a person’s ability to function in daily life, individuals with ASD may possess strengths like:

  • Remembering and learning very detailed information, often at a quicker pace
  • Stronger than usual skills in math, science, music and the arts
  • Quick auditory and visual learning capability

There is still much to learn about the exact causes of ASD. Researchers have learned the disorder may be caused by a variety of genetic factors and may be exacerbated by environmental toxins. Fortunately, there are many treatment paths available to help a child or adult living with ASD function in day-to-day life.

Helping A Loved One with Autism Spectrum Disorder - Early Intervention

Early screening is very important to catching developmental disorders. The sooner a doctor can diagnose a child with ASD, the sooner treatment can begin and the greater chance the child has to receive the proper developmental support they need. ASD can be soundly diagnosed by the age of two. Parents and caregivers should talk to their pediatrician about developmental disorder screening for all children at their well child visits, including 9-months, 18-months, 24-months and 30-months. Autism screening should be emphasized at the 18 and 24-month visits, especially if there are ASD risks present, including: family members with ASD, older parents, other genetic conditions, low birth weight and early symptoms of ASD. 

If the child shows developmental problems in the first round of screening, a second round of screening will be required to evaluate psychological, neuropsychological and speech and hearing development. Neuropsychological assessment evaluates functioning and sensory development, sensory integration, gross and fine motor movement, executive functioning, social skills, and emotional or personality development. School special education professionals can make their own assessment and refer the child to an ASD specialist for additional evaluation.

Screening can also test attention, concentration, memory, auditory and visual processing, processing speed, language skills, reading skills, math skills, writing skills. In older children and young adults, parents and teachers are advised to look out for symptoms, especially if they notice the person having difficulty functioning in school or forming relationships and communicating with others. 

How We Treat Autism Spectrum Disorder

Once a person is diagnosed with ASD, treatment should begin as quickly as possible. Early detection and treatment is crucial so that people can learn how to manage their symptoms and optimize their strengths in daily functioning. Treatments will vary from person to person, which is why Pacific Solstice takes time to get to know your family. Finding a plan that works for you is our heartbeat. We do not believe in shortcuts to wellness, nor do we trust quick fixes. We will listen, educate and promote healing and communication.

Medication can help reduce mood-related symptoms as well as hyperactivity and attention problems. Behavioral, psychological and educational therapy can help patients with ASD learn how to manage their negative behaviors and build new social and learning skills. Learning language and communication skills can help the individual living with ASD to connect with their peers, form friendships and effectively navigate social situations in a more productive way. Diet modifications can lead to life-changing results in reducing environmental toxins to the brain, improving mental cognition. And while MeRT gives us a non-invasive look at the brainwaves, we are able to influence patterns in this activity. This can be a tipping point, once there is this harmony of services, we get a better idea where to focus most. Combined with therapy and skills training, families feel more empowered to engage the gifts, skills and strengths of their loved one living with Autism. Once the brain communication internally is synchronized, emotional regulation and quality of life improve. Everyday can feel like a warzone or it can feel like a symphony. The difference is who you pick to join your team. Your family needs the best advocates available to appreciate your family story and the burdens and potential above and below it. Our patients are very much alive as they engage Pacific Solstice whole person, whole family care. Facing previously felt discouragement or limitations is contagious. Many times one family's success leads to another family finding relief, steady progress and peace.

What Ongoing Care Looks Like for Autism Spectrum Disorder

Support from caregivers, family members and school administrators can help a child go further with their treatment of ASD. Learning to play to their strengths can help them excel in areas where others may not be able to. When given the proper education and tools, a person living with ASD is capable of thriving in school, in relationships, in work and in life. Pacific Solstice makes healing a discovery process for our Team and for you. Together, the treatment plan that suits you will emerge and so will stronger relationships and resolve for a high quality of life.

Symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD):

Those with ASD often display many of the following symptoms:

  • Failure to make and hold eye contact with others
  • Trouble listening to others or looking at others
  • Inability to share enjoyment of activities or playing with objects
  • Difficulty maintaining conversations
  • Responding slowly or not at all to another person calling their name or getting their attention
  • Repetitive or restrictive behaviors that may include: repeating words or phrases, holding interest in specific topics and interests (especially numbers and details) or obsessing over very focused interests
  • Irritability
  • Problems with sleep