Autism Spectrum Disorders

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The autism spectrum disorders are a family of disorders that affects an individual’s brain and ways of thinking and acting (Kail & Cavanaugh, 2016). Autism is the most serious and common of the disorders. This usually affects those diagnosed with the disorder in ways like, language skills that develop later in life and speech that mimics that of what is spoken to him/her (Kail & Cavanaugh, 2016).

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Public awareness of autism spectrum disorder is increasing as people become more aware of the mental disability. The over referral of children to ASD led many healthcare professionals to begin screening patients who were actually thought to have autism (Monteiro, 2015). In the study that was conducted, only 214 of the 348 were found to actually be diagnosed as autistic (Monteiro, 2105). In 2006, the American Academy of Pediatrics set new standards to diagnosing people as autistic (Monteiro, 2015). These changes include things such as surveillance of the child to determine any risk factors, screening at 9, 18, 24, and 30 months. At ages 24 and 30 months and additional screening was added to detect certain aspects of autism (Monteiro, 2015).

For many years autism was thought to be a totally psychological disorder (Autism Treatment Trust, 2013), but now, many healthcare professionals have found that autistic patients have many underlying issues that coincide with autism (Celia, 2016). According to the article, “autistic patients are some of the most difficult patients that a healthcare professional can care for (Celia, 2016). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2016), predicts that 1 in every 68 children are affected by autism and that 1 of every 48 children are male (Celia, 2016). In recent times, medical professionals have found many conditions that are concurrent with the autism disorder. Sleep disorders have been found to affect nearly 80% of people diagnosed with autism (Bauman, 2010; Malow et al, 2012). The cause for the sleep disorders affecting autistic patients is unknown, but many professionals believe that it could be due to the hormone melatonin and the lack of the production due to the disorder (Celia, 2016). Immunologic issues have also been found to affect those diagnosed as autistic. Many autistic patients have been recorded as having food and environmental allergies (Autism Treatment Trust, 2013), which leads many healthcare professionals to believe that autistic patients have an underlying immune system dysfunction (Celia, 2016). According to studies lead by the Autism Treatment Trust (2013), patients that are diagnosed as autistic more than often suffer from gastrointestinal disorders. This could be in part to allergies that the individual have to certain foods and others believe that it is due to the individual eating things that cause irritation and pain to the abdomen (Autism Treatment Trust, 2013). Lastly, autistic patients have been found to have neurological issues.

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