Autism Counseling & Therapy Services in Orlando, East Orlando, Lake Mary, Winter Park & Clermont Florida FL
What is autism?
Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by strange behavior in social interaction and communication with others, Repetitive patterns of behavior or interests can also be a sign of Autism. The word “autism” is a general term used to describe a group of complex developmental brain disorders known as Pervasive Developmental Disorders. Autism can appear in the first 3 years of life, and affects the brain’s typical development of social and communication skills.
Who has autism?
Boys are 3 to 4 times more likely than girls to have autism. The exact number of children with autism is still unknown, but it is estimated that one in every 110 children is diagnosed. It is more common than several other childhood diseases combined. An estimated 1.5 million individuals in the U.S. and tens of millions worldwide are affected by autism.
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What are the symptoms?
Children with Autism typically show trouble in the following areas:
- Pretend play
- Social interactions
- Verbal and nonverbal communication
- Treat all communication literally instead of figuratively when people are joking or illustrating.
People with autism may:
- Be overly sensitive in sight, hearing, touch, smell, or taste (for example, they may refuse to wear “itchy” clothes and become distressed if they are forced to wear the clothes)
- Have unusual distress when routines are changed
- Perform repeated body movements
- Show unusual attachments to objects
The symptoms may vary from moderate to severe. Communication problems may include:
- Cannot start or maintain a social conversation
- Communicates with gestures instead of words
- Develops language slowly or not at all
- Does not adjust gaze to look at objects that others are looking at
- Does not refer to self correctly (for example, says “you want water” when the child means “I want water”)
- Does not point to direct others’ attention to objects (occurs in the first 14 months of life)
- Repeats words or memorized passages, such as commercials
- Uses nonsense rhyming
- Does not make friends
- Does not play interactive games
- Is withdrawn
- May not respond to eye contact or smiles, or may avoid eye contact
- May treat others as if they are objects
- Prefers to spend time alone, rather than with others
- Shows a lack of empathy
Response to sensory information:
- Does not startle at loud noises
- Has heightened or low senses of sight, hearing, touch, smell, or taste
- May find normal noises painful and hold hands over ears
- May withdraw from physical contact because it is overstimulating or overwhelming
- Rubs surfaces, mouths or licks objects
- Seems to have a heightened or low response to pain
- Doesn’t imitate the actions of others
- Prefers playing by themselves unless peers are playing what they want to play
- Ritualistic play
- Shows little pretend or imaginative play
- “Acts up” with intense tantrums
- Gets stuck on a single topic or task (perseveration)
- Has a short attention span
- Has very narrow interests
- Is overactive or very passive
- Shows aggression to others or self
- Shows a strong need for sameness
- Uses repetitive body movements
- Sand Tray Therapy is a powerful accelerated counseling tool for any children that lack the ability to express themselves. Through the use of figurines, toys, and sand children with or without autism can express what is trapped in their mind through non-directed play therapy techniques often in the first session!
- It’s amazing what some autistic, aspergers, pervasive developmental disorder children are thinking or perceiving and often their thoughts or perceptions are distorted and can bring tremendous relief once they express their thoughts and feelings!
- Often students with Autism also have ADHD symptoms and Anxiety. ADHD is often treated with stimulants that wake up the frontal lobe to help with focus. However, stimulants like Concerta, Vyvanse, Adderall, Ritalin, Daytrana, Focalin, make Anxiety symptoms worse and can lead to OCD symptoms.
- Anxiety is technically and overstimulated brain so the stimulants over stimulate more and can cause intense irritability, rage, impulse control, and more while the stimulant is in the system and when it wears off.
- Our therapists will give suggestions to suggest to your doctor for supplements, and dietary adjustments that often work the same day in place of the medications without the side effects of the medications.