Some Questions & Answers
1 in 54 children in the United States receives a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Boys have a 24% higher chance of receiving an autism diagnosis than girls.
Not all individuals with autism have an intellectual disability. However, 31% of children with autism have an intellectual disability, with 25% falling within borderline range. It is reported that 44% of individuals with ASD fall between the average to high-IQ range.
Early detection in as early as 18 months can lead to better outcomes for children diagnosed with autism. If there is concern, it is advised to notify your primary care physician (PCP).
Today’s diagnostic tests identify core symptoms of ASD. These symptoms range from mild to severe. Based on severity, a referral may be provided for Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy to treat symptoms.
Prior to the approval of ABA therapy, a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) or Behavior Analyst must conduct a thorough evaluation, including questionnaires with parents and other stakeholders (parents, paraprofessionals, etc.) and a direct observation that can range anywhere from 4-8 hours and may span across multiple days and environments. Read more about the evaluation process here.
It is important to follow doctors’ recommendations. Although ABA is an evidence-based treatment for ASD symptoms, other therapies such as Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) and Occupational therapy (OT) can provide a more comprehensive approach.
The only research-based cause linked to autism (not exclusively) is genetics. Research demonstrates a higher likelihood of ASD in children born to parents (mother or father) who are over 35. ASD has also been found to occur within siblings, especially twins.
There are various “cures” or “treatments” for autism outside of those recommended by research. Some of these include Facilitated Communication, Hydrotherapy, Educational Kinesiology, Dolphin therapy, and dietary restrictions. These questionable practice may do more harm than good.
There are federal and state laws that mandate coverage of therapy for individuals with autism. Please refer to our blog to read more about these laws.
Research tells us that ABA leads to higher satisfaction and quality of life in individuals with autism and their families. ABA therapy targets deficits and replaces harmful behavior (e.g., self-injurious behavior, elopement, physical aggression, PICA) with communication skills using antecedent strategies and postive reinforcement above all else. If you do not feel comfortable with the services you are receiving, please bring your concerns to your BCBA. If actions are not taken, reach out to your PCP.
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