Parents of children with autism often suspect a problem with their child as early as 18 months, sometimes sooner. We suggest that those parents who do suspect a problem go with their gut feeling, no matter what a doctor may initially say. Language and hearing concerns are the most commonly the usual first signs.
Yale University is emerging as a leading brain imaging and research center for autism.
What are autism and autistic spectrum disorders?
Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are also called Pervasive Developmental Disorders because they involve a delay in many areas of a child’s development. They are a form of developmental brain disorder, characterized by impaired social interaction and communication skills (use of language) as well as a limited range of activities and interests.
These conditions include Autistic Disorder, Asperger Syndrome, Rett Syndrome, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS).
PDD-NOS is really just a category that includes many different areas of developmental delay and of differing severities and refers in a general way to a child’s lack of appropriate development of socialization and communication skills.
In ASD the typical age of onset is before 3 years of age. Symptoms can include problems such as: using and understanding language, difficulty relating to people, unusual playing with toys, difficulty with changes in routine or familiar surroundings, and repetitive body movements or behavior patterns. There are many more individual problems and symptoms not listed here because each child is unique.
What is the cause of autism?
The cause of autism is still unknown.
Dr. Schneider’s Treatments and Interventions for ASD.
All or any of this treatment protocol may be selected and customized for your child’s individual needs:
• Language interventions consist of specially-developed teaching methods. They include explicit, implicit, attention, motivation and theory of mind (joint-attention). These constructs are not the same as used in conventional speech therapy.
• The language protocol may be combined with melodic intonation therapy or musical themes.
• Verbal production may be enhanced by carefully-selected organic nutritional supplements and herbal products to increase neurotransmitters involved in this type of learning.
• Conventional medications now known to increase language function will be explored with each family.
• To help restore language function, a portable brain stimulator will be used at the Long Island office of Dr. Schneider. This is not part of the research being done at Columbia or Yale, rather research being conducted by Dr. Schneider. This simple to use device attaches easily to your child’s scalp over brain areas that may benefit verbal production, painlessly stimulating select brain areas using a small amount of direct current.
• We are in the process of developing a functional brain scanner for use in the offices. With this new device, we will be able to see the results of the language therapy with and without the use of TDCS – and track changes over time during the course of therapy.