What does it mean if my child has autism disorder or is considered on the autistic spectrum?

A child diagnosed with a particular disorder is difficult news for any parent. Often, it is hard to know exactly what that disorder means or how it will show in a particular child.  Autism has many “faces” and can look very different from one child to another.  We have come up with a few Quick Facts to help you and your family learn a little more about what it really is.

1.  What is Autism?

  • By definition, Autism “is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life and affects a person’s ability to communicate and interact with others” (AutismSociety.org).

2.  Who does Autism affect?

  • This developmental disorder affects 1 in 88 children in the United States.  Boys are much more likely to be diagnosed, affecting 1 in 54 boys.  It is considered the fastest-growing developmental disease in the US.

3.  What are the symptoms of Autism?

  • Symptoms tend to emerge in children when they are babies, typically between 12-18 months. Some infants and toddlers begin to develop normally until the second year of life when they lose skills and develop autism.  This loss of skills is considered regression, meaning the child is backtracking from what they could once do.

4.  What can be done about Autism?

  • There is no medication available to treat Autism.  However, there are medications that may help offset the symptoms and help someone with this diagnosis function in society.

5.  What is a spectrum disorder?

  • A spectrum disorder essentially means there are many symptoms or signs of a disorder that many look different from person to person.  Autism is considered a spectrum disorder because of the many different symptoms or skills that may cause more impairment in one person than in others.

The Broach School offers Foundations, a special needs program for students on the autistic spectrum and other developmental disorders. Schedule an Open House Tour to learn more.