Developmental disorders affect every part of the individual’s and their loved ones’ life. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) comes in various shapes and sizes, making everyone’s experience different. It also means that where you fall on the spectrum plays a part in how ASD affects everyday life. 

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

ASD “is a complex neurological and developmental disorder that begins early in life and affects how a person acts and interacts with others, communicates, and learns,” according to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). People with this disorder can have different symptoms and different severity of symptoms, which is why it is on a spectrum. 

Signs and Symptoms of ASD

Corner Canyon Health Centers will help educate you about the signs and symptoms of ASD. This will be beneficial if or when signs occur with you or a loved one. Some interaction symptoms include: 

  • Difficulty making and maintaining eye contact
  • Seeming indifferent or absent during a conversation
  • Not sharing interests 
  • Unresponsive to people calling your name
  • Trouble participating in small talk
  • Mismatched body language with what you are trying to communicate
  • Hard to change to match the social situation
  • Difficulty understanding other’s point of view when it contradicts your own
  • Trouble understanding sarcasm and social cues
  • Difficulty forming relationships

Restrictive Behavior Symptoms

  • Repeating a behavior or phrase
  • Conducting in behavior seen as strange
  • Intense interest in a particular topic
  • Unable to adapt to changes in your routine
  • Sensitivity to sensory input, such as certain textures, sounds, and smells

Risk Factors

  • Older parents
  • Siblings with ASD
  • Some genetic conditions
  • Low birth weight

Diagnosing ASD

Being diagnosed with ASD allows you to be validated in your suspicions. It can help you understand why they may not behave the same as others in the same situation. The diagnosis also allows you to get supportive measures to help you with daily function and any accommodations you may need.

How ASD Affects Young Children

Screenings through a primary doctor occur around 18 and 24 months of age. The primary doctor will monitor to ensure developmental milestones are met within a certain time frame. Evaluation by a team of professionals that specialize in ASD includes:

  • Neurological exam
  • Cognitive, speech, and language ability assessment
  • Behavior monitoring
  • Interviews with the caregiver to know what behaviors they see
  • Analysis of their ability to perform daily tasks that are associated with their age group
  • Intake of family history
  • Other diagnostic tests to determine if there is another condition or co-occurring conditions

Older Children, Adolescents, and Adults

For older children and adolescents, teachers bring it to the attention of the parent, school counselor, and the special education team. Parents discuss communication and social behavior challenges with the primary care provider. For adults:

  • Evaluation by a mental health professional with ASD experience. They will analyze social situations, unusual behavior, and sensory sensitivities.
  • Conversations with other caregivers, friends, and family members will determine the severity of the behavior.

Finding Treatment for ASD

Corner Canyon Health Centers provides treatment for ASD to help relieve symptoms of the disorder.

  • Behavioral: Early intervention can help relieve and stop the worsening of behavioral and communication symptoms.
  • Medications: Antipsychotics can be used to treat some behavioral difficulties.

How ASD Affects Daily Life

The severity of your ASD can determine your ability to perform daily activities and function within society in many ways. It can impact your ability to feed, advocate, and dress. 

You may have difficulties getting and keeping a job because of your effect and/or behavior. This may mean you are limited in your opportunities because you can’t do different things every day or involve a lot of interaction with people. 

It may be hard for you to make friends because of your trouble understanding social cues, participating in social events, and/or communicating. 

Depending on how early it is diagnosed and the severity, you may have speech and language delays that make it hard to discuss what you need or want with others. This can also make it difficult for you to tell someone you are uncomfortable or in a situation you need help with.

ASD can be an isolating diagnosis, which can lead to mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression. This can make it even harder for you to understand, communicate, and cope with your emotions.

You can find it difficult to even leave your home depending on what kind and the severity of your sensory sensitivity. The noises of the world, school, and work can all affect your ASD. 

How ASD Affects Family Relationships

An ASD diagnosis can impact your family relationships. It can make siblings feel overprotective of you or make them overwhelmed and resentful. They may feel overprotective because they want to keep you safe and feel that your disorder means you need more protection. They may feel overwhelmed and resentful because your parents have to pay more attention and spend more time with you than them, making them feel less important and forgotten.

Autism spectrum disorder ranges in severity and impacts daily function. A variety of factors work in determining where you fall on the spectrum. These include things like mental capabilities and physical needs. At Corner Canyon Health Centers, we understand that where you fall on the spectrum can help determine if you can live alone, what jobs you can have, and what assistance you may need to better function in daily life. It can be a good thing to know where you are. That way, you are seeking out the right opportunities and getting the assistance you need and deserve. You are not alone. There are people that want to help you. For additional help, call us today at (877) 717-6237

Liz Lund, MPA

Liz is originally from lush green Washington State. She is a life enthusiast and a huge fan of people. Liz has always loved learning why people are the way they are. She moved to UT in 2013 and completed her bachelors degree in Psychology in 2016. After college Liz worked at a residential treatment center and found that she was not only passionate about people, but also administration. Liz is recently finished her MPA in April 2022. Liz loves serving people and is excited and looking forward to learning about; and from our clients here at Corner Canyon.
When Liz is not busy working she love being outdoors, eating ice cream, taking naps, and spending time with her precious baby girl and sweet husband.