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Autism

How to help your child with autism

Approximately 1 in 54 children in the US is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to the CDC. Autism refers to different neurodevelopmental disorders that can affect a child’s communication, behaviors and social interactions. Since the symptoms of autism may vary from child to child it isn’t always easy to determine if the behaviors your child is displaying is a sign of autism or simply a passing phase. Most symptoms will appear between the ages of 18 months and 3 years old. At first, you may notice subtle symptoms such as,

Not maintaining eye contact
Not responding to their name
Not engaging or interacting with others
Not showing interest in objects or pointing to objects
 

Milder forms of autism often get overlooked during a child’s younger years and may not even be obvious until adulthood; however, some parents also notice issues once their child starts school. At that point their teachers may bring these behaviors to a parent’s attention,

Rocking, fidgeting or having trouble sitting still
Unusual responses or facial expressions
Trouble interacting with other children
Challenges with imaginative play
Avoids others and plays alone
Avoids physical contact such as hugging
Delayed speech
Displays flat affect when talking
Difficulty understanding others’ emotions and feelings
Needs to follow routine (And gets extremely upset by changes in routine)
Shows an obsessive interest in certain subjects or toys
 

Some of these symptoms could be mistaken for a child who may have social anxiety or feel extremely shy; however, a child with an autism spectrum disorder will have serious difficulties and challenges in day-to-day life because of their symptoms. This is why an early diagnosis is key to your child’s success.

Treating Autism

While there is no cure for ASD there are a variety of behavioral and educational interventions and therapies that our pediatrician Dr. Sangita Nagpal can recommend. Children with ASD respond effectively to reward systems, which is why Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapy may be ideal for many children with ASD. Of course, having a pediatrician that specializes in diagnosing and treating autism is crucial, as we can provide you with a variety of treatment options and behavioral approaches that can help shift your child’s mental and psychological processes for lifelong success.

While medication may be prescribed to address issues with attention, irritability and mood swings, medication will not address many of the symptoms of autism and should be used in conjunction with other treatment options and therapies.

If your child is displaying symptoms of autism, or if you want to learn more about the treatment options we can provide your child with autism then call Coastal Healthcare at
  (732) 370-9600 to schedule an appointment with us.

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