As the name suggests, autism spectrum disorder (ASD) does not describe a single, easy-to-define mental health condition but rather several related but distinct conditions that can vary in severity. Conditions once considered separate disorders, such as pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), Asperger’s, and autism, are now regarded as related to the autism spectrum. Like other developmental disorders, autism spectrum disorder can impact people in various ways, from speech and language to social skills. Our autism spectrum disorder treatment in Seattle can help.
It’s estimated that autism impacts around 1% of the world’s population. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that one in every fifty-four children will be diagnosed with ASD here in America alone. Comprehension about this disorder is essential, as well as creating care plans based on evidence to enhance the lives of people with ASD.
At LightHeart Associates, our autism spectrum disorder treatment center provides clients with an ASD treatment covering various services, including diagnosis, assessment, individual therapy, family support, and more. Call 425.800.5688 to learn more about how our ASD therapy can help you or a loved one.
Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorder
Autism spectrum disorder is an enduring, formative disability that can impede physical, social, psychological, and behavioral growth. Often emerging during developmental stages, autism can be a long-term struggle for those affected.
Every person with autism develops differently, has different strengths, and faces other challenges. Autism spectrum disorder is often accompanied by sensory sensitivity and medical problems such as:
- Mental health challenges like anxiety and sleep disorders
- Gastrointestinal (GI) issues
Autism is usually diagnosed early in life. Developmental delays are typically noticeable when a person is two or three years old, but autism can be diagnosed in children as young as 18 months.
Signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder
Autism spectrum disorder has many signs that might become apparent during infancy or go unnoticed until later in life. Many people struggling with ASD are unaware they have the disorder and could mistakenly attribute their symptoms to social anxiety or some other condition.
Symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder in Babies
Signs of autism in babies include:
- No reaction to their name by the time they are one year old
- Poor eye contact
- Poor nonverbal communication
- Hand flapping
- No pretend play
There are several signs of autism that parents and caregivers can identify in infants. Remember that babies can exhibit these symptoms but typically develop into their toddler years.
Symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder in Toddlers
Signs of autism in toddlers include:
- Speech delays or remaining nonverbal
- Hand flapping
- Walking on tiptoe
- Poor eye contact
- Difficulty engaging in play with others
- Fixation on an object or toy
- Obsession with routine
- Extreme anxiety
- Sensory sensitivity—meaning being sensitive to sounds, smells, or textures
By the time a person reaches the age of two or three years old, the developmental delays common in ASD are usually more noticeable.
Symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder in Adults
Symptoms of autism in adults include:
- Difficulty reading social cues and interacting in social situations
- Difficulty relating to and building relationships with others
- Difficulty understanding jokes, sarcasm, figurative language
- Fixation on one or two favorite subjects or topics
- Fixation on subjects with complex details
- Poor emotional regulation
- Difficulty accepting change
- Developing and following strict routines
- Sensory sensitivity
- Flat affect
If you or someone you love exhibits any signs and symptoms associated with autism, our ASD treatment can help. At LightHeart Associates, we offer autism spectrum disorder treatment to our clients in Seattle and beyond.
What Causes Autism Spectrum Disorder?
With autism, there is no single source. Instead, it’s a mix of genetic, biological, and environmental aspects that may increase the probability someone will be diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.
A few factors that increase a person’s risk for autism include:
- Family history – People with an immediate family member on the autism spectrum, like a parent or sibling, are more likely to have autism themselves.
- Genetic mutations – Genetic differences such as fragile X syndrome can increase a person’s risk of developing ASD.
- Birth complications – Low birth weight, premature birth, and other birth complications increase the risk of developmental differences.
- Exposure to certain chemicals during pregnancy – Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is a common cause of intellectual and developmental delays. Certain infections, medicines, heavy metals, and other toxins may also impact a person developing in utero.
- Infections and illnesses – Newborn jaundice and some viral infections have been linked to autism spectrum disorder.
Regardless of what causes autism, we’re here to provide autism spectrum disorder treatment and support to those who need it. Our teams of knowledgeable clinicians at our autism spectrum disorder treatment centers expertly specialize in evidenced-based autism treatments, collaborating with each person or family to create an individualized ASD treatment plan catered specifically for them.
ASD Treatment Options
For those who have been recently diagnosed with ASD, starting a treatment plan can be daunting. With a wide variety of options, it is essential to thoroughly research the most appropriate program for you or your family member. Arm yourself with information about possible treatments and approaches to decide which treatment plan works best for each person. As more healthcare professionals focus their studies on ASD issues, numerous valuable resources are offered that can provide insights into what types of therapies may be most effective in various scenarios.
Clients and families must work closely with their medical team to determine the best plan for them, as every person’s needs are unique. With hard work and dedication, it is possible to make great strides in understanding and treating ASD to create a life of meaning, progress, and fulfillment.
While there is no cure for autism spectrum disorder, experts have developed some therapies to help people with autism manage their symptoms and achieve the highest quality of life possible. Treatment for autism spectrum disorder might include:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) – CBT and other behavioral therapies can help people understand their developmental differences, learn positive behaviors, and cope with the emotional impact of neurodivergence.
- Speech therapy – People with developmental differences may struggle with speech or language. Speech therapy can help them develop an understanding of figurative language, conversational etiquette, and how to remain engaged with a conversational partner.
- Play therapy – Play and social interaction can be challenging for children with autism. Play therapy allows people with autism to play in a controlled, supportive environment.
- Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) therapy – This non-drug, noninvasive treatment uses magnetic pulses to stimulate specific brain areas. TMS is being explored for its potential in diagnosing and treating autism spectrum disorder.
- Proper care and therapeutic support from our ASD therapy can help our clients live fulfilling lives.
Find Autism Spectrum Disorder Treatment in Seattle at LightHeart Associates
We offer effective care to people diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, from diagnosis and assessment to individual therapy, family support, and more. At LightHeart Associates, we are dedicated to helping people in our communities access life-changing mental health care. Contact LightHeart Associates today at 425.800.5688 or reach out online to learn what our ASD treatment can do for you.