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Autism Spectrum Disorder

Description

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) refers to a range of variations in terms of how it affects individuals. Autism is not a single disorder, but rather a spectrum of numerous disorders with shared core symptoms.   This term (Autism)  is often used as an “umbrella” term for 5 childhood-onset conditions known as Pervasive Developmental  Disorders (PDD). This includes Autism, Asperger’s syndrome, Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified  (PDD-NOS), Rett Syndrome, and Childhood Disintegrative Disorder. It is important to note that the combination of symptoms and the level of disability vary tremendously from person to person. Children with ASD develop at different rates from other children who are of the same age in areas such as cognitive, motor, language, and social-emotional development. However, such individuals may excel in complex skills such as solving math problems but have difficulty initiating conversations or making friends. At present, Autism is one of the most common developmental disabilities in Canada. It is also the most common neurological disorder that affects children. Autism is also four times more prevalent in males than females.

Symptoms

Symptoms of Autism generally appear during the first three years of life. Individuals with ASD tend to have varying degrees of difficulty in areas such as communication (verbal and non-verbal), social skills and interaction, restricted activities, and interests. The differences are very distinct when it comes to the severity of the symptoms, as well as their combinations and patterns of behavior. The following are the signs and symptoms of Autism spectrum disorders:

  • Difficulty understanding the feelings, reactions, and nonverbal cues of others

  • Displaying a lack of interest in others, as well as showing a lack of interest in sharing achievements and interests

  • Unusual/inappropriate language, facial expressions, and gestures (e.g. using facial expressions that do not match what the individual is saying or avoiding eye contact)

  • Delay in learning how to speak (after the age of 2) or does not talk at all

  • Taking what is said too literally, misses humor, irony, and sarcasm

  • Speaking in an abnormal tone of voice or with an odd rhythm/pitch

  • Repeating words or phrases, as well as body movements (rocking, spinning, hand flapping)

  • Unusual attachment to objects

  • A strong need for order and routines; becomes upset when there is a change in the environment or their routine

Treatments & Therapies

Treatment for Autism is often intensive and involves the child’s entire family, as well as a team of professionals. Programs may take place at home or in specialized centers or classrooms with professional specialists and trained therapists. It is common for families to choose a combination of treatment methods. Because every person’s case is unique to them, treatment programs will depend on the individual’s strengths and needs. Often children will benefit from taking part in multiple therapies. For the most part, families use one type of intervention that will best meet the needs of their child. Such types of interventions require several hours per week of therapy and focus on addressing developmental, behavioral, and/or educational goals.

One type of treatment that exists is Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA). ABA has been used since the early 1960s by therapists to assist in teaching social, academic, self-care, communication, and work skills, as well as reduce problem behaviors.  Speech-Language Therapy (SLT) is a type of therapy designed to assist and coordinate the mechanics of speech and the social value and meaning of language. Another type of therapy is called Occupational Therapy (OT) which ties in motor and cognitive skills. The goal of OT is to encourage the individual to participate more fully in their daily life and gain a stronger sense of independence.  Some goals of OT may include independent feeding, grooming, and dressing, as well as improved fine motor and social skills. Social Skills training is also a form of therapy that has become a common treatment for individuals who face challenges with social interaction. Through social skills training, the focus is placed predominantly on improving social skills.  In addition to these treatments and forms of therapy, there are numerous other forms of intervention available. To be properly informed as to which form of action one should take or what type of intervention is best for their child, it is best to discuss with experts and professionals.

Charities/
Organizations

Children

City KIDS (affiliated with Mothercraft)
www.mothercraft.ca

Community Living Toronto (CLT)
www.cltoronto.ca

E-mail: access@cltoronto.ca

Geneva Centre for Autism
www.autism.net
E-mail: info@autism.net

Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital (formerly Bloorview Kids Rehab)
www.hollandbloorview.ca
E-mail: info@hollendbloorview.ca

Kerry's Place Autism Services
www.kerrysplace.org
E-mail: info@kerrysplace.org

Surrey’s Place Centre
http://www.surreyplace.ca/
E-mail: info@surreyplace.on.ca

Treatment, research & education for autism and development disorders (TRE-ADD-PROGRAM)
http://www.surreyplace.ca/

