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What is Autism?

Autism is a developmental disorder characterized by difficulty with social skills, communication skills and repetitive behaviors. Individuals with autism often have sensory aversions to sounds, lights, textures and smells as well. Autism is caused by a combination of environmental and genetic factors. Red flag symptoms usually appear between 18 months and 3 years of age.


Our Boca Raton Speech Therapist Can Help!

What Causes Autism?


The exact cause of autism is unknown. However, autism is caused by a combination of environmental and genetic factors. 


According to the National Center for Health Research possible causes of autism include pesticides, heavy metals, premature birth, and older fathers. If a family member has autism there is also a higher correlation. The prevalence of autism is higher in geographical areas such as California, Texas, North  Carolina, and Utah. Prenatal exposure to rubella, pregnancies spaced less than a year apart, if the mother took antidepressants during pregnancy, and mothers with arthritis and celiac disease are also thought to be possible causes. It should also be noted autism is less common in developing worlds.


What are the “Red Flags” of Autism?

  • Poor or fleeting eye contact

  • Self-stimulatory behaviors (hand flapping, rocking, oral seeking)

  • Perseveration on activities of choice

  • Lack of joint attention

  • Not responding to their name

  • Poor imitation skills

  • Difficulty with imaginative play

  • Display less emotions

  • Poor emotional regulation skills

  • Difficulty with social interactions

  • Poor understanding of  body language, vocal tone, and other non-verbal social cues.

  • Egocentric

  • Difficulty with changes in routine

  • Prefers solitude and to play alone

  • Sensitivity to noises, smells, and tastes

  • Repetition of words (echolalia)

  • Difficulty transitioning

  • Need for routine and “sameness”

What is the Treatment for Autism?


Although  there is no cure for autism, early intervention is critical. Treatment  focuses on the core deficits of children with autism and targets initiating spontaneous communication in functional activities, engaging in reciprocal communication interactions, and generalizing skills to home and community environments.  

Our South Florida Pediatric Speech Therapists treat children with autism. 

If you would like to schedule your child for an evaluation please contact us here.

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