Thursday, March 10, 2011

What Is The Difference Between Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Currently both autism and autism spectrum disorder are under the same heading as autism. Yet, they are separate and the children have some very different characteristics. One of the standard landmarks for diagnosing someone with autism is speech and or communication. The child lack speech and does not hit the normal landmarks of speech. Along with the lack of speech, there are socialization problems with eye contact and general interaction. A child who has autism may not want to be held by his mother or father--rebelling and screaming when held, or when the parent tries to socially interact. Also, the child is obsessed with an object and may give these objects living qualities. Most of these children have sensory problems, which lead to behavior problems--protecting their own word. Due to the speech and language defects, the child has most of the process problems children with speech problems have: retreval memory (long and short term), and word organization.

So these are the characteristics of all children with autism--yet, the difference between autism and autism spectrum disorder are clearly separated by one thing: IQ. Most child who have been traditional said to have autism have an IQ of 36 to 50 (or lower), making them severely or moderately mentally impaired. Children, with ASD (autism spectrum disorder) have IQ above 70 (low average); consequently, the large majority of these children have average IQ (average Joe IQ--like many of us) and some have high average to genius IQ. Children with ASD are not mentally impaired. They are children with a normal IQ, who have the characteristics of autism.

This makes the difference between ASD and traditional autism, along with the ability to train the child with ASD opposed to the child with tradition autism: a person with an average IQ is able to reason and learn much better than someone who is mentally impaired. A child with ASD and a normal IQ may have a lack of speech; but a speech therapist will have an easier time teaching this child language than a child who is mentally impaired. A child with an average IQ, with sensory and speech problems will need the same intense occupational therapy as a child who is mentally impaired--but, the child who has an average IQ will do much better in therapy and be able to learn from therapy--than some one who is mentally impaired.

Therefore, the best therapies for children who are ASD are: speech, occupational therapy, social groups,and behavioral therapy. The speech therapy to help the child to learn to communicate and help with processing problems of retrieval and memory. Occupational therapy for the sensory problems, that cause much of the negative behavior. Along with behavior modification to work with the child's behavior and show them why their "protective behavior" does not work. Also,, social groups which many speech therapy program run along with a social worker to help children communicate. The primary two needed at the youngest age possible: speech and occupational therapy (sensory therapy)--which many early intervention programs do have occupational therapist who are certified in sensory integration therapy.

With the therapies done early in life and as the child with ASD goes through the various early programs offered by the school district and ones you will privately pay for (or you may be lucky enough to have an insurance company who will pay for some therapy)--you will see improvement in your child. As the speech and sensory problems get to a manageable level--with behavior modification and social groups being able to be placed in mix, you child with ASD will be able to be mainstreamed with some supports (speech and language along with social work (OT if necessary but in the school they are only concerned with activities of daily living not sensory problems) A child who is traditional autistic will not be able to be mainstreamed. He or she, since the child is mentally impaired, will not be able to function in a mainstreamed environment. A child with ADS with maturity will be able to understand what socially acceptable behavior is--a child with autism( due to being mentally impaired ) will not mature and will not be able to understand socially acceptable behavior.

Children with ADS, aspergers, turrets, and sensory integration dysfunction disorder: all fall under the umbrella of Pervasive developmental disorder (which is a mental illness in the DRGS)--traditional autism is not under this umbrella. The difference between the Pervasive developmental disorder and traditional autism is not the behavior but the IQ. All the children with "autism" have: behavior, processing, speech and other problems--with the only difference being IQ. What the increase in autism has been in is ( the 1 out of 100) is pervasive developmental disorder not traditional autism. The child with ADS with therapy and mainstreaming will be able to function in society at some point, if they mature and their talents are developed. There was a movie with Claire Danes about a woman with aspergers, who became very successful. People with aspergers are generally not mentally impaired but socially impaired (as most with PDD). Social behavior can be learned and though behavior modification therapy it can be taught. Also, due to the processing problems children with ASD may need additional help with school work, so they can live up to their true potential. An IEP with supports should be placed early in the child's academic career, so they will get the basic skills of reading and writing needed to survive later years of education.

Children with ASD and other PDD can be taught through hard work and therapy to obtain successful behavior and to be mainstreamed into normal society. Therapy should be started eerily to help bring out the talents of the child with ASD, PDD, and autism--with no quick fixes of curing autism, just years of therapy (behavior, OT, speech, and social group / along with hours of tutoring to help your child reach their academic goals.

As for treatments that are not scientifically proven: chelation and hyperbaric chambers: for autism and autism spectrum disorder. A child who is mentally impaired will not become a genius due to adding oxygen to their brain or removing mercury from their system, autism is a congenital defect. These treatments have been compared with people with cerebral palsy, some children/adult with cerebral palsy function at an average IQ. Damage in the womb or a congenital defect will not be corrected with: taking the mercy that has already caused the damage or giving brain cells that already been damaged more oxygen. The research does not support this, nor does medical logic support this.--it just makes no sense.

Therefore the best thing parents could do to defeat autism, is make sure your child is diagnosed early and be patient, it does get better with ASD and PDD as your child matures. Get the therapy you can afford, and do what the therapist tell you to do at home. Make sure you use as many school services as you can, and interact with other parents who have child with ASD and PDD --these would be perfect family to connect with in social groups. As for supplement. If you can get whole food supplements with a multivitamin and Calcium, so the child with ASD poor eating habits will not effect their nutrition (make sure they are soft gel so a small amount will easily go in your child's drink). If you want to read more information by Cheryl zmijewski RN ( )

Cheryl Zmijewski RN has been a nurse for 15 years plus, and has worked in all area of nursing. She has a son who is on the autism spectrum.

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