Answering Your Questions About Autism
Autism is a spectrum disorder, which means that it affects children in different ways and to varying degrees. This neurodevelopmental disorder can affect a child’s communication, behavior, social interactions, and cognition. A great source of information about autism and how it might affect your child is a physician at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center in Las Vegas. If your child has been diagnosed with autism, you could request a physician referral to a specialist.
What are the signs of autism?
A child with autism may display developmental delays. In some cases, the child may initially develop typically but then display a regression. Young children who may have autism may not respond to their name, not point to objects or display interest, prefer to play by themselves, and display atypical body movements such as arm flapping. Some children with autism may resist physical contact like hugging, appear to be unaware of physical dangers, repeat words or phrases in a context that does not make sense, not speak at all, or have limited speech. These are just a few of the possible signs of autism. Parents can share with a pediatrician any concerns they may have about their child’s development.
Are there any treatments available?
There is no cure for autism, but there are evidence-based, effective therapies available to help children acquire important skills. The child’s healthcare team may recommend physical, occupational, or speech therapy. Children with behavioral issues, in particular, can benefit from applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy techniques. In some cases, medication may be helpful for managing symptoms such as anxiety.
How can I encourage good behavior?
Positive reinforcement is the gold standard for encouraging children with autism to swap negative behaviors for desirable ones. When your child does something desirable, reward him or her with specific praise. For example, you might say, “Carl, thank you for holding my hand as we crossed the street,” or “Rick, I like it when you ask nicely for juice.”
If you have more questions about autism , you can connect with a pediatrician at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center. We also offer Las Vegas-area residents comprehensive stroke care, emergency care, and heart health services. To request a physician referral, call our Consult-A-Nurse line at (702) 233-5300.