Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability affecting about 1 in every 68 children in the United States. Conditions that were once classified separately, such as pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), autistic disorder, and Asperger's Syndrome are now covered under the umbrella of ASD. Although signs may appear much earlier, typically ASD is diagnosed between the ages of 3 and 6. Currently, there is no known cure.

Symptoms of ASD

ASD is the fastest growing developmental disability in the nation, affecting all ethnic and socioeconomic groups. The main characteristic of ASD is impaired social interaction. The traits may be present since birth and be detected in the first few years of life, or may seem to appear suddenly. Individuals with the disorder have difficulty recognizing and responding to social cues.

The symptoms of ASD usually begin in early childhood and continue throughout the individual's life. These symptoms can include:

  • Trouble relating to others or having no interest in other people
  • Avoidance of eye contact
  • Lack of or delay in language capabilities
  • Inability to understand and relate to the emotions of others
  • Lack of make believe play
  • Repeating or echoing words and / or mannerisms
  • Trouble adapting to changes in routine
  • Not wanting to be touched or held

Importance of Early Intervention

Given the lack of a cure for ASD, most healthcare professionals agree that early detection and intervention are the best chance an ASD patient has for improvement. ASD is extremely complex and no two diagnosed patients present the same way. Treatment plans are usually designed to meet the specific needs of the patient and may include medication, education, and behavioral interventions.

ASD Impacts Everyone

Currently, the prevalence of ASD is nearly twice as high as it was just 10 years ago. Millions of families have received the diagnosis of ASD for their children. Recent estimates project the lifetime cost of caring for an autistic child to exceed $2 million. Additionally, The Autism Society has concluded that ASD costs the United States nearly $90 billion annually in insurance costs, educational spending, and numerous other expenses.

In light of these staggering statistics, continual research is being done on early diagnosis and more effective treatment methods. Recent breakthroughs have included discoveries in the areas of fetal predisposition factors and the identification of possible triggers to autism development. While these developments are in the very early stages of investigation, they are exciting new avenues to explore.

Braverman Reproductive Immunology is presently leading a discussion forum regarding how these factors and triggers may affect women who have a history of miscarriages and a child diagnosed with ASD. Moderated by our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Braverman, a leading authority in the field of reproductive immunology, women who are concerned about having another autistic child are encouraged to join the dialog.

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