What is Autism?

Developmental Milestones

The CDC has released a list of behaviors that children should do by a certain age. Children with autism have developmental delays and often do not meet this timeline. SOS accommodates your child's individual needs and helps them accomplish these developmental goals to their highest ability.

Click on the age of your child to see the neuro-typical milestones:

Download the Milestone Checklists

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that is caused by abnormalities in brain structure or function. A child with ASD can be described as someone who has deficits in social skills, communication skills, and restricted/repetitive patterns of behavior. The CDC estimates that 1 in 68 American children have autism. It is 5 times more common for boys to have autism than girls.

Symptoms of ASD begin during early childhood and last throughout their lifetime. Depending on the severity, autism can effect people in different ways. It is common for those with autism to have difficulty regulating emotions, be seen as socially awkward, or have speech delays. Many children with autism often prefer to play alone, do not understand sarcasm/jokes, and have difficulty with empathy. Some children affected by autism have destructive behaviors (such as tantrums or aggression) that may prevent them from attending a mainstream school, having a job, or living independently.

Just as individuals with autism face a variety of difficulties, some may have distinctive strengths. Although not all children have special talents, individuals with autism may have exceptional skills in math, music, art and reading. Children with ASD tend to enjoy following rules and are honest and truthful.

What Causes Autism?

In the 1943, Dr. Leo Kanner (the psychiatrist who first described the condition) wrongfully believed that autism was caused by cold, unloving mothers. Since then, many confusing and often competing theories have been proposed to explain ASD. In the 1990s, a heavily publicized research study suggested vaccines were to blame. While this theory is still referenced to this day, it has been thoroughly discredited by the scientific community.

In truth, things are much more complicated, and no single mechanism for autism has been confirmed. Since 2010, scientists have identified more than 100 autism risk genes. They now believe that autism is caused by a complex interaction of genetic predisposition and environmental influences.

What Can Treat Autism?

To read more details about Autism Spectrum Disorder, click here to view the Tool Kit for parents of newly diagnosed children created by the Autism Speaks organization.

No one can "outgrow" Autism Spectrum Disorder. When left untreated, the lack of communication and social skills can result in the inability to keep a job or maintain relationships. Destructive or self-injurious behaviors prevent independent living.

Fortunately, most symptoms can be managed. In order for a child with autism to behave like his neuro-typical peers, he has to be taught how to do it. A typical school does not offer these specialized language and social skills lessons. A child with autism must receive therapy by a specially trained behavioral therapist. Every child has a different result, but therapy can provide a child with autism with the opportunity to have a productive, independent life.

Where Can I Get Therapy?

Success On The Spectrum (SOS) offers Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Therapy to children (ages 20 months - 12 years) diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Our experienced Board Certified Behavioral Analysts will create a customized treatment plan that accommodates the individual needs of your child in order to effectively reduce undesirable behaviors and improve life skills.

At SOS, we believe that the first (and most difficult) barrier to overcome is the wall of silence between a child with autism and his parents. For this reason, we are especially devoted to fostering effective communication skills. It is our sincere wish that after receiving therapy at SOS, your child will become indistinguishable from their same-age peers and able to fully participate in a mainstream school. We want to see them play happily with other children and make good grades! We want them to grow into responsible, independent adults and have families of their own!

When they succeed, we succeed!