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OVERVIEW OF AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERS. Created by Autism New Jersey, 2009. Autism New Jersey. Formerly COSAC (The New Jersey Center for Outreach and Services for the Autism Community) A non-profit membership organization since 1965 Serving the entire state

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overview of autism spectrum disorders

OVERVIEW OF AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERS

Created by Autism New Jersey, 2009

autism new jersey
Autism New Jersey
  • Formerly COSAC (The New Jersey Center for Outreach and Services for the Autism Community)
  • A non-profit membership organization since 1965
  • Serving the entire state
  • Provides information, support, and advocacy for both families and professionals

For reprint permission, please contact 1.800.4AUTISM

providing information
Providing Information
  • Helpline (1.800.4AUTISM)
  • Website (www.autismnj.org)
  • Referral lists of service providers
  • Free parent trainings
  • Professional development workshops
  • Annual conference (October 8-10, 2009)

For reprint permission, please contact 1.800.4AUTISM

providing support
Providing Support
  • From the initial diagnosis through the lifespan
  • Helpline
  • Parent support groups
  • Sibling pen pal program

For reprint permission, please contact 1.800.4AUTISM

providing advocacy
Providing Advocacy
  • Educational rights
  • New legislation
    • First Responders Law
    • Currently working on adult initiatives and insurance coverage

For reprint permission, please contact 1.800.4AUTISM

what are autism spectrum disorders
What are Autism Spectrum Disorders?
  • Neurobiological disorders that are evident in a person’s behavior
  • Impaired social interaction, communication, and behavior
  • Affect approximately 1 in 94 children in New Jersey
  • 4-5 times more common in males
  • Usually diagnosed in early childhood

For reprint permission, please contact 1.800.4AUTISM

spectrum a broad sequence or range of related qualities ideas or activities 1
“Spectrum: A broad sequence or range of related qualities, ideas, or activities”1
  • Wide range of characteristics among different individuals as well as over one individual’s lifetime
  • “When you have met an individual with autism, you have met oneindividual with autism.” (Stephen Shore, a person on the spectrum)

1 American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition, 2000.

For reprint permission, please contact 1.800.4AUTISM

difficulties in social interaction
Difficulties in Social Interaction
  • Many don’t spontaneously seek to share information or enjoyment
  • Impaired understanding of nonverbal cues (body language, facial expressions, eye contact, gestures, etc.)
  • Trouble with seeing other people’s perspectives
  • Difficulty developing peer relationships

For reprint permission, please contact 1.800.4AUTISM

difficulties in communication
Difficulties in Communication
  • Delay in, or lack of, spoken language
    • May instead use single words, picture exchange, sign language, or a voice output device
  • Difficulty initiating or sustaining conversation
  • Literal interpretation of language
  • Unusual tone, pitch, and inflection

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unusual behaviors
Unusual Behaviors
  • Preoccupation with certain interests
  • Resistance to changes in routine
  • Lack of creative play (focused on routine or parts of objects instead)
  • Atypical reactions to sensory stimuli
  • Seemingly odd, repetitive movements

For reprint permission, please contact 1.800.4AUTISM

variations in autism
Variations in Autism

Tendency to spin or line up objects

Oversensitivity to noise

Extreme passivity

Difficulty socializing with other people

Unusual attachment to objects

No fear of real dangers

Apparent insensitivity to pain

May appear to be deaf

Physical overactivity

Resistance to changes in routine

Inappropriate laughter

Poor eye contact

Oversensitivity to pain/touch

Apparent disinterest in other people

Echolalia

Uneven skill level across areas

Odd play habits

For reprint permission, please contact 1.800.4AUTISM

what causes autism
What Causes Autism?
  • At this time, the cause of autism is unknown.
  • Current research strongly suggests that autism is a genetic disorder, possibly triggered by environmental factors yet to be determined.
    • There is nothing parents do or don’t do that causes their children to have autism.

For reprint permission, please contact 1.800.4AUTISM

how is autism diagnosed
How is Autism Diagnosed?
  • Many parents first suspect a problem when their child does not reach developmental milestones.
    • Examples:
      • Smiling back at parents at 4 months
      • Using gestures at 12 months
      • Turning when name called at 12 months
      • Saying at least 3 words at 15 months
      • Simple pretend play at 18 months
      • 2-word combinations at 24 months
      • Enjoying playing with other children at 24 months

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www.firstsigns.org

how is autism diagnosed14
How is Autism Diagnosed?
  • Currently, no medical tests can diagnose autism
  • Diagnosis must be based on observations of the child’s behavior by a trained diagnostician ( a neurologist or developmental pediatrician)

For reprint permission, please contact 1.800.4AUTISM

slide15

PERVASIVE DEVELOPMENTAL

DISORDERS

Others

Childhood Disintegrative

Disorder

Autism Spectrum Disorders

Rett’s Disorder

Autism

(Autistic Disorder)

Asperger’s Disorder

Pervasive Developmental Disorder

Not Otherwise Specified (PDDNOS)

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is autism treatable
Is Autism Treatable?
  • While there is no cure, early diagnosis and appropriate treatment can greatly improve abilities and quality of life.
  • Both children and adults with autism can learn new skills through highly structured, specialized educational programs.
    • Teaching must be individualized to the specific needs of the student and delivered in a consistent, comprehensive, and coordinated way.

For reprint permission, please contact 1.800.4AUTISM

possible associated features
Possible Associated Features
  • Approximately 70% have some degree of cognitive impairment
  • Less than 2% have savant abilities in math, art, and music
  • One-third develop seizures

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slide18
Here’s how you can help…

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inclusion means
Inclusion means…
  • Individuals with developmental disabilities are exposed to the same experiences as neurotypical individuals
  • “Being inthe community is not the same as being part of the community.”

Bill Gaventa & Sue Henshaw

  • It is important to be welcoming and understanding so these individuals can have great opportunities to develop new skills and learn to enjoy themselves in different surroundings.

For reprint permission, please contact 1.800.4AUTISM

interacting with individuals with autism spectrum disorders
Interacting with Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Follow the lead of parents or others who know the person well
  • Consistently praise desired behavior
  • Ignore unusual behavior that is not harmful
  • Keep your language simple and clear
  • Expect that you may need to wait a little longer for a response
  • If you give a direction, provide extra cues like pointing at the object or modeling the task

For reprint permission, please contact 1.800.4AUTISM

autism ambassadors
Autism Ambassadors
  • April is Autism Awareness Month
  • Contact Autism New Jersey to receive information about becoming an Autism Ambassador
    • You’ll receive a free packet of activities you can do to raise funds or promote awareness.
    • Further details are at www.autismnj.org/cosac2/ambassador
    • Contact aamonth@autismnj.org or 1.800.4AUTISM

For reprint permission, please contact 1.800.4AUTISM

for further information please contact
For further information, please contact…
  • information@autismnj.org
  • 1.800.4AUTISM

THANK YOU!

For reprint permission, please contact 1.800.4AUTISM