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Stephanie GugelEDU 203 Disability Fact Sheet /Resource NotebookDisability / Learning Need: Autism Disability / Learning Need; Acronyms: Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD), Autism Spectrum, Autistic Disorder, Asperger’s Disorder, and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)Characteristics:Most signs or characteristics of Autism are evident in the areas of speech or communication (verbal and non-verbal). Many of the signs or symptoms of Autism begin presenting themselves between 2 and 6 years of age. Autism in the DSM IV is described as impairments in social interaction and communication. It is characterized by restricted repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests, and activities. Children with autism show delays or abnormal functioning in situations where they must socially interact, socially, communicate, or symbolically or imaginatively play prior to age three (American, 2000). Social impairments include deficits in things such as social attention is “the ability to coordinate one’s focus of attention on another person and an object of mutual interest” (Mash, 2007). American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4thed.,text revision). Washington, DC:Author.Mash,E.,& WOLFE,D. (2007). Abnormal child psychology 3rdedition. United States: Thomas Learning.Identification Procedures and Service Delivery :Identification frequently begins with parents, caregivers, and professionals noticing a speech delay with a young child. A developmental evaluation may identify delays in several other areas. There are several screening tools that can be used by early childhood professionals to determine whether further assessment and evaluation should be conducted. (See Appendix C for a list of assessment tools.) If family members and professionals suspect that the child’s developmental delays may fall within the Autism Spectrum Disorder then a medical and/or psychological evaluation should be conducted to ascertain the nature and severity of the disorder and to rule out other possible disorders which may be affecting the child’s development. Further evaluation and assessment should only be conducted by professionals who have specialized training and knowledge of Autism Spectrum Disorders. Diagnostic evaluations should: Elicit, value, and address parental concerns, Be undertaken by a multidisciplinary team, Review the child’s developmental history, Include a direct behavior observation, Assess cognitive functioning, and Evaluate adaptive functioning in the areas of communication, socialization, fine and gross motor development, self help/daily living skills, and social-emotional functioning. (California Department of Developmental Services, 2002). Families should be referred to their pediatrician to obtain a
medical evaluation to rule out associated medical conditions. There are no specific medical tests