Autism Spectrum Disorders Clinic for Children and Adults
There’s a lot of talk about autism spectrum disorders (ASD, formerly referred to as autism, Asperger’s and/or PDD-NOS) these days – it’s in the news, in magazines, and seems to be on the rise with children. The number of adults diagnosed with ASD is also increasing due to more effective diagnosis. If you are concerned about differences in you or your child’s language, speech, behavior, and social skills when compared to other children or adults, ASD should be considered.
Autism is a spectrum disorder, which means that it affects children and adults in different ways, with varying degrees of severity, and at different times in their development. In other words, “If you have seen one person with ASD, you have seen one person”. It can include delays in several areas of functioning, including social functioning, communication skills, motor skills, and overall intellectual potential.
ASD can generally be identified between 18 months and 3 years of age. Some parents indicate that their child “doesn’t hear them” or that their child who once had a vocabulary now speaks little to no words at all. Other adults or children may have an area of unusual ability, such as extensive vocabulary or reading skills, for their age level. This can be a perplexing situation for parents who want their children to fit in socially and grow intellectually. It an also cause distress for adults who struggle at work, have limited social interactions or may be perceived as somewhat odd or eccentric.
Children and adults with ASD frequently experience academic or work interference and executive function difficulties, including:
- initiating, planning, and perspective taking
- reasoning and abstract thinking
- forming relationships with peers
- emotional challenges due to anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem
Autism impacts the entire family, so understanding the disorder through an autism spectrum disorder evaluation or neuropsychological assessment and appropriate intervention planning is a great first step. Intervention could include help with language and communication, friendships, sensory issues, behavior and developing thinking skills. Assessment can also help guide requests to obtain reasonable accommodations for employment, as well as help adults find services and/or assistance within the local community.
Our clinic is proud to highlight Dr. Roger Lauer’s involvement in developing the MyTurn program coordinated through the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum and AIM High School. MyTurn is a community-wide program for families affected by ASD to attend sensory-friendly events in a crowd-free environment. Dr. Lauer has played an integral part in training staff at participating MyTurn partners including the following: