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Autism Therapy in Northern New Jersey

Parents of children with autism naturally have many concerns, all of which can be skillfully addressed by the professionals at Psycho-Educational Associates, leading providers of autism support for families in Totowa, Little Falls Township, Woodland Park and the surrounding areas of New Jersey.

What is Autism?

Both ASD (autism spectrum disorder) and autism are terms that are both generally used to describe a complex group of brain development disorders. Children afflicted with autism experience various degrees of difficulty with verbal/nonverbal communication, social interaction, and repetitive behaviors. These children were historically categorized into subgroups based on the level of symptoms they were experiencing. Currently, the term “ASD” encompasses each and every autism disorder, regardless of its severity.

What Causes Autism?

At this point, researchers are not sure what causes ASD; however, research suggests that environment and genetics play a role in its development. Scientists have discovered many genes that are associated with ASD, and brain scans of people with the disorder have also shown numerous irregularities in the brain. Researchers have also theorized that ASD is associated with irregular serotonin and neurotransmitter levels that may directly result from hindrances during fetal development. Scientists have long disproved that the effects of different parenting styles play a role in the development of ASD.

Do Symptoms of Autism Change over Time?

Many children will find that their symptoms improve with age and continuous treatment. If a child with ASD regresses in language development before three years of age, research suggests that he/she is at an elevated risk for developing seizure-like activity in the brain, or epilepsy. It is not uncommon for children with ASD to develop behavioral problems or become depressed during their adolescent years. As people with ASD become older, they generally need ongoing support and services. Even so, some can lead independent, normal lives, provided they continue receiving treatment.

How is Autism Diagnosed?

Diagnosing ASD is a complex process because symptoms and severity can vary widely. It may also go undetected if it is mild enough, or it could be masked behind other handicaps. Possible early indications of ASD that could warrant an evaluation include:

  • The inability to point or babble after 1 year of age
  • The inability to speak single words by one year of age
  • The inability to speak phrases of two words by two years of age
  • Not responding when addressed by name
  • Regressing in social or language development
  • Trouble with making eye contact
  • Spending a great amount of time aligning objects or toys
  • Failure to socially engage
  • Never smiling

Later indications include:

  • Difficulty with building friendships
  • Hardships when starting or continuing conversations
  • Difficulty with social/imaginative play
  • Unusual, repetitive, or stereotyped language usage
  • Being excessively drawn to particular subjects or objects
  • Partaking in certain rituals or routines, and refusing to give them up
  • A perpetual pattern of self-stimulatory behaviors such as running in circles, rocking excessively, and hand/arm flapping

How Does Autism Affect People?

Each person that has autism is affected by it in a unique way. Many patients diagnosed with autism have extraordinary academic abilities, musical talent, and visual skills. Roughly 40% of people who have been diagnosed with autism exhibit either average or above average intellectual capacities. On the other hand, some people who fall on the autism spectrum are significantly disabled and must depend on others for daily living. One in four people living with ASD cannot communicate verbally, yet have the capacity to learn how to interact in other ways.

If you believe your child has autism, your first step should be to contact us. Here at Psycho-Educational Associates, we have experienced, caring professionals standing by ready to provide you with autism support and a variety of other services.