Understanding Health and Behavioral Challenges
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) arises from specific differences in brain development. A variety of factors contribute to the unique developmental paths each individual experiences. People with ASD often face challenges in social interactions and may struggle with both verbal and nonverbal communication. It’s essential to understand that autism exists on a spectrum, meaning each individual has their own unique strengths and challenges.
Signs and Symptoms
Individuals with ASD commonly experience challenges in social communication and interaction, and they may also engage in repetitive behaviors or have intense interests. These symptoms generally manifest before a child reaches the age of three. Early detection is crucial as it enables prompt intervention and improves the likelihood of better outcomes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers a free “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” tracker mobile app to help parents monitor their child’s developmental progress and compare it to age-appropriate developmental milestones. If your child is falling behind these milestones, it may be advisable to consult with your healthcare provider.
Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a multi-step process that often starts with initial screening tools like the M-CHAT-R™ and STAT™. While these instruments offer valuable insights, they are not sufficient for a conclusive diagnosis. For a more comprehensive assessment, specialized diagnostic tools such as the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule 2 (ADOS-2) and the Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R) are typically required. These instruments specifically evaluate social skills, repetitive behaviors, and other behaviors commonly associated with autism spectrum disorder. Additional tests, such as the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales (VABS-3), the Differential Ability Scales (DAS-II), or the Mullen Scales of Early Learning (MSEL) may be used to evaluate abilities in other areas, such as cognitive, motor, language, and daily living skills.
When it comes to diagnostic coding, two main codes are used to categorize Autism Spectrum Disorder. The ICD-10 code, which is internationally recognized, is F84.0, while the DSM-5 code commonly used by psychiatrists and psychologists in the United States is 299.00. Understanding these diagnostic codes is important for facilitating insurance claims and ensuring that the individual receives the appropriate healthcare services.
Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), all U.S. States receive funding for Early Intervention (EI) and Special Education program services. The States must offer help to young kids as well as school age children who have delays in their development or are at risk for conditions like autism. If you have concerns about your child’s growth or learning, it’s worthwhile to reach out to your state’s early intervention program. For children under 3, consult your state’s early intervention program. For children ages 3 or older, talk to your local public elementary school about preschool special education services.
Click here to find out how to reach the early intervention program in your state.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/index.html