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Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism spectrum disorder is characterized by social interaction, communication, and behavior difficulties. It can range in severity from mild to severe to somewhere in between. A diagnosis is made based on the level of assistance required. As a result, receiving an early diagnosis in San Diego allows treatment to begin more quickly.

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Autism Spectrum Disorder is a developmental disorder that affects a person’s perception of and interaction with others, leading to social interaction and communication difficulties. Limited and repetitive patterns of behavior are also characteristics of the disorder. Experts classify Autism Spectrum Disorder as a spectrum disorder because of the wide range of symptoms and severity that could surface.


Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) manifests itself in early childhood and progresses to cause difficulties in all aspects of society — socially, academically, and at work, for example. Experts observe symptoms of autism frequently in children within the first year of life. During the first year of life, a small number of children 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.

What are the Symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Early signs of autism spectrum disorder in children include reduced eye contact, a lack of response to their name, and apathy toward caregivers. By the age of two, signs are usually visible. Other children may develop normally for the first few months or years of life but then become withdrawn, aggressive, or lose language skills.

Each child with autism spectrum disorder is likely to have a distinct pattern of behavior and severity level, ranging from low to high. The following are some of the most common symptoms displayed by people with an autism spectrum disorder.

Interaction and Social Communication

Any of the following signs may indicate that a child or adult with autism spectrum disorder is having difficulties with social interaction and communication:

  • Fails to respond to your name or appears to be deafeningly 
  • Prefer playing alone, retreating into their world, to cuddling and holding.
  • Lack of facial expression and poor eye contact.
  • Does not speak or speaks slowly or loses the ability to say words or sentences previously.
  • Can’t start or maintain a conversation or only initiate one to make requests or label items.
  • Speaks in an unusual tone or rhythm and may use a singsong or robotic voice.
  • Repeats words or phrases word for word but has no idea how to use them.
  • They don’t seem to comprehend basic questions or directions.
  • They do not show emotions or feelings and appear unconcerned about others’ feelings.
  • Don’t bring or point to objects to express interest
  • Approaches a social interaction inappropriately by being passive, aggressive, or disruptive.
  • Has trouble interpreting nonverbal cues such as other people’s facial expressions, body postures, or voice tone.

Behavioral Patterns

A child or adult with autism spectrum disorder may exhibit restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities, which may include any of the following signs:

  • Repetitive moments like rocking, spinning or flapping 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
  • They are susceptible to light, sound, or touch but indifferent to pain or temperature.

  • They display apathy to imitative or pretend play.

  • 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.

Some children with autism spectrum disorder become more engaged with others and exhibit fewer behavioral disturbances as they grow older. Some people, usually those with minor issues, may be able to lead balanced or near-normal lives in the future. On the other hand, others continue to struggle with language and social skills, and the teen years can exacerbate behavioral and emotional issues.

What are the Causes of Autism Spectrum Disorder?

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


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. An underlying genetic condition, such as Rett syndrome or fragile X, may be linked to autism spectrum disorder in some children. Other children may be more susceptible to developing autism spectrum disorder due to genetic mutations. There are still many genes that may influence brain development, communication between brain cells, or the severity of symptoms.

Environmental factors

Autistic spectrum disorders may be triggered by anything from viral infections to pregnancy complications or air pollution, and researchers are now looking into these possibilities.

Impulsive/Hyperactive Type

A body-centered approach employs strategies such as breathwork, dance, and meditation to help people heal from trauma, stress, and other mental illnesses.

Getting ADHD Treatment in San Diego

While there’s no cure for autism, people with ASD can benefit from treatment options available at the Mental Health Center of San Diego. Well-designed interventions can often help people of all ages and abilities. The most effective therapies and interventions are frequently tailored to the needs of each individual. Most people with ASD in San Diego, on the other hand, benefit from highly structured and specialized programs. Here are a few examples of well-known types:

  • 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 abilities. People with ASD have the best chance of using all of their abilities and skills if they receive the appropriate therapies and interventions. To learn more about the treatment options available for Autism Spectrum Disorder in San Diego, contact the Mental Health Center of San Diego at 858-465-7722.