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Autism (spectrum) disorder

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has spectrum in the name for a reason.

I don’t diagnose ASD, but I can typically look at and interact with a child for 2-3 hours and know whether they’re likely on the spectrum or not. However, because it’s a spectrum, to diagnose or not to diagnose seems to be getting blurrier and blurrier. Some kids I see have a lot of the stereotypical behaviors like hand-flapping, self-talking, and pacing back and forth, poor language development, lack of understanding about social norms, etc. 

What about the kids that don’t have any of those behaviors?

For instance, a child who loves to play with others, craves and seeks attention, looks at me straight in the eyes and has a funny face contest trying with all her might to keep a straight face but can’t help but crack up! A child who loves to laugh and be silly, and loves telling  jokes which really are funny for a 4 year old.

The spectrum is a broad one and sometimes hard to distinguish.  Here is a great link that tells the signs of ASD and criteria for diagnosis. http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/hcp-dsm.html
A lot of children have one or two of these symptoms and are typically developing. A child on the Autism spectrum must meet 6 of these criteria and from a variety of categories.

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About Express Yourself SLP

Express Yourself Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) offers treatment, prevention, advocacy, education, and administration, in the areas of communication and swallowing from birth through 18 years of age These are the areas of speech, language and feeding I work on with chidlren in their own homes or in the community: Articulation – finding the right place in the mouth to make a sound like /s/ or /r/. Expressive Language – grammar, vocabulary development, and language development (this might be sign language or verbal language) Disfluency (stuttering) – decreasing and eliminating disfluency and concomitant behaviors associated with stuttering. Feeding – increasing food repetoire including textures, colors, and flavors. Receptive Language - comprehension of verbal or signed language Social Language – understanding and implementing expected social rules in play and conversation. This can be individually or in groups with peers Sessions are 50 minutes. Parents or caregivers must be present when sessions are in the home. If the caregiver would like a community outting, the child must be driven to the desired location by a caregiver or it should be within walking distance of the home. Parents or caregivers are also welcome and encouraged to join in community outtings.

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