As a parent, you want to make sure your child can live a healthy life. But did you know an estimated 1 in every 36 children will be diagnosed with autism before age 8? If your child is diagnosed, that can be a life-changing experience for both you and your child. You’ll want to make sure your child receives support and resources, but you may not know where to start. Fear not! In this guide, you’ll find the guidance you and your family need to begin to understand autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Hand-in-hand, let us show you how you can understand autism and how you can help your child thrive. 

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Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorder 

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental condition. It can affect people in different ways, but it is associated with challenges in social interaction, communication, and behavior. ASD often appears at an early age, with some symptoms appearing within the first 12 months of a child’s life. However, some identifiers of autism may not be prevalent until 24 months or older. While autism is a lifelong condition, there are treatment options to help manage it.   

Recognizing the Signs of Autism 

The CDC estimated an average of 1 in every 36 8-year-old child had some level of ASD in 2020. When it comes to your child, early diagnosis plays an important role in setting them up for success. While every child is different, here are some common signs of autism spectrum disorder: 

9 Months 
  • Doesn’t seem to recognize familiar people 
  • Doesn’t engage in Peak-a-Boo 
  • Doesn’t babble 
  • Doesn’t respond to own name 
1 Year 
  • Doesn’t crawl 
  • Doesn’t say single words like “mamma” or “dada” 
  • Doesn’t use gestures like waving or shaking head 
  • Loses skills 
2 Years 
  • Doesn’t use 2-word phrases 
  • Doesn’t copy actions of others 
  • Doesn’t follow simple instructions (“get your cup”) 
  • Doesn’t walk 
3 Years 
  • Unclear speech 
  • Can’t work simple toys (puzzles, peg boards) 
  • Doesn’t speak in sentences 
  • Doesn’t play with other children 
  • Doesn’t make eye contact 

If you identify these traits in your child, consider seeking a medical opinion. Remember, each case of autism spectrum disorder is different, so do not use this list by itself to determine if your child has autism. Always seek medical advice if you are concerned your child may have ASD.   

young boy with Autism Spectrum Disorder smiling laying on floor with foam letters and numbers

Seeking medical opinion can help your child get the care they need.

Diagnosing Autism Spectrum Disorder 

Pediatricians, psychologists, and developmental specialists play a vital role in evaluations. These professionals use standardized practices to diagnose ASD in children. 

Developmental Screening 

Developmental screening is the first step in identifying developmental concerns in children. Healthcare providers use screening tools to test key areas of development. These tools help identify children who need further evaluation for autism spectrum disorder. 

Developmental Diagnosis 

If initial screenings identify concerns, an evaluation may be recommended. This involves a closer look at the child’s developmental milestones, behavior, and so on. With their observations, healthcare professionals can make a diagnosis and develop an intervention plan. 

Seeking Help After an Autism Diagnosis 

If your child is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, what are the next steps? At Horizon Behavioral Autism Center, we understand the challenges you may be facing. That’s why we provide comprehensive support and therapy programs for children with ASD and their families. Here’s how we help: 

Individualized Therapy Programs: Our center offers unique therapy programs for every child’s needs. With thorough assessments and evaluations, we design programs specifically for your child.  

Evidence-Based Practices: We use evidence-based practices, including Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) principles, Verbal Behavior, Naturalistic Environmental Teaching (NET), and more. These are proven methods for effective therapy.  

Parent Training: We provide training to give you the necessary skills to support your child at home. We want to support you and your child at home and at Horizon.  

Collaborative Approach: Our behavior analysts work with parents and educators. Why? Effective communication and coordination promote a supportive ecosystem for your child.  

Insurance: We want our services to be accessible to families seeking support for their children with ASD. We accept insurance from most major providers, including Medicaid. 

Discover Compassionate Treatment and Support at Horizon 

As a parent, you have the power to make a difference in your child’s life. By educating yourself and providing a supportive environment, you can help your child reach their potential.  

Reach out today to learn more about Horizon Behavioral Autism Center. Additionally, explore our resources page to discover additional support available in your community.   

Remember, you are not alone. Horizon Behavioral Autism Center is here to support you every step of the way.