Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?
A: Autism is a neurobiological, lifelong developmental disorder, which means it is a disorder of the nervous system caused by genetic, metabolic, or other biological factors. Autism typically becomes apparent during a child's first three years; often within the first 12 to 18 months.
Q: What causes autism?
A: There is no known cause. Many researchers believe autism is the result of a combination of environmental and genetic factors. However, autism research has increased over the past five years, and recent studies have shown promising links between such things as areas of the brain and autism. For a general overview of autism and theoretical causes, visit About Autism at the Autism Society of America.
Q: What are symptoms of autism?
A: Autism affects brain functioning, which interferes with the normal development of reasoning, behavior, social interaction and communication. Studies have shown that early diagnosis and intervention lead to significantly better outcomes.
Some signs to look for include:
- Lack of or delay in spoken language
- Repetitive use of language and/or motor mannerisms (e.g., hand-flapping, twirling objects)
- Little or no eye contact
- Lack of interest in peer relationships
- Lack of spontaneous or make-believe play
- Persistent fixation on parts of objects
Q: Why is early intervention so important?
A: Early intervention is defined as services delivered to children from birth to age 3, and research shows that it has a dramatic impact on reducing the symptoms of autism spectrum disorders. Studies in early childhood development have shown that the youngest brains are the most flexible. In autism, we see that intensive early intervention yields a tremendous amount of progress in children by the time they enter kindergarten, often reducing the need for intensive supports.
Q: Are "alternative" treatments such as diets, and vitamins worth looking into?
A: To date, solid research supports behavioral intervention as an effective method improving functioning in individuals with autism. No other treatments have proven effective.
Q: Is there a cure for autism?
A: While there is no cure for autism and children do not "outgrow" it, research indicates that children who participate in ABA programming, especially early on, show significant progress.
Q: I suspect my child has autism. How do I arrange for an evaluation or assessment?
A: Contact Highlands Center for Autism at (606) 889-6115 or firstname.lastname@example.org for guidance with this process.
Q: How can I learn more about the services provided at the Highlands Center for Autism?
A: To find out more information about the services provided at our Center call (606) 889-6115 or email email@example.com
Q: What will these services cost?
A: The costs of autism treatment vary, but are generally similar to the costs of psychological care. Some services, particularly diagnostic evaluations or clinic-based behavioral therapy, may be covered by health insurance. Check with your health plan for specific coverage policies. Highlands Center for Autism offers financial assistance. For guidelines and an application, call (606) 889-6115 or email firstname.lastname@example.org