What is autism?
In our Princeton, NJ office our team of child psychiatrists are often asked to explain what autism is to parents. Autism, also called autism spectrum disorder, is a group of complex neurodevelopmental disorders that affect behavior, communication, and social interaction. Autism is a “spectrum disorder” because there is a wide range of types, symptoms, and disabilities.
What are the symptoms of autism?
The autism symptoms range from mild to severe; they affect how a person communicates, interacts with others, and behaves.
Some common signs and symptoms of autism include:
- Little or no eye contact
- Not looking at objects someone is pointing to
- Not listening to people when they talk
- Difficulty relating to people
- Inability to express feelings or understand other people’s feelings
- Facial expressions or movements that don’t match words
- Problem with back and forth conversation
- Repetitive behaviors
- Obsession with topics or objects
- Trouble adapting to a new routine
- Overreact to certain smells, noise, or touch
Pediatricians screen every child for developmental delays at their well-child visits. If your child isn’t meeting their developmental milestones, your pediatrician may suggest consulting with a child psychiatrist to further evaluate your child.
How is autism diagnosed?
Dr. Memon is an experienced child psychiatrist and performs a comprehensive evaluation to diagnose autism. During an assessment, he asks detailed questions about:
- Medical history
- Family history
- Birth history
To diagnose a person with autism, they must meet specific criteria, as noted in the Diagnostic and Statistical Mental Disorders (DSM-5) created by the American Psychiatric Association.
For an autism diagnosis, a person must have difficulty interacting and communicating with other people, restricted interests, repetitive behaviors, and symptoms that affect their ability to function normally at school, work, or other areas of life.
How is autism treated?
Dr. Memon takes an integrative and holistic approach to care and develops personalized treatment plans based on the severity of symptoms, function, and disability. Treatment may include:
- Applied Behavioral Analysis
- Speech Therapy
- Physical Therapy
- Occupational Therapy
- Medication Management
- Social Skills Training
- Dietary Changes
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
You child may also required an individualized education plan(IEP) from the school to help your child achieve their full potential. Children with Autism can also often have Anxiety and ADHD. When the ADHD and anxiety of children with Autism is treated, it can lead to significant improvement in their functioning.
For scheduling an autism consultation you start by calling us at 609-601-4161