What is Autism?
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complex developmental disability that causes problems with social interaction and communication and can cause delays or problems in many different skills that develop from infancy to adulthood. Symptoms usually start before age three and can be observed as early as 18 months.
What Are the Symptoms of Autism?
The main signs and symptoms of autism involve problems in the following areas:
Communication - Both verbal (spoken) and non-verbal (unspoken, such as pointing, eye contact, and smiling).
Social - such as sharing emotions, understanding how others think and feel, and holding a conversation.
Routines or reptitive behaviors (also called stereotyped behaviors) - such as repeating words or actions, obsessively following routines or schedules, and playing in repetitive ways.
Who Has Autism?
Current figures show that autism occurs in all racial, ethnic, and social groups equally, with individuals in one group no more or less likely to have ASDs than those in other groups. Three groups are at higher-than-normal risk for ASDs, including:
Boys. Statistics show that boys are three to four times more likely to be affected by autism than are girls.
Siblings of those with ASDs. Among families that have one child with an ASD, recurrence of ASD in another sibiling is between 2 percent and 8 percent, a figure much highter than in the general population.
People with certain other developmental disorders. For certain disorders, including Fragile X syndrome, mental retardation, and tuberous sclerosis, Autism is common in addition to the primary symptoms of the disorder.
What Are the Treatments for Autism?
There is no cure for Autism, nor is there one single treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorders. But, there are ways to help minimize the symptoms of Autism and to maximize learning.
Behavioral therapy and other therapeutic options:
Behavior management therapy helps to reinforce wanted behaviors, and reduce unwanted behaviors. It is often based on Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA).
Speech-language therapists can help people with autism improve their ability to communicate and interact with others.
Occupational therapists can help people find ways to adjust tasks to match their needs and abilities.
Physical therapists design activities and exercise to build motor control and improve posture and balance.
Educational and/or school-based options:
Public schools are required to provide free, appropriate public education from age 3-21, or until receiving a regular ed. diploma.
Typically, a team of people, including the parents, teacher, caregivers, school pychologists, and other child development specialists work together to design an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) to help guide the child's school experiences.
Meeting the Educational Needs of Children with Autism
Spectrum Academy is the first scharter school in the State of Utah that specifically addresses the academic, social and emotional needs of students with high-functioning autism and Asperger's Syndrome. Spectrum Academy is dedicated to providing an enriching and challenging research-based educational environment.
We support children individually and help them reach their fullest potential academically, socially and emotionally. Through the dynamic partnership of students, parents, teachers and our community, we set high expectations for our students' achievements, happiness, and community inclusion as young adults. Our mission encompasses all children, and we are pleased to be free and offer enrollment open to the public.