Autism refers to a spectrum of brain and developmental conditions that range from mild to severe. Someone who shows signs and symptoms of autism, such as difficulties with social situations, communication, and learning, may be referred to as “being on the autism spectrum.”
If you or a loved one has autism, you may be facing challenging care-related obstacles. Dignity Health - St. Rose Dominican hospitals doctors offers the resources, therapy, and education you need to live and thrive with autism in Las Vegas or Henderson, NV. Find a neurologist associated with St. Rose Dominican to learn more.
The signs and symptoms of autism spectrum disorder are usually first noticed around the age of 18 months, but children may show these behaviors earlier:
- Sensitivity to certain sounds, smells, or textures
- Difficulty expressing emotions
- Not understanding pretend play or abstract ideas
- Self-harm, such as banging the head
- Does not speak or has delayed speech
- Repetitive behavior, including repeating the same phrase, flapping hands, or spinning the wheels on a toy car
- Resistance to hugging, cuddling, or other forms of touch
- Little or no eye contact
- Does not respond to name
The first signs of autism may be missed by parents and pediatricians, particularly if the condition is mild. In some cases, a diagnosis may not come until later in life, perhaps as a teenager or an adult.
What Causes Autism?
Testing shows there are some changes in the brain of a person with autism, but there is no known cause for the condition. Autism spectrum disorder appears to have a genetic factor because it runs in some families. Environmental influences and possibly prenatal factors (those that occur during pregnancy) may play a role in autism. Despite conversations in the mainstream media, there is no evidence that links childhood vaccinations with autism.
Treating Autism at Dignity Health - St. Rose Dominican Hospitals
There is no cure for autism. Treatment focuses on helping people with autism function with the challenges of their condition. Some people with mild autism are able to complete their education and thrive professionally and personally, while others may need supervision and care all of their lives. The situation is different for people with moderate and severe forms of autism.
Treatment of autism in general may include:
- Family therapy to teach family members how to interact with someone who has autism.
- Behavior therapy to teach the person how to cope and act in socially appropriate or desired ways.
- Speech or communication therapy, which focuses on helping people with autism learn how to effectively communicate, either verbally or nonverbally, with methods such as sign language.
- Medications that may help reduce symptoms of other conditions that may be associated with autism such as anxiety or insomnia.
- Early intervention to provide an early diagnosis and offer the opportunity for intensive teaching of communication, physical, and social skills that can help reduce the severity of the condition.
Dignity Health - St. Rose Dominican provides support and treatment for autism in Las Vegas and Henderson, NV.