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Is your child having trouble learning to talk or making eye contact? These are two of the early signs of a group of developmental disorders known as autism spectrum disorder (ASD). At Mercy, we understand that early autism diagnosis along with developmental therapy can have a positive impact on your child’s life.
ASD covers a range of developmental disorders which affect a child’s social abilities. The spectrum includes mild, moderate and severe autism. Because ASD sits on a spectrum, there are many different symptoms and skills that your child might show. Some children have milder symptoms than others.
The first signs of ASD often appear by the age of 3 and last throughout a person’s life. It’s important to know that they won’t outgrow it – ASD is a part of who they are. But therapy can help ease some symptoms and help your child engage socially.
You’re not alone. Other parents of autistic children offer their advice here.
Autism can show a variety of symptoms. It’s important to recognize the signs of autism and talk with your child’s pediatrician if they are showing symptoms.
Some common characteristics of autism include:
There’s no single known cause of autism. It’s likely caused by anomalies in the structure and function of the brain. Genetic changes can be inherited, or genes can mutate spontaneously. These mutations can alter brain development. Autism can also be associated with certain genetic disorders like Rett syndrome and fragile X syndrome.
It’s possible that some environmental factors like infections or complications during pregnancy could influence whether a child develops autism, but research is incomplete. We do know that autism isn’t caused by immunizations or immunization preservatives.
There are a few factors that can increase the risk of developing autism:
Mercy pediatricians and primary care physicians routinely screen for autism and can connect you with specialized resources to help diagnose and treat your child.
Click here for autism diagnostic & treatment options.
At Mercy, we offer compassionate care for a variety of treatment services, including:
In addition to our Behavioral Health Clinics, the Mercy Kids Autism Centers in St. Louis and Springfield, MO offer specialized care for ASD.