Autism in children is far more common than you think. In the United States, 1 in 54 children has autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
The prevalence of autism is far greater in boys. For boys, 1 in 34 are on the spectrum. Compare this to 1 in 144 girls identified with an autism spectrum disorder.
Autism can be reliably diagnosed as early as two years old. Read on to learn about the autism spectrum test. Explore the test’s purpose and how children can avoid complications with an early diagnosis.
What Is ASD?
ASD is a developmental condition detected in school-aged children. It adversely affects these children in many ways.
Autistic children struggle with verbal and nonverbal communication. They also have difficulty socializing with other children.
There are many signs and symptoms of ASD. Restricted or repetitive behaviors are one common sign.
Autistic children are commonly observed flapping their hands or walking on their toes. They take almost an obsessive interest in certain activities.
Loud noises or crowds overwhelm many autistic children. You may see a child with ASD get lost in certain lights or movements for an abnormal amount of time.
What Is the Autism Spectrum?
Autism is a wide-ranging condition. There are cases with varying degrees of severity. Not every autistic child has the same symptoms.
Some are able to normally socialize with others. Others require recurring medical and educational assistance to foster development.
There are different types of autism on the spectrum. Some children have Asperger’s syndrome. Another type is referred to as pervasive development disorder.
Only a medical diagnosis can confirm what type of autism that your child has. Extensive testing and evaluation are necessary to assess a patient’s condition.
What Is an Autism Spectrum Test?
This test is the method that doctors use to confirm a child is on the autism spectrum. There is no lab test or diagnostic equipment that confirms the existence of ASD.
Instead, a group of specialists observes the child for behavioral patterns. This group includes an occupational therapist, child psychologist, and speech-language pathologist.
First, they interview the parents to assess the child’s behavior at home. They are interested in what milestones have been reached. For example, the doctors ask if your child makes eye contact when they are talked to.
Next, the group of doctors works directly with your child. They make an assessment of the child’s cognitive and language abilities.
The observation also includes specific life skills. The doctors are interested in how your child feeds themselves, uses the bathroom, and gets dressed.
Medical professionals agree that early intervention is critical to long-term development. Diagnosing and treating autism early helps children increase concentration and develop social skills.
A Recap of Diagnosing Autism Spectrum Disorder
No parent wants to face the possibility that their child is autistic. However, it is far more common than you think. With the right medical attention, your child can develop and live a normal life.
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