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Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurological condition that affects a child’s behavior, ability to communicate and social interaction skills. Children with autism spectrum disorder understand and interact with the world differently than their peers.
Autism is called a spectrum disorder because symptoms and behaviors are different for every child.
The wide range of characteristics or symptoms of ASD fall into two main categories.
The first category is deficits in communications and social interactions. This includes:
The second category is restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests or activities. This includes:
Children with ASD may experience all of the symptoms from both categories, or they may show many characteristics from one category and just a few from another.
Autism spectrum disorder may occur with other conditions such as:
Many parents are caught by surprise when they learn their child has autism. Families often seek help from their child’s doctor because their child has behavior problems, has trouble in school or is not responding to normal cues.
An autism diagnosis can seem overwhelming at first. With regular therapy and treatment and the right supports, many children perform well in school and participate in childhood activities.
Doctors at Riley at IU Health will study your child's behavior to make a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder. This condition cannot be diagnosed with a blood test or brain scan. Doctors from the following specialty departments at Riley at IU Health may be involved in making the diagnosis:
Doctors generally use the following to evaluate a child for autism spectrum disorder:
Treatments for autism spectrum disorder will vary for every child depending on his or her specific behaviors and symptoms. Not every treatment will bring positive benefits to every child.
The specialists at Riley at IU Health first use a conservative behavioral approach to treatment and then follow up with additional care to manage exacerbating conditions. Treatment options include:
Visit the links below to learn more about autism and find support groups.
Riley at IU Health offers a broad range of supportive services to make life better for families who choose us for their children's care.
This affiliate of the Autism Society of America provides support and resources to improve the lives of those living with autism in Indiana.
This center provides outreach services to those living with autism spectrum disorder and those who support families managing the condition.
This Indiana University program provides outreach, training and coaching to school staff and others who deliver programming and services to children and families living with autism.
The Psychiatry Department at Riley at IU Health is actively involved with the Indiana University School of Medicine in conducting research related to autism spectrum disorder, including treatments using behavioral interventions. Research takes place at the Christian Sarkine Autism Treatment Center and the HANDS in Autism Interdisciplinary Training and Resource Center.
In addition to our primary hospital location at the Academic Health Center in Indianapolis, IN, we have convenient locations to better serve our communities throughout the state.
Sort through 9 facilities offering Autism Spectrum Disorder care by entering your city or zip below.