ASD is a neurobiologically-based developmental disability that emerges during a child’s first three years of life. Early symptoms may include grossly delayed language and/or motor development, atypical play, such as spinning, lining up, staring at or feeling toys, lack of peer play or friendships, stereotyped body movements, tantrums, pronounced fears, crying, screaming, sleeplessness, and noise sensitivity. Isolation inevitably sets in as appropriate social and communication skills fail to develop.
Significant deficits in language and socialization may place children with ASD at risk for developing severe behavior problems such as tantrums, aggression, and self-injury. While children with ASD fall within a large continuum of functionality and severity, most of those afflicted have difficulty achieving independence, forming stable relationships, or being free from anxiety. Many exhibit limited or no eye contact and are aloof and profoundly withdrawn.
Little is known about what causes ASD, although genetic and environmental factors have been suggested. There is no current cure for ASD, however, early and intensive intervention can help children develop skills necessary to progress to typical school settings. There is strong evidence that many children with ASD are actually able to learn as much as typically developing children, given the right environment.
Every child with ASD faces unique challenges and every family affected by ASD needs reliable support and expert guidance. With early intensive behavioural intervention, children with ASD and their families can meet ASD’s challenges and reach their maximum potential.