X-Ray Results

Common Conditions

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder involving behavioral and communication deficits.  Individuals with ASD often have difficulty communicating and interacting in social situations.  They are often very routine oriented and engage in repetitive behaviors.  ASD is usually diagnosed at approximately 2 to 3 years of age.  ASD has a wide spectrum of severity, ranging from gifted to severely challenged. Research shows that boys are four times more likely to develop ASD than girls.

Cause

The cause for ASD is currently unknown, but research shows that genetics and environmental factors may play a role in the causation of ASD.  Individuals who have a sibling with ASD, were born to older parents, have genetic conditions (Rett syndrome, Down syndrome, Fragile X syndrome, tuberculosis sclerosis), born before 26 weeks gestation, or born with low birthweight are at greater risk for ASD.  Research also shows that taking valproic acid or thalidomide during pregnancy can increase the risk for ASD. Despite popular belief, vaccinations or poor parenting are NOT causes for ASD.

Symptoms

Symptoms of ASD include:

  • Little or no eye contact

  • Trouble listening

  • Difficulty socializing or reacting to social cues

  • Difficulty communicating

  • Difficulty empathizing or understanding others’ feelings

  • Slow response to name or verbal cues

  • Talking at length without letting others respond

  • Inappropriate situational reactions

  • Repetitive speech or actions

  • Intense interest in one subject or detail

  • Disturbance by changes in routine

  • Greater or diminished sensitivity to sensory input (light, noise, color, temperature, etc.)

  • Losing skills or language he or she once had

Treatment

While there is no medical cure for ASD, early intervention by family and healthcare professionals is important. ASD is most often treated with prescribed medication to help control symptoms, behavioral therapy, educational therapy, family therapy, or combination of all four. ASD is diagnosed by a healthcare professional analyzing an individual's behavior and development. Individuals with ASD may go on to live on their own and live relatively normal lives or may require lifetime care depending on the severity of their condition.

Prevention

Due to the nature and unknown causation of ASD, there are no methods to prevent this disorder other than minimizing risk by maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle, especially during pregnancy.

Resources

American Psychiatric Association. (2018, August). What is autism spectrum disorder? https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/autism/what-is-autism-spectrum-disorder 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020, March 25). What is autism spectrum disorder? https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/facts.html 

Mayo Clinic Staff. (2018, January 06). Autism spectrum disorder. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/autism-spectrum-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20352928 

The National Institute of Mental Health. (2018, March). Autism spectrum disorder. National Institutes of Health. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/autism-spectrum-disorders-asd/index.shtml#part_145438