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How Autism Is Defined Based Worldwide

To define what Autism is and to diagnose it, doctors from most countries use guidelines in a manual called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or what is commonly called the DSM-5. 

This manual is published by the American Psychiatric Association but is used by much of the world (R1). It was first published in 1952. The latest fifth edition was prepared in 2013 by a group of more than 160 world-renowned clinicians and researchers and cost approximately $20-$25 million United States Dollars. 

To receive an official diagnosis of ASD, the child must have certain behavior characteristics listed in the manual (R2). To summarize, the child must have the following three symptoms:

1. Inability to communicate effectively with others; for example, difficulty participating in a conversation as well as not being able to express their interests and how they feel.

2. Lacking the necessary nonverbal behaviors needed when communicating with other. This refers to the eye contact, body language, and facial expressions that are used during interactions with others.

3. Difficulty in developing and maintaining relationships.

 

They must also have two of the following four symptoms:

1. Repetitive speech, body movements, or ways of using objects. Examples include repeatedly saying the same phrases, rocking back-and-forth, and lining up toys.

2. Insist on doing things their way, otherwise, they will become very upset. Not flexible even with small changes to their routines.

3. Have an overly strong interest in particular objects or things.

4. Too sensitive or not sensitive enough to sensory input (e.g. to pain or temperature) or has peculiar interest in particular sounds, lights, textures, etc..  

Example Of Child With ASD
(Keep in mind that there is a wide variety ranging from low to high functioning)

How is ASD diagnosed?

To define what Autism is and to diagnose it, doctors from most countries use guidelines in a manual called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or what is commonly called the DSM-5.  

This manual is published by the American Psychiatric Association but is used by much of the world (R1). It was first published in 1952. The latest fifth edition was prepared in 2013 by a group of more than 160 world-renowned clinicians and researchers and cost approximately $20-$25 million United States Dollars.  

To receive an official diagnosis of ASD, the child must have certain behavior characteristics listed in the manual (R2). To summarize, the child must have the following three symptoms:

1. Inability to communicate effectively with others; for example, difficulty participating in a conversation as well as not being able to express their interests and how they feel. 

2. Lacking the necessary nonverbal behaviors needed when communicating with others. This refers to the eye contact, body language, and facial expressions that are used during interactions with others. 

3. Difficulty in developing and maintaining relationships.

 

 

They must also have two of the following four symptoms:

1. Repetitive speech, body movements, or ways of using objects. Examples include repeatedly saying the same phrases, rocking back and forth, and lining up toys.

2. Insist on doing things their way, otherwise, they will become very upset. Not flexible even with small changes to their routines.

3. Have an overly strong interest in particular objects or things.

4. Too sensitive or not sensitive enough to sensory input (e.g. to pain or temperature) or has peculiar interest in particular sounds, lights, textures, etc..   

 

(R1) https://www.psychiatry.org/psychiatrists/practice/dsm/feedback-and-questions/frequently-asked-questions#:~:text=The%20Diagnostic%20and%20Statistical%20Manual,the%20diagnosis%20of%20mental%20disorders.

(R2) https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/actearly/autism/case-modules/diagnosis/08-closer-look.html

Download the 5 minute self questionnaire to determine if you need to bring your child to see a doctor for a formal assessment.

The Diagnosing Process
 

Diagnosing ASD is usually a two-step process. You will first see a pediatrician who will carefully observe your child as well as ask you questions about your child's development and behavior. You may also be asked to fill out a questionnaire. If the pediatrician feels more testing is needed, you will make another appointment to see some specialists like a speech and occupational therapist. They will ask your child to perform certain tasks to determine what they are capable of doing. Using this information, they can then determine the cognitive development of your child and compare that to the development of a typical child at the same age.

Some Of The Questions The Doctors May Ask You

On Your First Visit Include:

Do they do any unusual or repetitive behaviors?

Do they have difficulty making eye contact?

Do they interact with people and share their interests with others?

Do they respond when someone calls them?

Do they react in a peculiar manner to light, noise, or temperature?

Do they tend to easily get annoyed or angry?

Reference:

https://www.webmd.com/brain/autism/how-do-doctors-diagnose-autism

             Some Early Warning Signs To Look Out For

 

Does not want to make eye contact

By 9 months: Does not respond to their name. Does not show others facial expressions like happy, sad, angry, and surprised.

By 12 months: Does not use many gestures like waving or pointing. Little or no babbling.

By 15 months: Does not share things they are interested in with others

By 24 months: Very few or no meaningful two-word phrases initiated by the child (not imitating). Does not notice other’s feelings like when they are hurt or sad.

Also notice any behaviors that may seem unusual such as:

Being overly upset by small changes in their surroundings or routines

Doing repetitive motions like flapping their hands, spinning objects or themselves, rocking their body

Repeating words or phrases excessively

Lining up objects or toys and is upset when the order is not same

Playing with toys only in one particular way

Reference:

https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/signs.html

https://www.autismspeaks.org/signs-autism

Find Out Now If Your Child Needs Further Evaluation

If your child is between 16 and 30 months of age, you can take a 5 minute questionnaire online now and figure out the results immediately. The results will determine if your child requires further evaluation by a doctor. 

This questionnaire is called The Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers, Revised (M-CHAT-R):

  • It consists of 20 yes–no questions about your child’s behavior. 

  • It takes an estimated 5 minutes to take the test. 

  • If the child tests positive on the M-CHAT-R, there is a set of follow up questions that will help better determine if an evaluation is needed. 

 

The questionnaire along with how to determine the results can be downloaded by clicking on the pdf file here

 

 

You can also go to the M-CHAT-R website at the link below: 

https://mchatscreen.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/MCHAT-R_F_Taiwan-Version_20181105.pdf

 

If you require assistance in how to use the form, please email us.

 

What Causes Autism (ASD)?

My response to that question is it doesn’t matter. There is no conclusive evidence that demonstrates what causes ASD. As I have recommended to parents in the past, save your energy and focus it on teaching your child instead.

 

Another important matter is to not play the blame game. No conclusive evidence says the child’s father caused the ASD or the mother caused it. Even if there was conclusive evidence that said one of the parents caused it, as a therapist, that information does not factor in anything I do to help that child. Trying to assign blame to one of the parents will take away the energy that can be better spent on teaching the child. Blaming will only hurt the entire family at a time when everybody needs to pull together with good positive energy.

 
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