Pediatrics, Travel Medicine, & Pediatric Obesity Medicine located in Newton Centre, MA, Wellesley, MA and Waltham, MA
Autism impacts the normal development of the brain in many different areas including social interaction, communication skills, and cognitive function. Currently there is no cure for autism, however early intervention and treatment has been proven to enhance the child’s life. At Newton Pediatrics in Newton, Wellesley, and Waltham, Massachusetts we work with a team of specialists including pediatricians, social workers, therapists, and many more to assist your child. Find the support for your family and autistic child, call your nearest Newton Pediatrics office or book an appointment online.
What is autism?
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or autism is a complex condition that affects behavior, socialization, and communication skills.
Austism generally appers before the age of 3 and found more often in boys than girls.
Children may have some autistic traits, be severely affected by autism, or fit anywhere in between, which is why it’s now called autism spectrum disorder.
Children with severe autism have extreme difficulty communicating or interacting with other people. Others can live normal lives but have specific challenges with things they don’t understand, like social interactions.
How is autism diagnosed?
There’s no lab test for autism, and it can be challenging to diagnose the condition in very young children. For instance, some children may not start talking until they’re at or past school age, but that doesn’t mean they’re autistic.
As your child gets older, the differences between them and other children become more apparent. These might include:
- Difficulty making or keeping eye contact
- Not responding to people’s facial expressions
- Not making appropriate facial expressions
- Showing little empathy for others
- Problems making friends or a lack of interest in friends
- Repeating what they hear without understanding it
- Not responding to their name
- Reluctance to talk or have a conversation
- Repetitive behaviors
- Spinning and rocking
- Preference for order and routine
- Unusual sensitivity to sound, light, touch, or smell
Your child might obsessively play with the same toy and find specific parts of a toy, like the wheels, particularly fascinating.
What can I do to help my child if they have autism?
The best way to help a child with autism is to get a diagnosis from Newton Pediatrics as soon as possible. Once you know they have autism, you can start making adjustments that account for their altered perceptions.
The kinds of interventions or therapy that could help your child vary depending on where they are on the autism spectrum, but possible approaches include:
- Behavior therapy
- Social skills training
- Applied behavior analysis (ABA)
- Communication skills learning
- Speech therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Physical therapy
Medications don’t treat autism spectrum disorder but might help address problems like hyperactivity.
Your pediatrician and the practice’s experienced social worker can help by advising you on accommodating your autistic child’s needs. For instance, children with autism might need additional help at school, not because they lack intelligence, but because they learn differently.
Working with Newton Pediatrics, you can help optimize your child’s ability to manage the difficulties having autism can cause. To arrange an autism assessment, call the office or book an appointment online today.
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