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Autism

Sean A. Flynn, MD, FAAP -  - Pediatrician

Step By Step Pediatrics, PC

Sean A. Flynn, MD, FAAP

Pediatrician located in Bloomfield, NJ

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is one of the hardest conditions to diagnose and manage because ASD is a catchall phrase for numerous developmental disorders that range in degrees and severity. If you suspect your child may fall somewhere on the autism spectrum, make an appoint with Dr. Sean Flynn, the pediatrician at Step by Step Pediatrics, PC, in Bloomfield, New Jersey, to get started on a comprehensive diagnosis.

Autism Q & A

What is autism?

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) describes a group of developmental disorders that encompass a broad range of symptoms, skills, and varying levels of disability, which is why autism is described as a spectrum.

The main effect ASD has on the lives of those who have autism is difficulty with social behaviors, especially communication and interaction. Also, autistic children often display repetitive or restrictive behaviors that may hamper daily function.

What makes ASD unique is that in addition to the challenges it presents, it’s also commonly associated with many strengths, such as above-average intelligence, superior memory, and excellence in math, science, music, and art.

The cause of autism is unclear, but researchers believe that several factors play an integral role in the onset of the disorder, such as:

  • Genetics
  • Gender — boys are more likely than girls to be affected
  • Having older parents
  • Having a sibling with ASD

What are the signs and symptoms of autism?

Since ASD describes such a wide range and degree of symptoms and behaviors, it’s a tough disorder to diagnose. If your child shows any of the following behaviors, it may be worth getting screened for ASD:

Repetitive or Restrictive behaviors

  • Repeating behaviors or unusual behaviors
  • Overly focused interest on objects
  • Having an intense interest in certain areas, such as numbers, facts, or details

Social communication and interaction

  • Getting agitated with a change in routine
  • Becoming upset in a new environment
  • Little to no eye contact
  • Looking and listening to people less frequently
  • Little sharing of enjoyment
  • Repeating words or phrases
  • Slow, or no, response to being called
  • Having difficulty conversing
  • Using an odd tone of voice that may be overly animated or flat
  • Using facial expressions or gestures that do not relate to what is being discussed

If you notice any of these behaviors in your child over an extended period, make an appointment with Dr. Flynn to discuss an ASD screening.

What are the treatments for ASD?

Since ASD involves such a wide range of severity and degrees, there is no one effective treatment. Diagnosing ASD early on will help your child get the intervention he needs to modify and learn new behaviors that will serve him well into adulthood.

To learn more about the available therapies for children with ASD, sit down with Dr. Flynn to discuss your options.