Nov 9th 2022
Autism Spectrum Disorder is a developmental disability  that causes differences in the way the brain works. Individuals with autism may have difficulty with socialization, understanding emotions, and processing sensory information, such as loud noises and bright lights. ASD is not a disease or illness, people who have it will have it for their whole life. ASD is not something that can be ‘cured’, but people with autism often need help with some things that others may find easier .
Autism Spectrum Disorder is a relatively new term that covers a range of disabilities that were once treated as separate things, including Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome. Individuals with autism can show difficulty: 
Autism is not linked with a single cause. You cannot give your child ASD through bad parenting or vaccination , but it is thought to be something that can be inherited or come from environmental factors. The CDC estimates that 2.3% of 8-year-old children in the United States have ASD as of 2018 .
Individuals with autism live full lives, it just means that they might need help with some symptoms that they find particularly challenging. ASD is not something that you can ‘cure’ - an autism diagnosis is for life and people will require different amounts of support.
Before autism spectrum disorder was given as a formal diagnosis for all individuals with autism, there were other terms used to diagnose people. Some of these may still be helpful and used today, however you should always check how people want to refer to their disability. 
The signs and symptoms of ASD can vary massively depending on the person. There are early signs of autism that you may be able to notice in your child, along with other symptoms that affect adults and adolescents.
If the right support isn’t given to individuals with autism, then some more severe complications can begin to develop 
Diagnosing ASD is not as simple as a blood test. A screening by a health care professional needs to happen for diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder, and this can happen reliably from around 2 years of age . An autism assessment can be carried out on a child with the parent present, or you can get an adult diagnosis if you think you may have it.
When going for the assessment, they may ask :
As both child and adult ASD diagnoses rely on testimony from close relatives, it is important to take note of any symptoms you think your child is showing as they develop to help a potential diagnosis.
Developmental screening is more formal than just monitoring. It involves a healthcare professional taking a closer look at how your child is developing. They will usually ask you some questions about the language, movement, behavior, and emotions of your child.
Developmental screenings will usually take place during early childhood before 3 years old, however, they may be more frequent if they are believed to be at higher risk of ASD (for example if a sibling also has it) .
There is not a single identifiable cause of ASD; it is likely to be a combination of factors. However, there are certain risk factors that have shown a link to ASD:
There has been no evidence to suggest that vaccines, or commonly blamed vaccine components like thimerosal and mercury, have any link to the development of ASD in childhood or adolescence 
There is controversy surrounding the way some literature talks about autism. Some organizations suggest that we change our vocabulary to exclude words like ‘treatment’ as that should not be the goal with ASD . It is more fitting to refer to rehabilitative therapies as helping people and their families better manage ASD.
However, there are some medications available to help deal with specific symptoms.
The goal is not to ‘cure’ autism, rather it is to help individuals with autism deal with the challenges they face in day-to-day life and improve their quality of life and independence. There are extensive support measures that people with autism can use, and many will be able to care for themselves with only some minor adjustments to their life.
Educational support ensures that children with autism spectrum disorder do not fall behind and can still complete work like their peers. This can include things like structuring the day differently for the child to fit their needs and offering a 1-to-1 specialist teacher for familiarity. Specialist schools may be able to provide better support to those that need it 
High schools and universities can also offer tailored support to accommodate for certain needs, like allowing for extra time in exams.
These focus on developing skills that autistic people may struggle with, such as language skills or physical skills.
There are some ways that you can help as a parent of a child with autism: 
It may help to speak to local healthcare professionals or social service agencies when your child is approaching adulthood to know about the changes in support for them. Speaking to potential universities directly when applying can also help them settle into the next stage of their life easier.
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