For some, autism might feel like a big or even scary word. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) encompasses a broad range of conditions mostly categorized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech, and nonverbal communication. Autism cannot be defined by a simple set of rules, which is why autistic behaviors fall into a range within a spectrum.
Some individuals with ASD require a lot of support in their lives, while others are able to live entirely independently. Each autistic person has a different set of strengths and challenges, which is why early autism diagnosis is especially helpful.
Common Autism Symptoms
Although doctors can diagnose autism at any age, individuals typically experience autism symptoms within the first two years of life. Autism in children and autism in adults may seem different. This is not because the symptoms vanish, but because autistic adults often mask. Some of the common symptoms of autism include:
- Learning and developmental delays
- Difficulty communicating
- Difficulty in social situations
- Attachment to unusual interests
- Sensory issues
- Repetitive movements/language
- Trouble with change
Effective Autism Therapies
Current therapy options for Autism Spectrum Disorder seek to reduce symptoms that interfere with everyday life and increase daily functioning. There is no “cure” for autism, and therapy doesn’t look to “fix” autistic individuals. It merely looks to help those with autism improve on their weaknesses while keeping their unique strengths. Some common therapies include:
- Neurofeedback Training: Improves brain functioning as the brain learns how to optimize output through biofeedback
- Social-Relational therapy: Social-relational treatments focus on improving social skills and building emotional bonds. Oftentimes, someone who is on the autism spectrum is able to learn and acquire skills that will be helpful in social situations.
- Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT is a psychological approach that focuses on learning the connections between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. During CBT, a therapist and the individual work together to identify goals and then work to change how the person thinks about a situation. This will then help to change how they react to the situation.
- Occupational therapy (OT): OT has been shown to be helpful in improving the ability to self-regulate emotions and participate more successfully in social interactions. OT has also been effective in helping individuals with autism overcome sensory-related issues.
According to the CDC, 1 in 36 people have ASD. As autism awareness and the understanding of what autism is increases, so will autism acceptance. Early recognition, as well as behavioral, educational, and family therapies, may reduce symptoms and support development to ensure long-term success. At Mountain Vista Psychology, we know how challenging having learning differences can be, and we are here to help. Take the first step and call our office at (720) 583-9332. You can make your appointment, or we offer a 20-minute free phone consultation to discuss your needs.
Dr. Steffanie Stecker a licensed psychologist and the owner and clinical director of Mountain Vista Psychology, PLLC.
In addition, she is a board certified neurotherapist (BCN E5669) and board certified in QEEG (QEEG-D). Less than 100 people world wide are board certified in QEEG, which indicates competency in reading QEEGs and choosing neurofeedback protocols. Dr. Stecker is passionate about brain based effective therapy and creating a safe relationship for her clients to create change. She loves what she gets to do each day!