Autism Spectrum Disorder in San Diego

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental condition that affects social interaction, communication, and behavior. Experts classify Autism Spectrum Disorder as a spectrum disorder because of the wide range of symptoms and severity that could surface.

While there is no cure for Autism Spectrum Disorder, early diagnosis and intervention can make a big difference in the lives of those affected. People with ASD can lead fulfilling and productive lives with the right support offered at the Mental Health Center of San Diego.
Neurological Disorders

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder that affects a person’s perception of and interaction with others, leading to social interaction and communication difficulties. ASD is a “spectrum” condition, which means that symptoms and severity can vary widely. Some people with ASD are highly functioning and only require support in specific areas, while others may require more intensive services and support.

Autism typically manifests itself in early childhood and progresses to cause difficulties in different aspects of a person’s life, such as socially, academically, and professionally.
Experts aren’t always able to spot symptoms of autism in children within the first year of life. Children may appear to develop normally but then go through a period of regression between the ages of 18 and 24 months, at which point they begin to show signs of autism.

Autism Spectrum Disorder

What are the Symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder?

There are a variety of symptoms that can be associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, it is important to keep in mind that not every individual with ASD will experience all of the symptoms. In general, ASD can be characterized by difficulties with social interaction, communication, and repetitive or restrictive behaviors.

The following are some of the most common symptoms displayed by people with an autism spectrum disorder.

People with ASD often have difficulty understanding social cues and may encounter challenges with communication. 

  • Prefer being alone or retreating into their world
  • Lack of facial expressions
  • Poor eye contact
  • Non-verbal or speaks slowly
  • Can’t start or maintain a conversation 
  • Only initiates conversation to make requests
  • Repeats words or phrases verbatim without understanding their meaning
  • Doesn’t comprehend basic questions or directions
  • Has trouble interpreting nonverbal cues (such as other people’s facial expressions, body postures, or voice tone)

People with Autism Spectrum Disorder may exhibit restricted or repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, and activities, which may include any of the following signs:

  • Repetitive movements like rocking, spinning or clapping the hands 
  • Develops specific routines or rituals and is disturbed by even minor changes
  • Has coordination issues or unusual movement patterns, such as clumsiness or walking on toes, and odd, stiff, or exaggerated body language
  • Is fascinated by the details of an object, such as the spinning wheels of a toy car, but is oblivious to the object’s overall purpose or function
  • Sensitive to light, sound, or touch
  • Fixates with unusual intensity or focus on an object or activity
  • Has specific food preferences, such as only eating a few foods or refusing to eat foods with a particular texture.

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What are the Causes of Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Because of the complexity of the disorder and that symptoms and severity can vary, there are likely many causes. Environmental and genetic factors may each have an impact, but there is no single known cause of autism spectrum disorder.

Autism Spectrum Disorder in San Diego


ASD affects people of all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups, though it is estimated to be about four times more common among boys than girls.
Autism spectrum disorder appears to be caused by many different genes. Some of the genetic mutations that occur are inherited, while others appear to be triggered by environmental factors.

Environmental factors

It is believed that Autism Spectrum Disorder may be triggered by anything from viral infections, pregnancy complications, air pollution, exposure to chemicals, or other external factors completely. Researchers are constantly looking into these possibilities but haven’t been able to determine any specific environmental causes definitively yet.

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Getting ASD Treatment in San Diego

At MHC San Diego we believe that the best ASD treatment plans are tailored to the individual’s needs and provides ongoing support for the person throughout their life. We’ve had a great amount of success using different therapies in treating ASD, including:

  • Behavioral management therapy
  • Cognitive behavior therapy
  • Early intervention
  • Joint attention therapy
  • Parent-mediated therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Educational and school-based therapies
  • Social skills training
  • Speech-language therapy
  • Medication treatment
  • Nutritional therapy
  • Occupational therapy

There is no single treatment for autism spectrum disorder (ASD). There are, however, several approaches that can be used to reduce symptoms and improve the quality of life for a person living with ASD.

To learn more about the treatment options available for Autism Spectrum Disorder in San Diego, contact the Mental Health Center of San Diego at (858) 258-9883

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