Autism spectrum disorder is far from a single, definitive condition; instead it refers to several related but distinct issues of varying levels of severity. Disorders like asperger’s syndrome and PDD-NOS were once seen as stand-alone conditions, yet are now understood to be part of the autism spectrum disorder family. This disorder can produce an array of effects on speech, language development, social relationships, and more, which is why our specialized treatment for those with ASD exists. We strive to provide quality care that will facilitate progress in all these areas.
Recent estimates suggest that 1% of the global population suffers from autism. In the United States, this figure is even more striking. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a staggering 1 in 54 children will be diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. To improve their lives, it’s imperative to gain an understanding of ASD and create evidence-based plans of care tailored to each individual’s needs.
At Northeast Health Services, we provide clients with specialized mental health care options that include autism spectrum disorder treatment. Our range of services is tailored to your individual needs and can cover diagnosis, assessment, individual therapy, family support, and more. Call us today at 508.794.8711 for a personalized consultation about how our high-quality programs can help you or someone close to you.
What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?
From the onset of their childhood, autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other developmental conditions can significantly impede a person’s physical, social, mental, and behavioral development. What makes these growth disorders especially challenging is that they are typically life-long in nature.
Although there is great variability in the way that each person with autism develops, all individuals living on the spectrum possess unique strengths and face distinct difficulties. It’s also common for those along this continuum to experience heightened sensory sensitivity or medical issues like:
- Gastrointestinal (GI) issues
- Mental health challenges like anxiety and sleep disorders
At the age of 18 months, autistic symptoms can already be recognized and diagnosed. However, developmental delays are usually more evident when a person is two or three years old. Early diagnosis of autism is key for successful treatment outcomes.
Autism Spectrum Disorder Signs and Symptoms
Autism is a spectrum, so the signs and symptoms of autism can fluctuate greatly. In some cases, behavioral and developmental differences may become apparent in infancy. For others, an autism diagnosis might not be reached until adulthood as it’s often mistaken for social or generalized anxiety.
Nevertheless, there are numerous indicators that parents and caregivers can recognize in babies which could indicate potential issues with development down the road. It should also be noted that these indications may present themselves at birth yet usually take shape during toddler years or beyond.
Autism in babies signs include:
- No reaction to their name by the time they are one year old
- Hand flapping
- Poor nonverbal communication
- No pretend play
- Poor eye contact
At two or three years old, the developmental delays associated with autism spectrum disorder tend to become increasingly evident.
Signs of autism in toddlers include the following:
- Walking on tiptoes
- Speech delays or remaining nonverbal
- Hand flapping
- Sensory sensitivity (sensitive to sounds, smells, or textures)
- Poor eye contact
- Difficulty engaging in play with others
- Obsession with routine
- Extreme anxiety
- Fixation on an object or toy
Symptoms of autism in adults include:
- Fixation on one or two favorite subjects or topics
- Difficulty reading social cues and interacting in social situations
- Poor emotional regulation
- Difficulty relating to and building relationships with others
- Difficulty understanding jokes, sarcasm, figurative language
- Difficulty accepting change
- Fixation on subjects with complex details
- Sensory sensitivity
- Flat affect
- Developing and following strict routines
If you or someone dear to you is showing any signs and symptoms of autism, Northeast Health Services’ ASD treatment can aid in the journey. Our autism spectrum disorder services are available for clients throughout the Boston metropolitan area and beyond. Let us help create a successful path forward with our specialized therapists.
What Causes Autism Spectrum Disorder?
Autism spectrum disorder is a multifaceted mental health condition, and while it’s impossible to pinpoint an exact cause, research has suggested that genetic, environmental, and biological components are contributing factors. While the complexity of autism can be daunting at times, understanding how these elements come together may help us understand this complex condition further.
A person’s risk for autism is increased by several factors, including:
- Family history – People with an immediate family member on the autism spectrum, like a parent or sibling, are more likely to have autism themselves.
- Birth complications – Low birth weight, premature birth, and other birth complications increase the risk of developmental differences.
- Genetic mutations – Genetic differences such as fragile X syndrome can increase a person’s risk of developing ASD.
- Infections and illnesses – Newborn jaundice and some viral infections have been linked to autism spectrum disorder.
- 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.
No matter the root cause of autism, we are committed to providing personalized treatment and support options. Our experienced clinical staff specializes in evidence-based approaches that work with each individual or family unit to create an ASD plan tailored just for them. We understand how crucial it is to have a specialized course of action, one which takes into consideration their unique needs and goals.
ASD Treatment Options
Navigating through the multitude of treatment options for ASD can be overwhelming. To ensure that you or your loved one receive a program tailored to individual needs, it is important to become informed about different therapies and treatments available. Thankfully, there are numerous resources with knowledge on which modalities are most successful among individuals diagnosed with ASD. With the expanding concentration of healthcare professionals dedicated to research in this field, discovering the best possible therapy has never been easier.
It is essential for clients and their families to join forces with medical experts in order to decide the best path forward since every individual’s needs are dissimilar. With concerted effort and commitment, it can be possible to make remarkable headway in comprehending and managing ASD so that a life of purpose, development, and satisfaction is possible.
Although autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has yet to be completely cured, researchers have developed several therapies to help those with autism cope with their symptoms and lead the most fulfilling life possible. Treatment options may 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.
- Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) therapy – This is a non-drug, non-invasive treatment that uses magnetic pulses to stimulate certain brain areas. TMS is being explored for its potential in diagnosing and treating autism spectrum disorder.
- 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.
- Speech therapy – People with developmental differences may have difficulty 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.
With the right care and therapeutic support, our clients can live fulfilling lives.
Discover ASD Treatment in Massachusetts from Northeast Health Services
Northeast Health Services is passionately committed to helping individuals in our community gain access to life-transforming mental health care. We provide comprehensive services—from diagnosis and evaluation to individual therapy, family support, and beyond—for those diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Contact us today at 508.794.8711 or reach out online to find out how we can help you achieve the peace of mind you deserve.