Where to go for help
There are clinics and hospitals that provide consultation for patients of all ages, who have or may have autism, Asperger’s disorder, or other forms of pervasive developmental disorders (PDD).
Services include diagnostic evaluation, helping families weigh intervention options and recommending treatments for problems common to patients with these diagnoses.
Clinical Services can be found in most metropolitan areas. Many clinics take some form of medical insurance for the assessment and medical diagnosis of autism.
Evaluations and Testing
The “Gold Standard” for diagnosing autism includes two assessments ADOS and the ADI-R—a structured observation of key skills by a fully-trained professional as well as an extensive developmental history interview with the person that knows the child best. The “Gold Standard” for diagnosing Autism Spectrum Disorder includes an interview with extensive developmental history intake with a parent/caregiver as well as the . The ADOS is the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule and is a structured series of interactions and observations of the child in a variety of situations and at various tasks.The ADI-R is the Autism Diagnostic Interview – Revised and is a developmental and behavioral history done by a trained professional with the parent/caregiver that takes 90-120 minutes. The Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) is the “gold standard” for assessing and diagnosing autism and pervasive developmental disorder (PDD) across ages, developmental levels, and language skills.
The Causes of Autism
Autism has no single cause. Researchers have identified a number of genes that play a role in the disorder. In some children, environmental factors also may play a role in development of the disorder. Studies of people with autism have found abnormalities in several regions of the brain, including the cerebellum, amygdala, hippocampus, septum, and mamillary bodies. Neurons in these regions appear smaller than normal and have stunted nerve fibers, which may interfere with nerve signaling. These abnormalities suggest that autism results from disruption of normal brain development early in fetal development. Other studies suggest that people with autism have abnormalities of serotonin or other signaling molecules in the brain. While these findings are intriguing, they are preliminary and require further study. The early belief that parental practices are responsible for autism has now been disproved.