Autism Spectrum Disorders

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder(s)?

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complex developmental condition involving persistent challenges with social communication, restricted interests, and repetitive behavior. While autism is considered a lifelong disorder, the degree of impairment in functioning because of these challenges varies between individuals with autism.

Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorders. Early signs of this disorder can be noticed by parents/caregivers or pediatricians before a child reaches one year of age. However, symptoms typically become more consistently visible by the time a child is 2 or 3 years old. In some cases, the functional impairment related to autism may be mild and not apparent until the child starts school, after which their deficits may be pronounced when amongst their peers.

What Are the Symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder?

The symptoms of the autism disorder can be misunderstood by many people today. It is a common misconception that people with autism spectrum disorder are not functional and always have intellectual deficits. However, many patients on the autism spectrum have average to above intellect and functioning. This condition is diagnosed based on the patient’s history and behaviors. A thorough history is taken during the evaluation process often involving a patient interview, evaluations from parents/caregivers, teachers and other psychological tests.

What Other Disorders Have Similar Symptoms?

People who suffer from different types of anxiety, phobias, and personality disorders may present with symptoms similar in nature to person who have Autism Spectrum Disorder. However, Dr. Mitchell will perform a full patient evaluation to make sure that a proper diagnosis is made.

How is Autism Spectrum Disorder Treated?

Given the complex nature of the disease, people with ASD benefit from interdisciplinary treatment teams made up of experts from various fields. Those teams typically include psychiatrists, educators, and therapists. Applied behavior analysis (ABA). ABA is a method that uses evidence-based teaching techniques to increase helpful behaviors and reduce behaviors that are harmful or interfere with learning. ABA therapy has been shown to improve communication, social and vocational skills. Dr. Mitchell will work with each patient to customize medication intervention for comorbid mood or behavior symptoms as well as non-medication aspects that can be used to optimize treatment plans including therapy and lifestyle changes.