What is Autism? What are the symptoms and treatments of Autism? And how can AC Cares assist a family in dealing with symptoms of Autism?

Autism, now known as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), is a developmental disability or delay. Autism is not fixed but is considered to be a spectrum due to its varying severity. There is usually nothing atypical about how people with ASD look. Recognized from early childhood, people with ASD may communicate, behave, and learn in different ways. These differences are coupled with restricted and repetitive patterns of thought and behavior, usually resulting in a set of routines and rituals.

According to the CDC, Children or adults with ASD might:

  • not point at objects to show interest (for example, not point at an airplane flying over)
  • not look at objects when another person points at them
  • have trouble relating to others or not have an interest in other people at all
  • avoid eye contact and want to be alone
  • have trouble understanding other people’s feelings or talking about their own feelings
  • prefer not to be held or cuddled, or might cuddle only when they want to
  • appear to be unaware when people talk to them, but respond to other sounds
  • be very interested in people, but not know how to talk, play, or relate to them
  • repeat or echo words or phrases said to them, or repeat words or phrases in place of normal language
  • have trouble expressing their needs using typical words or motions
  • not play “pretend” games (for example, not pretend to “feed” a doll)
  • repeat actions over and over again
  • have trouble adapting when a routine changes
  • have unusual reactions to the way things smell, taste, look, feel, or sound
  • lose skills they once had (for example, stop saying words they were using)

Since there is no medical test to diagnose Autism Spectrum Disorder, the diagnostic process can be arduous. Presentation of ASD can vary significantly. Some people with ASD may need a great deal of support in their daily lives, while others may function well independently. Asperger’s Syndrome is often noted as a “high functioning” Autism Spectrum Disorder and frequently goes undiagnosed. An ASD diagnosis is considered reliable by age two. However, many do not receive a final diagnosis until much later in life. This delay means many do not get the early help necessary.

Autism is characterized by atypical social skills, variability with verbal and nonverbal communication, unusual and repetitive action, or limited interests. These characteristics range in severity. Those with autism may seek isolation. However, many do desire socialization, even if they struggle to make this a reality.

People with ASD have heightened senses. Bright lights, loud sounds, or crowds may overwhelm an autistic person. Autistic people may find ways to communicate other than words. People with ASD often avoid eye contact with others. They take language very literally which leads to challenges with metaphors, humor, and sarcasm. Dampened ability to read tone and facial expressions make it difficult for the person with autism to interpret the thoughts or feelings of others. However, it is important to note that this struggle with interpretation does not mean that those with ASD are unempathetic. In fact, many people with autism feel their emotions with great strength, even if they react to them differently than their neurotypical peers.

What causes Autism Spectrum Disorder? While we do not know all of the causes of ASD, we have learned that there are likely many causes for multiple types of ASD. There may be many combinations of environmental, biological, and genetic factors that make a child more likely to have an ASD. Children who have a sibling with ASD, individuals with fragile X syndrome or tuberous sclerosis, children who were born to mothers who took certain prescription drugs (like valproic acid and thalidomide), and children born to older parents are at greater risk for having AS).


There is no standard treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Therapies are used to minimize symptoms and maximize abilities. This is accomplished through the regulation of emotions and impulses. Treatment plans differ from person to person. However, it is noted that most people with ASD respond well to highly structured intervention plans.

There is no medication approved to treat Autism Spectrum Disorder. However, certain psychiatric medications can help control secondary symptoms. Antipsychotics, such as Risperidone and Aripiprazole, are used to control irritability and aggression, while stimulants, such as methylphenidate, atomoxetine, and clonidine, are used to control hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention. These medications can be a vital part of an autistic individual’s regimen.

In addition to psychiatric medication, there are a number of other treatment options available to those with ASD. These modalities include behavioral therapy, family counseling, speech and language therapy, and educational therapy. Often a combination of these therapies needs to be honed before the right balance is reached.

Behavioral therapy is one intervention used for autistic individuals. This focuses on either increasing the ability to communicate effectively or on reducing the behavioral problems. Speech and language therapy can be an important first step to improving communication skills. However, further social skills training, to help people with autism recognize and interpret the gestures and figures of speech other use to express emotion, is often necessary. For autistic individuals to excel in all aspects of their daily life, an individual intensive educational program may be necessary for some patients.

Autism can be an isolating diagnosis. This makes modalities such as family counseling especially useful. Family members play a key role in helping the child with autism to manage and learn daily routines and language skills. Moreover, support groups for people with Autism Spectrum disorder can provide a safe space for autistic individuals to work through roadblocks and ask questions in a supportive environment. Finally, in adults, community habilitation services and community integration may be sought,

What can parents do to help?

Children develop skills at their own pace but parents should remain cognizant of their child’s development and look out for delays. Parents should ask their child’s therapists about the best ways to support their development at home. Therapists will likely give recommendations to parents for particular games or activities to work on at home to speed up the process of achieving certain skills. Providing opportunities for suitable fine motor activities, giving your child toys to help improve grasping and gripping skills, encouraging children to be active participants in daily activities such as dressing, bathing, or brushing teeth, and informing oneself about the condition and possible solutions are great ways to play an active role in supporting a child with poor fine motor skills.

How can we help?

At AC Cares, we can assist the family in dealing with Autism in many ways. These would include:

Whether you are searching for a qualified doctor, treatment options, or a nutritionist, we have vetted, knowledgeable medical professionals to assist you on your journey.
Dealing with Autism can be overwhelming and confusing for families, and we have the latest information on everything from new treatment options to medical trials to help our families in need.
Meeting with others facing similar challenges can provide a lifeline to those who feel alone, and our support groups and moderators are there to walk with you on this journey.
Group seminars and workshops on topics ranging from getting the support needed for your child at school to safety measures in the home provide instruction to prepare you for your role as advocate and caregiver.