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What is Autism?

AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER

The range and severity of symptoms can vary widely. Common symptoms include difficulty with communication, difficulty with social interactions, obsessive interests, and repetitive behaviors. Early recognition, as well as behavioral, educational, and family therapies may reduce symptoms and support development and learning.

"When you meet one person with autism, you have met one person with autism."

SIGNS OF SPEECH AND LANGUAGE DIFFICULTIES

The following are some signs of autism, however not all signs may be present in every child.

  • Speaks in an abnormal tone of voice, or with an odd rhythm or pitch
  • Repeats the same words or phrases over and over, often without communicative intent
  • Responds to a question by repeating it, rather than answering it
  • Uses language incorrectly (grammatical errors, wrong words) or refers to him or herself in the third person
  • Has difficulty communicating needs or desires
  • Doesn’t understand simple directions, statements, or questions
  • Takes what is said too literally (misses undertones of humor, irony, and sarcasm)

Children with autism spectrum disorder have difficulty with speech and language. Often, they start talking late.

SIGNS OF SPEECH AND LANGUAGE DIFFICULTIES

The following are some signs of autism, however not all signs may be present in every child.

  • Speaks in an abnormal tone of voice, or with an odd rhythm or pitch
  • Repeats the same words or phrases over and over, often without communicative intent
  • Responds to a question by repeating it, rather than answering it
  • Uses language incorrectly (grammatical errors, wrong words) or refers to him or herself in the third person
  • Has difficulty communicating needs or desires
  • Doesn’t understand simple directions, statements, or questions
  • Takes what is said too literally (misses undertones of humor, irony, and sarcasm)

Children with autism spectrum disorder have difficulty with speech and language. Often, they start talking late.

SIGNS OF SOCIAL DIFFICULTIES

The following are some signs of autism, however not all signs may be present in every child.

  • Unusual or inappropriate body language, gestures, and facial expressions (e.g. avoiding eye contact or using facial expressions that don’t match what he or she is saying)
  • Lack of interest in other people or in sharing interests or achievements (e.g. showing you a drawing, pointing to a bird)
  • Unlikely to approach others or to pursue social interaction; comes across as aloof and detached; prefers to be alone
  • Difficulty understanding other people’s feelings, reactions, and nonverbal cues
  • Resistance to being touched
  • Difficulty or failure to make friends with children the same age

Basic social interaction can be difficult for children with autism spectrum disorder. Many kids on the autism spectrum can appear to live in their own world at times, aloof and detached from others.

SIGNS OF RESTRICTIVE, REPETITIVE BEHAVIORS

The following are some signs of autism, however not all signs may be present in every child.

  • Repetitive body movements (hand flapping, rocking, spinning); moving constantly
  • Obsessive attachment to unusual objects (rubber bands, keys, light switches)
  • Preoccupation with a narrow topic of interest, sometimes involving numbers or symbols (maps, license plates, sports statistics)
  • A strong need for sameness, order, and routines (e.g. lines up toys, follows a rigid schedule).
  • Gets upset by change in their routine or environment.
  • Clumsiness, abnormal posture, or odd ways of moving
  • Fascinated by spinning objects, moving pieces, or parts of toys (e.g. spinning the wheels on a race car, instead of playing with the whole car)
  • Hyper- or hypo-reactive to sensory input (e.g. reacts badly to certain sounds or textures, seeming indifference to temperature or pain)

Children with autism spectrum disorder are often restricted, inflexible, and even obsessive in their behaviors, activities, and interests.

RELATED SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER

While not part of autism’s official diagnostic criteria, children with autism spectrum disorders often suffer from one or more of the following problems:

Sensory Problems - Many children with autism spectrum disorders either under react or overreact to sensory stimuli. At times they may ignore people speaking to them, even to the point of appearing deaf. However, at other times they may be disturbed by even the softest sounds. Sudden noises such as a ringing telephone can be upsetting, and they may respond by covering their ears and making repetitive noises to drown out the offending sound. Children on the autism spectrum also tend to be highly sensitive to touch and to texture. They may cringe at a pat on the back or the feel of certain fabric against their skin.

