Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that encompasses both social and behavioural difficulties. These difficulties can range from gifted to challenging, with some needing more help than others. If you or someone you know are questioning behavioural indications of a friend or family member, the below blog can help you identify symptoms and next steps for assessing Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Does my child have Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?
Although everyone with ASD shares a similar range of symptoms, each presentation is unique, with particular differences often evident between males and females. It is important to not place too much emphasis on only one or two characteristics as ‘guaranteed signs of ASD,’ as in many cases it is possible for individuals to learn how to compensate for social impairments.
What should I look out for?
Younger children may struggle with imaginative and pretend play, engaging socially with same-age peers, making appropriate eye contact and understanding emotions in themselves and others.
Many children also show specific sensory preferences; including being troubled by loud noises or visually stimulating environments, insisting on only eating a narrow range of food textures or types, being fussy with clothing and shoes, responding differently to temperature changes or pain, and discomfort with internal sensations related to hunger or toileting.
Children may have ‘meltdowns’ or excessive tantrums with no obvious trigger, or in response to very minor situations. In many cases, these meltdowns, sensory preferences and social difficulties result in changes to how families operate simply to avoid challenging situations.
What should I do if I think my child may have ASD?
Although few parents are looking to ‘label’ their child, it is very important to conduct an objective psychological assessment to determine if a diagnosis is warranted. An accurate diagnosis not only determines what support may be available for your child at school or beyond but also helps others to better understand why your child may behave differently and how best to respond to them.
Comprehensive ‘Gold Standard’ assessments of Autism Spectrum Disorder include taking detailed and specific historical information, administering a social and behavioural evaluation (ADOS-2), and standardised questionnaires to clarify your child’s unique pattern of difficulties. It is important to note that other disorders (such as ADHD, anxiety, intellectual disability, speech disorders, and learning difficulties) are commonly associated with ASD.
Assessment Squared can conduct autism diagnostic assessments to assist with the diagnosis for your child. If you are seeking help, please call 1300 900 504 or click here to arrange a confidential discussion.