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Published on October 14, 2013

Putting Autism in Focus

October 14, 2013

autismAs the number of children diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) continues to grow, more and more parents face the daily responsibilities of raising a child with an ASD.

Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) refers collectively to three different diagnoses: Autism, Asperger’s Disorder, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified. ASDs are complex neurological disorders that affect three main areas: social interactions, communication, and restricted or repetitive patterns of behavior, interests or activities. It is considered a spectrum disorder, meaning there is a wide range of abilities and areas of difficulty. Children with the same diagnosis may have very different needs.

In general, children with ASDs may experience:

  • Delayed development of speech and communication skills
  • Inability to read nonverbal social cues
  • A strong interest in an activity or topic that may not be shared by peers

“Children with ASDs may struggle with making and keeping friends,” says Karen Erkfritz, PhD, child clinical psychologist at KishHealth System’s Child Development Clinic. “Interventions that directly teach important social skills can improve peer relationships.”

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