What is Autism?

A developmental disorder appearing in the first three years of life, autism influences the brain’s ability to maintain normal development of communication and social abilities.

Although significant amounts of research continue to be done to identify the causes of autism, there have been very few conclusive studies defining specific causes. In Seattle, many believe that genetic factors are key in determining the developmental disability. Other factors include vaccine sensitivity, mercury poisoning, vitamin deficiencies, and diet.

Autism Symptoms

Parents typically recognize behavioral symptoms in their children when they reach 18 months of age and seek treatment between 18 months and 2 years old. Seattle autism studies have demonstrated that if implemented early, an intensive therapy program can reduce the effects of autism as a child develops. Seattle autism therapies that have been influential in this improvement include physical therapy, medications, speech-language therapy, and applied behavior analysis (ABA therapy). Symptoms often include social interaction and behavioral deficiencies, sensory and communication abnormalities. Specifically:

Communication Problems:

  • Child has difficulty beginning or maintaining conversation
  • Uses hand and face gestures instead of words
  • Slow or lack of language development
  • Incorrectly refers to themselves in sentences
  • Word repetition

Socialization Problems:

  • Prefers to be withdrawn or solitary
  • Struggles to make friends
  • Does not play interactive games
  • Lack of empathy toward others
  • Treats other people like objects

Behavioral Problems:

  • Throws tantrums
  • Focuses too much on individual tasks
  • Short attention span
  • Overactive or excessively passive
  • Aggression toward other people

Sensory Problems:

  • Not startled by loud noises
  • Low or heightened sense of smell, taste, hearing, or sight
  • Low or heightened response to pain
  • Physical contact is over stimulating
  • Touches face, mouth, and other objects frequently

Seattle Autism Treatment Options

Seattle ABA therapy directs behavior with positive reinforcement techniques used over many discrete trials. Different children respond better to different behavior reinforcers. Some children try their hardest to get a favorite snack food, others a beloved game, and still others like hugs or tickling. The type and frequency of reinforcement can change throughout the therapy. Eventually, children respond well to praise alone, or to a token reward system where they exchange a certain amount of tokens for a reward. These methods have proven extremely effective autism treatment in Seattle and surrounding areas. Primarily conducting Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy with toddlers and elementary school students who have autism spectrum disorders and other developmental disabilities, our autism therapists will also work with older children and young adults if there is need.

For more information or to learn how one of our therapists can conduct autism treatment for your family, please contact us today. We look forward to working with you and your family!