Autism: Symptoms, Signs, Causes & Treatment Options

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What are the common signs of autism? Autism spectrum disorders can affect different people in different ways. But there are a few very common signs of autism that you can spot in both children and adults. If you’re interested to know what those common signs of autism are, then keep reading.

You’ll find out more about what causes autism and what you can do to treat it. If you think someone you love may have autism, then you’re in the right place.

The Commons Signs of Autism

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can affect children and adults. It is a spectrum disorder which means it can affect people differently. Some people may have a more severe case, while others have milder effects. Either way, some very common signs of autism can show up regardless of how far along the spectrum someone is.

Zinnia Health is here to help you. Zinnia’s mission is to offer top-quality care for all ASD patients and their families, regardless of their socioeconomic status.

Here are some of the common signs of autism to look out for:

1. Lack of Eye Contact

ASD patients have a hard time with eye contact. Whether they are very young or adults, they may struggle with appropriate eye contact. When you call their name, they may not look directly at you in response. If they hear your voice, they may look in the general direction you are but not right at you.

As your child is speaking or communicating with you, they may avoid looking at you in the eyes or seem incapable of doing so. This lack of eye contact could be one of the common signs of autism.

2. Delay in Communication Skills

In very young children, other common signs of autism are the delay in the onset of speech or difficulty with communication, including hand gestures. Children as young as a few months old can communicate in their own way through noises and sounds. If your child seems to never look at you to try and communicate, there could be a delay. As children grow up, it can become more obvious.

If they cannot use words by age two, for example, you should see a doctor. While some children may have a mild delay, it could also be a common sign of autism. It’s best to follow this up with your pediatrician.

In adults, this may be different. ASD adults may be able to communicate but seem to do so a little more awkwardly. They may not have the correct responses to ordinary questions. Or they may have difficulty expressing their emotions and letting others understand how they are feeling. These are all common signs of autism.

3. Getting Upset Over Minor Changes

Anyone on the spectrum relies on routine and regular activities or behaviors. When routines they rely on change, it can be very difficult for them to adjust. Small children may respond by having a tantrum for the slightest change. They may scream and lose control over seemingly minor things. This is not uncommon behavior in toddlers in general.

But if it seems to be directly related to routine changes and the tantrums are uncontrollable, it may be one of the common signs of autism. Routine is a sense of comfort for someone on the spectrum. When routines change without notice, they feel as though they are losing control, resulting in a meltdown. These outbursts are common signs of autism.

4. Social Difficulty

One of the most common signs of autism is in the individual’s social life. ASD people have difficulty with standard social settings. Small children may have trouble making friends. Or they may seem disinterested in making friends altogether. ASD people tend to prefer being alone and may find social settings like playtime or birthday parties to be stressful. Adults with ASD may be extremely and noticeably socially awkward.

Social settings can give people with ASD anxiety. They do not know how to act in these situations and prefer to avoid them. With very young children, you may notice groups of children playing together. But an ASD child will likely be the only one in the group who plays on their own. They tend to also play in their own world, separate from everyone else.

5. Hypersensitivity

Being hypersensitive to light, sounds, smells, and tastes is a common sign of autism. ASD people may overreact to loud noises or bright lights. It is usually unlike the reaction of most other people. This hypersensitivity, one of the very common signs of autism, can be for only one thing or all of the things mentioned above. It can also affect different people to different degrees.

While no one likes very loud noises, an ASD person may react wildly out of control to something like a balloon popping. What may be a momentary inconvenience for you can be a very damaging sound to someone with ASD. Do not dismiss your child if they seem to be overreacting to things that do not bother you. This is one of the common signs of autism many people are unaware of.

6. Difficulty Understanding Emotions

This is not a lack of empathy. It’s actually when someone is really not able to gauge the emotions of the person they are with. You may be very angry or sad, and an ASD person will be completely unaware. This is simply because the part of the brain that understands and regulates human emotions doesn’t work quite the same way as everyone else’s.

7. Learning Difficulties

Common signs of autism also stand out in education and development. People with ASD have difficulty learning new and simple things. Learning new rules and applying correct behaviors can be a challenge for someone with ASD. In young children, you may notice they can’t seem to grasp the concept of age-appropriate toys or puzzles. Learning may take a little longer for someone with ASD.

Many of these symptoms can seem common in young children. It can certainly be hard to tell if your child is suffering from ASD. The best thing is to follow your gut and regularly meet with a pediatrician. If you feel like something is off with your child, don’t hesitate to screen them for ASD. If you are unsure, you can always ask your child’s doctor, speak with the educators, and call Zinnia Health for help. They can help you determine what common signs of autism are and what is a regular part of development.

