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Running head: AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER 1Autism Spectrum Disorder Nichole Spencer Lebanon Valley College
2AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER IntroductionAs a parent, a person most often notices the actions and behaviors of their child. They recognize when their child struggles and generate questions with the hope of finding answers. Parents often experience common thoughts, such as “Why doesn’t he play with other kids?” “Why is she resistant to change?” and “Why won’t she look at me?” During the early stages of development, a child may display specific characteristics that signal his or her possibility of developing Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). A diagnosis of ASD creates life-changing impacts upon the development of language and additional academic progression. When using Discrete Trial Training among children with ASD to generate new skills, the intensity of the intervention results in significant gains in language, self-care, and social and academic development.Autism Spectrum DisorderWhile intervention can be beneficial to those with ASD, it is first essential to understand the aspects of the disability and its effect on the brain. According to the article “What is Autism,”ASD “refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech, and nonverbal communication” (para. 1). Autism is considered a spectrum disorder, meaning there is not one specific type, but many variations and subtypes (Autism Speaks, n.d.). The term “Spectrum” refers to “the wide range of symptoms, skills, and levels of disability in functioning that can occur in people with ASD” (National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders [NIDCD], 2018, para. 1). Before introducing the idea of the spectrum, the American Psychiatric Association (APA)created the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) (2000) to provide people with diagnoses for several conditions of the disorder: Autistic Disorder, Asperger’s Syndrome, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder not otherwise specified. Autistic disorder,
3AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER also referred to as “classic autism,” causes language delays, social challenges, and unusual behaviors. Asperger’s Syndrome is considered a milder form of Autistic Disorder and may cause some social difficulties and abnormal behaviors. It usually does not affect language or intellectual development. Pervasive Developmental Disorder not otherwise specified, also called “atypical autism,” is a diagnosis for people with fewer and milder symptoms than those with Autistic Disorder but do not have all characteristics of the disorder. In the APA’s current version of the DSM (2013), these specific conditions act as one combined diagnosis called “Autism Spectrum Disorder” (National Institute of Mental Health [NIMH], 2018).