What is Autism? What are the signs of autism?
Autism is a disorder in the family of developmental disorders. The disorder generally appears during the first three years of a persons life. The brains normal development of social and communication skills are affected. Generally, parents become aware that something is wrong by the time a child reaches 18 months of age. Statistics show that most parents seek help by the time the child is of age two depending on the disorder.
Autism Spectrum Disorder is also known as Pervasive Developmental Disorder.
There are five types of pervasive developmental disorders:
- Autism : Children with autism may have problems with social interconnection, pretend play, and communication. They also have a limited range of activities and interests. A high incidence nearly three out of every four — children with autism also have some degree of intellectual disability. Children with autism can frequently have seizures as well as low muscle tone. They also have may have underlying anxiety and resistance to change.
- Asperger’s syndrome : Like children with autism, children with Asperger’s syndrome have difficulty with social interaction and communication. They also have a narrow range of interests. However, children with Asperger’s have average or above average intelligence and develop normally in the areas of language and cognition (the mental processes related to thinking and learning). Children with Asperger’s often have a hard time concentrating and may have poor coordination. Asperger’s is usually not recognized until children have enough language skills to show a limited focus and unusual patterns of speech.
- Childhood Disintegrative disorder : This is a very rare condition. Children with this situation begin their development normally in all areas, physical and mental. At some point, usually between 2 and 10 years of age, a child with this illness loses many of skills he or she has developed. Additionally, with the loss of social and language skills a child with deteriorating disorder may lose control of other functions, including bowel and bladder control. Not all medical scientists agree that CDD should be considered a distinct disorder separate from other disorders in what is known as the autism spectrum.
- Rett’s syndrome : Children with this very rare disorder have the symptoms associated with a PDD and also suffer problems with physical development. They generally suffer the loss of many motor or movement skills — such as walking and use of their hands — and develop poor coordination. This condition has been connected to a defect on the X chromosome, so it almost always affects girls.
- Pervasive development disorder, not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS): to refer to children who have significant problems with communication and play, and some difficulty interacting with others, but are too social to be considered autistic. It’s sometimes referred to as a milder form of autism.
Children with autism become teenagers, adults and seniors with autism.
PA Adult Autism Waiver
The State of PA has a Adult Autism Services Waiver Program. A person interested in services has to be 21 years of age or older and a resident of Pennsylvania. Priority is given to me those not enrolled in a state or federally funded programs. The diagnostic criterion requires there has to be a diagnosis in the Autistic Spectrum Disorder. They have to meet Medicaid resource and income limits, and be functionally limited. There is no time or age limit on how long one can remain in the program. The participants are analyzed each year. Loving Hearts Home Care in Erie, Warren, Crawford and Mercer Counties is a provider of care for those adults with autism. For more information on autism services and home care services please contact 1-877-652-8048.
** Resources: Web MD, PA Dept. of Welfare