Researchers estimate that one in every 59 children is born with autism. While any child can develop the disorder, it is three times more common in boys than girls. At Manchester Pediatric Associates, the team of experienced pediatricians boasts years of experience diagnosing and treating autism. To make an appointment for your child at the practice in South Windsor, or Tolland, Connecticut, call the nearest office today or schedule online.

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What is autism?

Autism refers to a group of neurodevelopmental disorders characterized by problems with social interaction and communication. Autism begins in early childhood and affects an individual’s ability to function in settings like school or work. Though there’s no cure, early intervention and treatment can significantly improve your child’s quality of life.

What are the symptoms of autism?

Symptoms of autism include:

  • Difficulty sharing emotions or interests
  • Difficulty communicating (both verbally and nonverbally)
  • Difficulty developing or maintaining relationships
  • Repetitive movements, motions, or speech patterns
  • Fixed interests or preoccupations
  • Strict adherence to certain routines or behaviors

Some children with autism also experience heightened senses. For example, certain smells or sounds might trigger a negative reaction.

Does my child need to be screened for autism?

The American Academy of Pediatrics encourages all parents to have their children screened for autism between the ages of 18-24 months. Early diagnosis typically results in improved treatment outcomes, which is why testing is so important.

When you bring your child to Manchester Pediatric Associates, the team has you fill out a survey known as the M-CHAT. The survey features 23 questions. Once you finish, your child’s provider uses the responses to determine your child’s risk of autism.

If the team suspects your child has autism, they might recommend additional tests like a behavioral evaluation, hearing and vision testing, or an occupational therapy screening.

How is autism treated?

Although there’s no cure for autism, there are a number of therapies that can reduce uncomfortable symptoms and improve your child’s quality of life. After making a diagnosis, the team at Manchester Pediatric Associates might recommend:

  • Behavioral therapy
  • Play therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Speech therapy

Typically, the team recommends combining these therapies with complementary treatments like massage or meditation. If your child has unique sensory needs, they might also benefit from weighted clothing or blankets.

Every child with autism spectrum disorder responds differently to these approaches. At first, it may take some trial and error to determine the type of therapy that will benefit your child most. Be patient, attend each scheduled appointment, and closely follow the team’s instructions.

If your child needs to undergo an autism screening, make an appointment at Manchester Pediatric Associates by calling the nearest office today or scheduling online.