How to Diagnose Autism

If you suspect your child has ASD, you should bring them to a doctor for autism screening as soon as possible. Zinnia Health offers autism resources to help with the diagnosis and management of ASD. Zinnia Health can offer help through the latest innovation in autism screening: ADOS. Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) is a tool that can help professionals screen for and diagnose ASD sooner. Call Zinnia Health today to find out what you can do next if you suspect your child may be autistic.

Professionals can use ADOS to detect ASD in patients ranging from 12 months of age to adulthood. This ability to quickly and accurately screen a range of age groups makes for quick assessment. And in turn, quicker intervention. Early intervention is a key factor in the ability of an ASD patient to become high-functioning.

Zinnia Health’s professional team is trained in ADOS certification, which allows ASD families to receive answers sooner than ever before. An autism diagnosis comes through an observational study. There are certain milestones experts will look out for to determine whether or not your child has ASD.

What Causes Autism?

Autism is a spectrum, not a single disorder. It is very complex and affects different people in different ways. It is not known what the causes of autism are specifically. But experts believe it is a combination of factors, starting with genetics. Unfortunately, the specific genes that may cause autism or ASD or not yet known. Scientists continue to study ASD every day to find more links to its causes of it.

Experts also believe environment plays a role in ASD and how far along the spectrum someone is. Because it is so complex, it is not likely to have one single cause. A combination of many unknown factors can lead to autism. Experts have been able to identify some risk factors, but not all. For example, babies born to older parents with siblings or relatives with autism or metabolic imbalances are at higher risk of ASD.

How Do You Treat Autism?

Autism is not something you “treat.” It is a lifelong disorder that never goes away. Instead, people must learn how to manage ASD and how to improve their quality of life. Managing the common signs of autism or symptoms of ASD involves a combination of different therapies. The only thing we know for sure is that early intervention is very important.

The best outcomes are in children who start the correct therapy interventions between the ages of two and four. Studies continue to show that early intervention leads to the best long-term positive results.

When intervention begins, here are some of the ways experts help manage ASD:

1. Behavioral Therapy

Behavioral therapy, or Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA), encourages positive behaviors and discourages negative ones. ABA helps ASD patients discover which behaviors are acceptable in social settings and which are not. This therapy uses a reward system to help those with ASD understand which behaviors are appropriate.

2. Occupational Therapy

This is a more specific type of therapy. It helps improve social, cognitive, motor, sensory, and communication skills in ASD patients. These skills are an important part of life. Sadly, ASD patients can’t always regulate these skills on their own. Occupational therapy can help them learn how to use these skills appropriately.

3. Mental Health Therapy

According to the Indiana Resource Center for Autism, anxiety can be particularly difficult for ASD people. Mental health therapy is just as important as cognitive and behavioral therapy. ASD can cause anxiety and depression. It can be difficult for some people to live with. It can lead to aggressive or even dangerous behavior.

4. Family Therapy

ASD can affect all members of the household, not just the patient. Family therapy can help everyone learn more about ASD. Understanding ASD is the first step to managing it. ASD can also be stressful for supporting caregivers. Family therapy and individual therapy can be beneficial for you, too.

5. Individualized Therapy

No two cases of autism are the same, even if certain common signs of autism are the same. Each individual may require their own tailor-made treatment program. Because of the range of effects, there is no one answer to managing ASD correctly. The best management plans involve a combination of therapy programs. The plan should include individual management therapies that will work for that individual’s needs most. 

Call Zinnia Health today to find out what therapy programs are available to you. Zinnia can help you or your loved one lead a high-functioning life in spite of ASD.

What is Autism Exactly?

Autism is a neurological disorder. It involves a developmental brain impairment that affects cognitive, behavioral, and social development. It also affects communication and emotional development. Autism is a spectrum disorder. That means it can be worse for some people than others. It isn’t a specific disorder that is the same for everyone.

Though it does have many hallmarks, like the common signs of autism listed above, the disorder itself can affect individuals differently. It seems to occur in different races, different socioeconomic groups, and among different ethnicities, as well. But boys are more likely to develop ASD than girls.

Where Can I Go for Help with Autism?

If your loved one is suffering from ASD or you suspect they are, call Zinnia Health today. If you are in need of a diagnosis, Zinnia professionals can use ADOS to help study and observe your child.

ADOS offers a range of age and developmental stage-appropriate observation standards. This lets professionals assess your child quicker. Zinnia professionals are always at the forefront of research to make progress for all patients.

Once your child receives a diagnosis, you can begin the process of management of ASD and the common signs or symptoms of autism. Both you and your loved one can get the care you need and the therapy you need to move forward. Working together with your loved one’s individual needs. Zinnia Health can help you both find the answers you’ve been looking for.