What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that can cause significant social, communication, and behavioral challenges. There is often nothing about how people with ASD look that sets them apart from other people, but people with ASD may communicate, interact, behave, and learn in ways that are different from most other people. The learning, thinking, and problem-solving abilities of people with ASD can range from gifted to severely challenged. Some people with ASD need a lot of help in their daily lives; others need less. (CDC 2017)

Signs and Symptoms

Adults and children affected by ASD show many different signs and symptoms under the umbrella of the diagnosis. Here are some indicators of what adults and children with ASD might exhibit:

  • May not point at objects to show interest
  • May not look at objects when another person points at them
  • May have trouble relating to others or not have an interest in other people at all
  • May avoid eye contact and want to be alone
  • May have trouble understanding other people’s feelings or talking about their own feelings
  • May prefer not to be held or cuddled, or might cuddle only when they want to
  • May appear to be unaware when people talk to them, but respond with other sounds
  • May be very interested in people, but not know how to talk, play, or relate to them
  • May repeat or echo words or phrases said to them, or repeat words or phrases in place of normal language
  • May have trouble expressing their needs using typical words or motions
  • May not play pretend games
  • May repeat actions over and over again
  • May have trouble adapting when a routine changes
  • May have unusual reactions to the way things smell, taste, look, feel, or sound
  • May lose skills they once had

(CDC 2017)

What is Applied Behavior Analysis?

It is science devoted to the understanding and improvement of human behavior. Applied Behavior Analysis or ABA, is a scientific approach for discovering environmental variables that reliably influence socially significant behavior and for developing a technology of behavior changes that takes practical advantage of those discoveries. (Cooper et al 2017)