Special Learning Logo Light
Autism Overview

Autism Overview

A diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) diagnosis in a child can be very difficult to accept and comprehend for family members. Feelings of desperation, depression, and helplessness are not uncommon. The first instinct parents generally have is to find a way to help their child by any means possible. It may seem unattainable in the beginning, but with the right information, tools, and timely interventions, children diagnosed with ASD can live a more complete and productive life.

With ASD, a child’s social and communicative skills are compromised due to a neurological disorder that affects the normal functions of the brain. The effect on a child diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder may vary in intensity from mild to severe depending on which spectrum of the disorder the child falls into.  What is essential for the parent to know is that is a disorder, not a disease.

Autism is a spectrum disorder, meaning that no two children with autism will present the same symptoms or experience the same severity. Children with autism may begin to show symptoms of the disorder as early as 18 months old. The disorder manifests itself in differing intensities ranging from extreme retardation to extreme intelligence.  Some children with ASD may be introverted and socially awkward or inept while others readily enjoy socializing.

With regard to helping a child with ASD, the goal is ultimately to help the child overcome his impairments in the following categories:

  • Social development
  • Self-help
  • Reception and expression of language
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Tantrums
  • Self-inflicted injuries
  • Inability to handle change

As of 2011, there is no known single treatment for autism that is effective in all cases. Unlike other disabilities, the study of ASD is still in its infancy and the full nature of the disorder is not completely understood. Even the cause of autism remains a mystery. There are several theories surrounding the cause of the disorder, such as genetic anomalies or abnormalities, stress during pregnancy, and possible side effects caused by certain medications. However, none have been proven to be the root cause of autism.

Although there are no known cures for autism, there are non-medical approaches that have been scientifically proven to effectively improve the quality of life for some children diagnosed with ASD. Applied Behavioral Analysis or ABA is one of the only evidence-based treatments that have gained credibility in helping children with autism.  The ABA approach employs a reward system to encourage and develop proper responses from children with autism.

Copyright © by Special Learning Inc. All right reserved.

No part of this article may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. For information, contact Special Learning Inc., at: contact@special-learning.com



Parent Waitlist Program


November 02, 2023 | 12pm-1pm PDT

Journey to Independence

Community-based program designed to support families on waitlist

Being an RBT for me was extremely fun because where were you going to find a place where you can be completely silly without having to worry what people thought about you? This was the only job that made me feel like I could make a dramatic difference while being myself.

I also liked to be surrounded by people that had the same goals of wanting to help kids and the teamwork made the job much easier and more enjoyable.

Change and progress was the ultimate goal for our kiddos. The early intervention program was seriously only a miracle because I saw changes in the kiddos that from day one, you wouldn’t even recognize who they were.

Changes from being able to utter 3-4 words where they can only make a syllable from when they started, the behavior decreases in which kiddo that used to engage in 30-40 0 self-harm to only half, learning how to wait during games, table work where they use to swipe and drop to the floor if they had to.

My favorite was when the parents would tell us what amazing progress they were making at home. I used to tear up and felt for these parents so much because it was already difficult for them and now, they can trust and rely on ABA and the therapists knowing their goal was ours.

By Emma Rogers, BA, RBT

Mother Child
Special Learning’s Free Hotline

This is an independent SL Hotline that is part of our VCAT service. This hotline has no connection with any other association or membership group.

Got a question you want a BCBA or other ABA expert to answer?
Fill in this form and one of our professionals will handle your question quickly and confidently. You can expect a response in 24-hours or less.