Common Questions

Top 10 most common questions from parents.

 
 

1. What is autism?

Autism, also known as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), is a life-long condition (Autism Awareness Australia, 2018). People with ASD often experience difficulties with communication, social interaction and restricted/repetitive interests and behaviours (Autism Awareness Australia, 2018). While there is no single known cause associated with autism, the numbers of children diagnosed has steadily increased over the years (Autism Awareness Australia, 2018).

However, the thing is, there is no one way that autism can affect a person. Every individual on the autism spectrum will present differently. There is a saying, “if you’ve met one person with autism, then you’ve met one person with autism.”

2. What is ASD?

ASD is the acronym for ‘Autism Spectrum Disorder’. This umbrella term includes autistic disorder (also known as “classic autism”), Asperger’s disorder, and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (also known as “atypical autism”) according to the Fourth Edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) issued in 1992 (Autism Awareness Australia, 2018).

The DSM was published by the American Psychiatric Association and serves as the primary manual used by clinicians in the U.S., Australia, and many other countries to provide the formal criteria for various diagnoses, including autism (Autism Awareness Australia, 2018).

3. What are the causes?

Currently, there is no single known cause for autism, however, recent research has identified strong genetic links (Autism Awareness Australia, 2018). We do know though that autism is NOT caused by an individual’s upbringing, their social or economic circumstances, nor is it caused by vaccines or bad parenting!

4. What are evidence-based therapies?

Evidence-based therapy means that there has been some conclusive research to prove the effects of a therapy on its potential users (Autism Awareness Australia, 2018). Whilst many treatments claim to have evidence proving they work, in many cases, there has actually been no extensive top level research done (Autism Awareness Australia, 2018).

At Rockmelon, our content is completely evidence-based. All content has been developed with the help of a team of clinicians, parents and experts in the autism field from around the world.

5. How common is autism?

Recent studies have found that 1 in 59 children have an ASD diagnosis (Centers for Disease Control, 2018) Autism is around 4.5 times more common in boys than girls, however around 1 in 189 girls have an ASD diagnosis (Centers for Disease Control, 2018).  

About 150 children are diagnosed with ASD every hour (Centers for Disease Control, 2018). Recent studies have also shown that the number of children diagnosed with ASD has also increased over the years with no single known cause (Centers for Disease Control, 2018).

6. I suspect my child has autism, what should I do next?

If you suspect your child has autism and you do not have a diagnosis yet, don’t wait! Start early intervention. We at Rockmelon believe that as a parent, you know your child best. If you think your child may have a delay or you are in the process of getting a diagnosis there is no harm in getting started early. It is the ‘early’ in early intervention that makes all the difference.

If it turns out that your child doesn’t have a developmental delay, many of the skills Rockmelon promotes are applicable to neurotypical children as well.

 

7. How is autism diagnosed?

“Most people find the diagnosis process quite confronting. It’s not much fun having someone point out all the things that your child can’t do, things that typical children just pick up naturally. But think of this assessment as a benchmark, against which you can measure your child’s progress once they start in an intervention program.”

– Seana Smith, mother of four and co-author, Australian autism handbook

 If you suspect that your child has a developmental delay it is vital to get a full assessment and diagnosis from a qualified and reliable professional or team of professionals using proper assessment tools (Autism Awareness Australia, 2018).

While the diagnostic criteria for autism under the Fifth Edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) are consistent, the requirements of who can formally make a diagnosis can differ from country to country (Autism Awareness Australia, 2018).

For instance, some countries require that a child be diagnosed by a multi-disciplinary panel, while other countries allow a single specialist (e.g. developmental paediatrician) to make the diagnosis on their own (Autism Awareness Australia, 2018). In each country, different states might also have different requirements.

8. What therapies are available for ASD?

There are a number of different therapies available to help assist a child with autism reach their fullest potential.

If you are new to the world of autism, you might find yourself floating in a pool of different therapy terms - from occupational therapy to speech pathology, to speech and language therapy to cognitive behaviour therapy. You might also be thinking, which are the ones that your child will need? What if they don’t work? The other thing to note is that something that worked for another family, may not necessarily be of the same benefit for your child.

9. How can I help my child with autism?

If you suspect your child may have a developmental delay, the best thing you can do is start investigating as soon as possible (Autism Awareness Australia, 2018).

If you think your child may have a delay or you are in the process of getting a diagnosis there is no harm in getting started early. It is the ‘early’ in early intervention that makes all the difference.

The Rockmelon Parent Edition has been designed to help parents who have a child with additional needs. Children with autism can learn, it is just a matter of teaching a little differently. The Rockmelon Parent Edition provides you with all the  necessary tools and information parents need to help deliver better outcomes for their children.

10. What are the early signs of autism?

Some of the common traits associated with autism are difficulties with communication, social interaction, restricted/repetitive interests and behaviours, behavioural challenges and sensory issues (Autism Awareness Australia, 2018). One child might display all of these, another might display one or two, and another might display none at all. Often, one of the first things parents report noticing is a lack of communication skills. These early signs can present differently in every single child.

Remember, some children are just late to talk and it doesn’t immediately mean they have autism. If you are concerned that your child may have a developmental delay, the best thing you can do is get in contact with your family doctor or paediatrician. Don’t wait for a diagnosis to start working with your child to develop some of the skills they may need help with.

 
 
 

Autism Facts

1 in 68 children have an ASD diagnosis.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Parents who have a child with ASD have a 2 to 18 percent chance of having a second child who is also affected.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

1 in 189 girls have been identified with ASD.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

ASD can be diagnosed for children as young as 2 years of age.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Autism is NOT caused by vaccines.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

 

Autism is the fastest growing developmental disorder, yet most underfunded.

According to the National Autism Society

About 1 percent of the world population has autism spectrum disorder.

According to the National Autism Society.

About 40% of children with autism do not speak.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Autism is diagnosed four times more often in boys than girls.

According to the National Autism Society.

ASD occurs in all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

 

References

Autism Awareness Australia. (2018). Homepage - Autism Awareness Australia. [online] Available at: http://www.autismawareness.com.au/

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2018). CDC Works 24/7. [online] Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/

National Autism Society. (2018). Autism Fact Sheet | National Autism Association. [online] Available at: https://nationalautismassociation.org/resources/autism-fact-sheet/