Emotional Difficulties - Children with autism spectrum disorders may have difficulty regulating their emotions or expressing them appropriately. For instance, your child may start to yell, cry, or laugh hysterically for no apparent reason. When stressed, he or she may exhibit disruptive or even aggressive behavior (breaking things, hitting others, or harming him or herself). The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities also notes that kids with ASD may be unfazed by real dangers like moving vehicles or heights, yet be terrified of harmless objects such as a stuffed animal.

Uneven Cognitive Abilities - ASD occurs at all intelligence levels. However, even kids with normal to high intelligence often have unevenly developed cognitive skills. Not surprisingly, verbal skills tend to be weaker than nonverbal skills. In addition, children with Autism spectrum disorder typically do well on tasks involving immediate memory or visual skills, while tasks involving symbolic or abstract thinking are more difficult.

Local Psychological Testing Facilities In-Network with BCBSLA

BCBS of LA requires an Autism Spectrum Disorder Diagnostic Assessment be provided to authorize ABA therapy. This assessment must include the following: ADOS, Adaptive testing (ex. Vineland), and Cognitive testing (ex. Battelle, Mullen)

Lafayette Area

  • *Aspire Behavioral Health Center132 Demanade BoulevardLafayette, LA 70503Phone: (337) 534-8679 Fax: 337-534-0027
  • *Friedberg Psychology Practice2020 W. Pinhook Rd., Suite 304,Lafayette, LA 70508Phone: (337) 504-3966 Fax: 337-504-3964
  • *Comprehensive Behavioral Health Center1602 West Pinhook Rd. Suite 303Lafayette, La. 70508Phone: (337) 534-4214 Fax: 337-484-1405

Shreveport Area

Sulphur Area

  • *Behavioral Health Clinic2500 Maplewood Dr., Suites 1 & 2Sulphur, La. 70663Phone: (337) 625-5766 Fax: 225-208-1056(Also in network with LHCC, Aetna, & UHC Medicaid MCOs)

*St. Nicholas Center for Children is not affiliated with these facilities. We were informed that they are in-network providers with BCBS. Please verify this information when you contact them. For a complete list of in network providers please contact your Insurance Carrier. This list is for informational reference use only, and is not a recommendation of care.

Lake Charles Area

  • **Counseling Services of SWLA2711 Ernest St, Lake Charles, LAPhone: (337) 431-7194

**St. Nicholas Center is not affiliated with Counseling Services of SWLA. They have a cash price for the assessment and we are unaware if they participate in any insurance networks.

Families helping Families

Provides education, support, and advocacy skills to those touched by the disability.

https://fhfswla.org337-436-2570

Lake Charles Clinical Trials

Lake Charles Clinical Trials is an experienced, dedicated clinical research site conducting phase II - IV clinical trials in Southwestern Louisiana since 2001. The clinical trials test investigational drug treatments developed by pharmaceutical companies, some targeting autism

Imperial Calcasieu

The human servces authority provides Southwest LA with behavioral health and developmental disability services.

www.imcalhsa.org337-475-3100

Pupil Appraisal

In order to get your child services in school, you need the district to perform an evaluation. This is different than a medical diagnosis

337-217-4300 ex 3695

Exceptional Lives

Online resource directory and how-to guides for families need disability information.

exceptionallives.org/la844-354-1212

Direct Care Inc.

Provide in-home supports and services to persons with autism and other developmental disabilities.

www.directcareinc.com337-436-5001

Autism Services of SWLA

Provide housing, supports and services to persons with autism who are at least 18 years of age.

www.autismservicesswla.com337-436-5001

Autism Society of SWLA

Provide support, services and opportunities to persons with autism and their families in the following parishes: Calcasieu, Cameron, Beauregard, Jeff Davis, Allen, and Vernon.

www.autismsocietyswla.com337-855-2068
info@stnickcenter.org
337 491 0800
2519 Ryan Street Lake Charles, LA 70601
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