An estimated one in 45 children in the United States has autism, a complicated disorder that affects the entire family. At Uptown Psych, located in the Uptown community of Chicago, Illinois, our team of experienced psychologists and psychiatrists offer a multi-faceted approach to effectively managing autism and the disruptions the condition can wreak on the child afflicted, as well as, their parents and siblings. Specifically, Dr. Rempfer specializes in treating autism, tourettes, and eating disorders. Call or book an appointment online for an autism consultation.
Autism Q & A
What is autism?
Autism, which is also referred to as autism spectrum disorder, is a disorder comprised of an array of issues involving social skills, behavior, communication, and speech. “Spectrum” refers to the broad range of differences, challenges, and unique abilities people with autism have. There isn’t just one type of autism, but rather many types, which manifest differently in different people.
How do you detect autism?
It’s important to look out for early signs of the disorder. The most apparent signs tend to appear very early, sometimes at 18 months old, but normally around age 2 or 3. The sooner you can detect if a loved one has autism, the sooner you can seek treatment, counseling, and other helpful measures.
Here are some signs of autism in babies and toddlers:
- By 6 months:
- No smiles, warmth, or joy directed at people
- Minimal or no eye contact
- By 9 months:
- No speech or any form of nonverbal communication
- By 12 months:
- No gestures to communicate
- No babbling of any kind
- By 16 months
- No words of any kind
- By 24 months
- No stringing together multiple words
- A loss of speech previously uttered or social skills
Here are some signs of autism for people of all ages:
- Minimal eye contact and social isolation
- Lack of comprehending people’s emotions
- Angry outbursts over small changes to environment
- Repetitive behaviors
- Unusual reactions to sounds, smells, tastes, etc.
If you think a loved one might have autism, it’s important to have them screened by a healthcare professional.
How do you treat people with autism?
At Uptown Psych, autism is treated with both medication, often a combination of medications, and therapy. In most cases, therapy includes individual and family therapy, since a family member’s autism affects everyone in your family. Uptown Psych has a number of specialists with expertise in this area. For example, the practice offers social skills groups for young adolescent girls with autism. Early intervention and treatment can help your loved one get the help and services they need, such as the development of an Individualized Education Program (IEP) in collaboration with a school district, which they need to function and thrive in the world. This provides a valuable support system to assist in managing autism in your family.