SYMPTOMS AND DIAGNOSIS

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS

People with ASD often have problems with social, emotional, and communication skills. Signs of ASD begin during early childhood and typically last throughout a person’s life.

Children or adults with ASD might:

  • appear to be unaware when people talk to them, but respond to other sounds (for example, not responding to their name)

  • prefer not to be touched or held, or might only tolerate it when they want it

  • repeat the same actions over and over again

  • have trouble adapting when a routine changes (for example, changing clothes before eating instead of after)

  • not point at objects to show interest (for example, not pointing at a penguin at the zoo)

  • not look at objects when another person points at them

  • have trouble relating to others or not have an interest in other people at all

  • avoid eye contact and want to be alone

  • have trouble understanding other people’s feelings or talking about their own feelings

  • be very interested in people, but not know how to talk, play, or relate to them

  • repeat or echo words or phrases said to them, or repeat words or phrases in place of normal language

  • have trouble expressing their needs using typical words or motions

  • not play “pretend” games (for example pretend to “cook”)

  • have unusual reactions to the way things smell, taste, look, feel, or sound

  • lose skills they once had (for example, stop saying words they were using)

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DIAGNOSIS 

If you think that your child may have ASD, the first step is to get a diagnosis.

 

Your pediatrician can direct you to a testing facility to receive an Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) assessment. You may also call the phone number on the back of your insurance card for more information. The results from this assessment are used to determine if your child meets the criteria for a diagnosis.

If your child does meet the criteria, there are services that can help. Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) has shown to be highly effective in teaching the skills your child needs to lead a successful life. These skills include communication, daily living skills, social interaction, play skills and many more. ABA is covered under most insurance policies as a preferred treatment for children, teens and young adults with ASD. If you have questions about your policy, please call your insurance provider directly to learn more about your individual coverage.

Applied Behavior Analysis has been shown to be the most effective when started at a young age with children with ASD. Studies have shown that children who received forty hours of services made the most gains. Research has also shown that children receiving less than ten hours of services made far fewer gains. When scheduling your child for ABA services, keep in mind that the more hours your child is able to attend for therapy, the more potential there is for improvement.

Studies have shown that 50% of children with autism that receive ABA therapy before the age of 4 show significant increases in IQ, verbal ability and social functioning.*

*Ryan, Joseph B., et al. “Research-Based Educational Practices for Students With Autism Spectrum Disorders.” TEACHING Exceptional Children, vol. 47, no. 2, 2014, pp. 94–102., doi:10.1177/0040059914553207.

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