Autism Treatment Network (ATN)
www.autismspeaks.org/

Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) - The Child Youth & Family Program
www.camh.ca

Hanen Centre
www.hanen.org

Hospital for Sick Children
www.sickkids.ca

Lakeshore Area Multi-service Project (LAMP)
www.lampchc.org

North York General Hospital-Child and Adolescent Mental Health program (Branson Site)
www.nygh.on.ca

Regent Park Community Health Clinic- Child Development Clinic
http://www.regentparkchc.org/

Scarborough and Rouge Hospital (formerly The Scarborough Hospital)
www.tsh.to

The Speech and Stuttering Institute (formerly the Speech Foundation of Ontario)
www.speechandstuttering.com

St. Michael's Health Centre- Pediatric Clinic
www.stmichaelshospital.com

Home and Community Care
www.healthcareathome.ca/torontocentral/en

Michael Garron Hospital
https://www.tehn.ca/about-us/contact-us

Toronto Preschool Speech and Language Program
www.web.toronto.ca

A Circle of Support
www.acircleofsupport.com

Adventure Place
www.adventureplace.ca

Aisling Discoveries Child and Family Centre
www.aislingdiscoveries.on.ca

E-mail: mailus@aislingdiscoveries.on.ca

Bartimaeus Inc.
www.bartimaeus.com

Catholic Children's Aid Society (CCAS)
www.torontoccas.org

E-mail: hratorontoccas.org

Centennial Infant and Child Centre
www.cicc.ca

Children Development Institute
www.childdevelop.ca

DLC Residential Services
dlcrs.com

Delisle Youth Services
www.skylarkyouth.org

E-mail: info@delisleyouth.org

Etobicoke Children's Centre
www.etobicokechildren.com
E-mail: ecc@etobickechildren.com

Teen

Community Living Toronto (CLT)
www.cltoronto.ca

E-mail: access@cltoronto.ca

Geneva Centre for Autism
www.autism.net
E-mail: info@autism.net

Griffin Centre
www.griffin-centre.org
E-mail: contact@griffin-centre.org

Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital (formerly Bloorview Kids Rehab)
www.hollandbloorview.ca
E-mail: info@hollendbloorview.ca

Kerry's Place Autism Services
www.kerrysplace.org
E-mail: info@kerrysplace.org

Surrey’s Place Centre
http://www.surreyplace.ca/
E-mail: info@surreyplace.on.ca

Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)- The Child Youth & Family Program
www.camh.net

Hospital for Sick Children
www.sickkids.ca

North York General Hospital Program: Child and Adolescent Mental Health
www.nygh.on.ca

Scarborough Hospital (formerly Scarborough General)
www.tsh.to

Speech and Stuttering Institute (formerly the Speech Foundation of Ontario)
www.speechandstuttering.com

Home and Community Care
www.healthcareathome.ca

Ontario Shore Center for Mental Health Science - Adolescents Program
https://www.ontarioshores.ca

Bartimaeus Inc.
www.bartimaeus.com

Better Beginnings NOW/Adventure Place
www.adventureplace.ca

DLC Residential Services
www.dlcrs.com

East Metro Youth Services
www.emys.on.ca

Youth

Community Living Toronto (CLT)
www.cltoronto.ca
E-mail: access@cltoronto.ca

Geneva Centre for Autism
www.autism.net/
E-mail: info@autism.net

 

Griffin Centre
www.griffin-centre.org
E-mail: contact@griffin-centre.org

 

Kerry's Place Autism Services
www.kerrysplace.org
E-mail: info@kerrysplace.org

 

Surrey’s Place Centre
http://www.surreyplace.ca/
E-mail: info@surreyplace.on.ca

 

Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) - Queen Street Site
www.camh.ca

 

COTA Health
www.cotainspires.ca/
E-mail: info@cotahealth.ca

 

Speech and Stuttering Institute (formerly the Speech Foundation of Ontario)
www.speechandstuttering.com

 

Home and Community Care
www.healthcareathome.ca/

 

DLC Residential Services
www.dlcrs.com

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