Autism Spectrum Disorder

Developmental condition that impacts social interaction and communication

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurological and developmental condition that impacts how a person communicates, behaves, interacts with others and learns.

It affects one in 68 children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and is more common in boys. It lasts a lifetime.

In the past, groups of autistic symptoms were given specific names: Asperger’s syndrome, autistic disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder and pervasive developmental disorder. Now, all types of symptom severity fall under the autism spectrum disorder label.

High-functioning adults undiagnosed earlier in life often seek help in adulthood. Children with ASD symptoms may not receive a diagnosis until the early teenage years. Such situations can lead to behavioral issues and feelings of anger, anxiety and depression because they have difficulty understanding their world. Indiana University Health professionals treat autism spectrum disorders at all stages of life.

Signs and Symptoms of Autism

Autism Spectrum Disorder impacts the structure and function of the brain and nervous system. However, autism affects different people in different ways, covering a range of similar features. You may see symptoms between the ages of 12 and 18 months but we diagnose most children around age 3. Sometimes children regress and stop using language, social and playing skills he or she had already learned.

Your child may show these early signs of ASD:

  • Problems making eye contact
  • Not responding when his or her name is called
  • Poor pretend play and imitation skills
  • Problems with nonverbal communication

Older children and adults with autism spectrum disorder may show symptoms including:

  • Difficulty comprehending figures of speech
  • Difficulty comprehending facial expressions
  • Using speech that doesn’t match emotions
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Specific, narrow, odd interests
  • Repetitive behaviors

Diagnosis

In the past, groups of autistic symptoms were given specific names: Asperger’s syndrome, autistic disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder and pervasive developmental disorder. Now, all types of symptom severity fall under the autism spectrum disorder label.

High-functioning adults undiagnosed earlier in life often seek help in adulthood. Children with ASD symptoms may not receive a diagnosis until the early teenage years. Such situations can lead to behavioral issues and feelings of anger, anxiety and depression because they have difficulty understanding their world. Indiana University Health professionals treat autism spectrum disorders at all stages of life.

Signs and Symptoms of Autism

Autism Spectrum Disorder impacts the structure and function of the brain and nervous system. However, autism affects different people in different ways, covering a range of similar features. You may see symptoms between the ages of 12 and 18 months but we diagnose most children around age 3. Sometimes children regress and stop using language, social and playing skills he or she had already learned.

Your child may show these early signs of ASD:

  • Problems making eye contact
  • Not responding when his or her name is called
  • Poor pretend play and imitation skills
  • Problems with nonverbal communication

Older children and adults with autism spectrum disorder may show symptoms including:

  • Difficulty comprehending figures of speech
  • Difficulty comprehending facial expressions
  • Using speech that doesn’t match emotions
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Specific, narrow, odd interests
  • Repetitive behaviors

Our Expertise

Our ties to Indiana University School of Medicine and Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health let us provide the most current and accurate information to you. Additionally, our affiliation with the Christian Sarkine Autism Treatment Center gives us access to the latest research in autism treatments, including medicine management, parent training and available medicines.

We are also leading mental health experts in new research. Our work with four other research units in pediatric psychopharmacology led to U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval of a drug to treat irritability associated with autism.

Our connection with HANDS in Autism extends our reach into the community, by delivering training and services to school and medical staff, caregivers and individuals on the autism spectrum.

At IU Health, our autism spectrum disorder experts work with you and/or your child to:

  • Lessen the challenging effects of ASD
  • Seek the best school programs for success
  • Provide psychiatric and psychological counseling
  • Find the best medicines and therapies for achieving specific goals
  • Fully function at school, at home and in the community
  • Connect you with parent advocates and other support services
  • Build social and communication skills to improve interactions with others

We do this with:

  • Early intervention
  • Speech therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Sensory integration therapy
  • Joint attention therapy
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Social skills training
  • Parent training
  • Parent advocates
  • Medicines
  • Medication management
  • School-based therapies

Treatment

Our Expertise

Our ties to Indiana University School of Medicine and Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health let us provide the most current and accurate information to you. Additionally, our affiliation with the Christian Sarkine Autism Treatment Center gives us access to the latest research in autism treatments, including medicine management, parent training and available medicines.

We are also leading mental health experts in new research. Our work with four other research units in pediatric psychopharmacology led to U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval of a drug to treat irritability associated with autism.

Our connection with HANDS in Autism extends our reach into the community, by delivering training and services to school and medical staff, caregivers and individuals on the autism spectrum.

At IU Health, our autism spectrum disorder experts work with you and/or your child to:

  • Lessen the challenging effects of ASD
  • Seek the best school programs for success
  • Provide psychiatric and psychological counseling
  • Find the best medicines and therapies for achieving specific goals
  • Fully function at school, at home and in the community
  • Connect you with parent advocates and other support services
  • Build social and communication skills to improve interactions with others

We do this with:

  • Early intervention
  • Speech therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Sensory integration therapy
  • Joint attention therapy
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Social skills training
  • Parent training
  • Parent advocates
  • Medicines
  • Medication management
  • School-based therapies

Patient Stories for Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism Speaks

Founded by the grandparents of a child with autism, this international organization funds research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism. It also advocates for individuals and families with autism, and increases public awareness of autism spectrum disorders.

HANDS in Autism

This autism interdisciplinary training and resource center is an extension of the Christian Sarkine Autism Treatment Center at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health.

Resources

Autism Speaks

Founded by the grandparents of a child with autism, this international organization funds research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism. It also advocates for individuals and families with autism, and increases public awareness of autism spectrum disorders.

HANDS in Autism

This autism interdisciplinary training and resource center is an extension of the Christian Sarkine Autism Treatment Center at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health.