An Inside Look into the Signs and Symptoms
(ARA) - Does your child avoid eye contact, have little or no interest in making new friends or prefer solitary activities to social games? These may be signs that your child has an autism spectrum disorder.
Symptoms of autism spectrum disorders can present in many different ways, and can be confusing for parents, particularly if they aren't sure of what to look for. It is human nature for parents to overlook the early signs, saying that their child is "just going through a phase" or "having an off day." Lana Cramer, mom to a 14-year-old on the spectrum, says, "At first I did not understand why my son, Evan, hesitated to interact with others, and often seemed uninterested in what was going on around him. I figured that he would just grow out of it, but he didn't. When our psychiatrist diagnosed Evan with autism, the pieces started to fit together."
While there are certain similarities among children with autism, it is a spectrum disorder, meaning that there can be great variation in the way it affects people. According to board certified psychiatrist Dr. David Posey, every child on the autism spectrum has unique abilities, symptoms, and challenges - no two children are exactly the same. That said, many children on the spectrum often share common core symptoms. These include:
- Impaired social interactions, such as reluctance to join group activities at school, not being aware of the needs of others or inability to understand humor.
- Impaired communication, such as delay in language development, unusual repetition of words and phrases spoken by others or on television or major difficulty sustaining a conversation.
- Restricted interests, repetitive behaviors and stereotyped mannerisms, such as clapping, finger flicking, rocking, dipping and swaying, fascination with parts of an object, such as spinning the wheels of a toy car repeatedly or preoccupation with one narrow interest such as dates or numbers.
While medications are available for some common behavioral symptoms like irritability or anxiety, there are no FDA-approved drugs to treat any of the core symptoms of these conditions.
According to Dr. Posey, a clinical research program called ConnectMe is enrolling children with autism, Asperger's or Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (or PDD-NOS) worldwide to evaluate the safety, tolerability and effectiveness of an investigational drug on these core symptoms.
"In my practice, I've seen how problems with social interaction and communication can have a devastating impact on families touched by these disorders, so I am encouraged by the research of the ConnectMe program, which may provide new answers into the treatment of autism spectrum disorders," Dr. Posey says.
To learn more about ConnectMe or to take an online prescreening questionnaire to see if your child may be eligible to participate, visit www.ConnectMeTrial.com or call 877-900-8735.