Prior to 2013, a diagnosis of Autism involved being classified into one of four different subcategories or subtypes including: autism spectrum disorder, Asperger’s syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, and pervasive developmental disorder- not otherwise specified. Today, all of these subtypes fall under the one umbrella term of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
The term spectrum, in autism spectrum disorder refers to the varied abilities, skills, and deficits that are often observed in individuals with ASD. Some of the more common challenges that people with ASD experience are social communication, and experiencing repetitive behaviors, also known as stereotypy.
The age that most professionals agree that Autism can be diagnosed by is age two. Luckily, as professionals, we have the resources and tools that can help diagnose a child with Autism very reliably at two years old, but it is also possible for a diagnosis earlier than two years as symptoms of Autism can begin to appear as early as 12 to 18 months. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services listed several early signs of ASD including:
- little to no eye contact
- difficulty with communication
- difficulty responding to adults efforts to gain attention
- flat affect and tone of voice
- difficulty with perspective taking
- repetitive behaviors (i.e. hand flapping)
- lack of join attention with others
- concentrated interest in specific things (i.e. trains, trading cards, princesses, animals)
- difficulty adjusting to changes in routine
- sleeping difficulties
If you have any further questions about early signs of ASD, you can search for “autism specialist near me” on google and reach out to a provider.
As previously stated, the Diagnostic and Statistical Model- 5 (DSM-5) listed four categories, also known as the four different “types” of autism. Now, the DSM lists three different levels of ASD all under the umbrella term “autism spectrum disorder”. Doctors can determine which “level” an individual falls under depending on how much support they require. Below are the three levels of autism as well as what types of symptoms you may see in an individual at each level.
Level 1: Requiring Support
- Difficulty initiating social interactions
- Decreased interest in social interactions
- Can speak clearly but struggles with two-way conversations with others
- Difficulty making friends
- Inflexibility that interferes with functioning in one or more context
- Difficulty transitioning between activities
- Difficulty with organization and planning
Level 2: Requiring Substantial Support
- Continuing social issues with supports in place
- Noticeable difficulty with verbal and nonverbal communication
- Limited initiation of social interaction
- Limited response to social interaction
- Interactions are limited to narrow interests
- Inflexible behavior
- Inability to cope with change
- Restrictive/ repetitive behaviors that are obvious to an observer
Level 3: Requiring Very Substantial Support
- Severe verbal and nonverbal communication issues (greatly impair functioning)
- Very limited initiation of social interactions
- Minimal response to social interaction
- Little to no verbal (intelligible) speech
- Uncommon methods of meeting social needs
- Only responds to very direct approaches for adult attention
- Extreme distress and difficulty with change
- Restricted or repetitive behaviors that significantly interfere with functioning in all areas of life
There are many different types of Autism spectrum therapies and treatments that aim to increase and decrease behaviors related to autism spectrum disorder. There is no “one size fits all” combination of therapies for Autism. Every individual on the spectrum has vastly different needs and therefore will need different types of interventions. The following is a list of the different therapies that are available for individuals (more specifically children) with autism spectrum disorder.
Applied Behavior Analysis
Floor time (Play Therapy)
Joint attention symbolic play engagement and regulation (JASPER)
Occupational Therapy (OT)
If you are looking for services for someone with ASD, you can do a quick google search “autism therapy near me” and speak to a professional on what may be the best options for your child.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Autism spectrum disorder. National Institute of Mental Health. Retrieved June 6, 2022, from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/autism-spectrum-disorders-asd
Meet the Experienced ABA Therapists at Capable Cubs ABA Therapy Center in Bergen County
At Capable Cubs, we believe that selecting an ABA therapy center near you is an incredibly critical decision with lasting consequences. As a leading ABA services provider in Bergen County, we encourage parents to always ask questions and evaluate our services and therapists without any hesitation.
Our team of highly trained ABA clinicians includes experienced and qualified BCBAs and RBTs who specialize in combining various ABA methods for providing the most effective treatment to your child with ASD. We create a structured roadmap for every child, including extensive initial assessments, comprehensive ABA treatment plans, critical learning milestones and effective discharge plans to successfully transition out of our care. Our goal is to help your child build the skills needed to increase independence, build meaningful relationships, and connect with their community.
Select an ABA therapy center that works best for your family’s priorities, needs, and goals. Get in touch with the Autism specialists at Capable Cubs. Call 201-786-6280 or contact us online to learn more about our quick intake process.