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Autistic Disorder

Autistic Disorder

classic Autism Disorder is one of the classifications under the umbrella of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). It is also referred to as Early Infantile Autism, Childhood Autism, or Kanner’s Autism.  To be able to classify a child within this disorder, there has to be the presence of impairments from three major areas: Social Interaction, communication, and presence of stereotyped behaviors.  (American Psychiatric Association, 2000)

As early as 18 months, you may be able to see red flags which could be symptoms of Autistic Disorder. One of the most obvious behaviors that parents can observe is a child’s way of interacting with other children and family members. Impairment in this area is one of the markers that should serve as an alarm.

Indications of Social Interaction Impairment

If at least two among these are observed with a child, you should consult a professional:

  • Does not interact with other children or even family members. Example: Preference to be alone despite the presence of other children playing.
  • Do not use normal body gestures such as eye contact, body language, or facial expressions.
  • Does not show, bring or even point to objects of interest.
  • Do not reciprocate emotional and social actions. Examples: Hugging nor kissing parents etc., does not turn when called by 12 months of age.

Indications of Communication Impairment

Even one of the following deficiencies is reasonable cause for alarm:

  • Obvious delay or lack of spoken language yet does not compensate by using gestures. Examples: Less than a dozen-word vocabulary at 18 months or does not point at 15 months.
  • If a child can speak but cannot start nor continue a conversation.
  • Uses echolalia or repetitive words.
  • Does not play make-believe or cannot mimic or copy a favorite cartoon or character.

Indications of Repetitive or Stereotyped Behaviors

Any of the following are early signs of ASD:

  • An unusual preoccupation with a certain part of an object.
  • Repetitive movements such as hand flapping, complex body movements, finger-snapping, etc.
  • Abnormal preoccupation with one activity or pattern of behavior.

If there are six of the above examples observed in your child, immediate diagnosis by a medical professional is highly advised. As autism does not have a single treatment, early intervention is the best option.

There are a number of recommended interventions best given to a young child diagnosed with autistic disorders. One of them is Applied Behavioral Analysis therapy or ABA therapy. It is the most widely used and with the highest ratio of proven results for diagnosed children. Special Learning has resources and tools that incorporate ABA techniques you may use to help your child live a complete and fulfilling life.


American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th Ed., Text Revision). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing, Inc.

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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
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