Autism

Let Life Quality Resources help you or your child lead a more comfortable life with fewer barriers to maximize potential.

 

Treatment

The clinical staff at Life Quality Resources have years of experience working with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and will help you and your family gain the understanding and knowledge needed to lead the healthy and balanced life that you desire.

At Life Quality Resources, we will personalize a treatment plan that can draw from multiple treatment options (see Services tab).

 

About Autism Spectrum Disorder

The result of a neurological disorder that affects the functioning of the brain, autism is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life. From the beginning, typically-developing infants are generally social.  They respond to voices and other stimuli with inquisitive gazes, smiles and the occasional explosive cries. Their response indicates a general interest in the world around them, and continues through adolescence and adulthood as we constantly evolve in age and understanding. In contrast, persons with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) generally exhibit a lack of this responsiveness to the world around them, even from a very early age. Most children with ASD exhibit the disorder as babies, having extreme difficulty with the mutual exchange of human interaction, avoiding eye-contact and resisting the attention that parents provide to their newborn. Research shows that there is a strong attachment between children with ASD and their parents, it can just be difficult to “read” based on expectations of how typically developing children react to their parents’ attention and affection.

Social cues and consequences are often misinterpreted or not realized by a person with ASD. Smiles, winks, grimaces, etc. seem to have little meaning. To compound the difficulty with social situations, people with ASD have trouble seeing other persons’ perspectives. Most 5-year-olds have a grasp of the idea that other people have information, feelings, and goals that they don’t necessarily have, which in turn allows them to predict and understand other persons’ actions and reactions. A person with ASD lacks this understanding.

When placed in an overwhelming environment or strange situation, it is common for people with ASD to have difficulty regulating or controlling their emotional response. This can lead to some less desirable behaviors like pulling their own hair, biting themselves, and other self-injurious behaviors. Sometimes these behaviors can be directed towards other people or objects, causing harm to people or property.

The most common difficulty that people with ASD share is the ability to communicate in a typical fashion. There are numerous ways that this is manifested including underdeveloped language, no language (mute), repetitive language, echolalia (mimicking another’s speech), or an overdeveloped vocabulary without the ability to sustain meaningful conversation. Sarcasm and other figurative uses of speech are confusing when applied in conversation. As people with ASD grow older they usually gain an awareness of these difficulties with language and understanding. This awareness can be comforting to them, or lead to an increased level of anxiety and depression.
Another commonly shared characteristic among the ASD population is sensitivity to sensory stimuli. When people’s perceptions are accurate, it is a great source for learning information about the world, but when that information is faulty (as is often the case with ASD), the world can become a confusing place. Many people with ASD are overly reactive or even painfully sensitive to certain sounds, textures, smells, or tastes. This is due to the inability of the ASD brain to balance the senses properly.

 

Causes

The exact causes of autism are not completely known, but there are several factors that the majority of cases have in common. A genetic predisposition seems to be the predominant risk factor. Researchers are actively searching for the actual gene or combination of genes associated with autism that is thought to be passed from parent to child. Neurophysiological and other environmental factors seem to play a vital role in the development of autism as well. Disruptions in the development of the brain in utero and in early infancy appear to account for the physical abnormalities that are found in several regions of the brain of the autistic individual. There are several other theories on the cause of autism such as abnormal timing in brain growth, inappropriate antibody production, and a connection between autism and the MMR vaccine given to children around the 12 to 15-month range. These theories have yet to be substantiated by research evidence.