Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Resources for Autism Spectrum Disorder: Home

                                                                                                              1,552 Autism Text Photos - Free & Royalty-Free Stock Photos from Dreamstime

The following guide is for informational purposes only and not intended to diagnose or give medical advice.

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD), refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech, and nonverbal communication. 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.

(Autism Speaks, https://www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism; CDC, https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/facts.html)

Types of ASD

  • Autistic Disorder
  • Asperger Syndrome
  • Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS)

(CDC, https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/facts.html)

ASD Symptoms

Autistic Disorder Symptoms

  • Delayed speech and language skills
  • Flat, robotic speaking voice, or singsong voice
  • Echolalia (repeating the same phrase over and over)
  • Problems with pronouns (saying “you” instead of “I,” for example)
  • Not using or rarely using common gestures (pointing or waving), and not responding to them
  • Inability to stay on topic when talking or answering questions
  • Not recognizing sarcasm or joking
  • Trouble expressing needs and emotions
  • Not getting signals from body language, tone of voice, and expressions
  • Repetitive behaviors like hand-flapping, rocking, jumping, or twirling
  • Constant moving (pacing) and “hyper” behavior
  • Fixations on certain activities or objects
  • Specific routines or rituals (and getting upset when a routine is changed, even slightly)
  • Extreme sensitivity to touch, light, and sound
  • Not taking part in “make-believe” play or imitating others’ behaviors
  • Fussy eating habits
  • Lack of coordination, clumsiness
  • Impulsiveness (acting without thinking)
  • Aggressive behavior, both with self and others
  • Short attention span

Asperger Syndrome

  • Trouble with social interactions
  • Restricted interests
  • Near obsessive interest in a particular subject 
  • A desire for uniformity 
  • Distinctive strengths
  • Remarkable persistence and focus
  • Strong ability to recognize patterns
  • Strong attention to detail 
  • Hypersensitivity to lights, sounds, tastes, and more
  • Difficulty finding the flow of conversation
  • Trouble with nonverbal conversational skills, such as gestures 
  • Limited eye contact 
  • Motor skill delays, or clumsiness

PDD-NOS

  • Atypical or inappropriate social behavior
  • Uneven skill development (motor, sensory, visual-spatial organizational, cognitive, social, academic, behavioral)
  • Poorly developed speech and language comprehension skills
  • Difficulty with transitions
  • Deficits in nonverbal and/or verbal communication
  • Increased or decreased sensitivities to taste, sight, sound, smell and/or touch
  • Perseverative (repetitive or ritualistic) behaviors

(WebMD, https://www.webmd.com/brain/autism/symptoms-of-autism; WebMD, https://www.webmd.com/brain/autism/aspergers-symptoms-signs; Brain Balance, https://www.brainbalancecenters.com/blog/signs-and-symptoms-of-pdd-nos)

 Pin en autisme/autism

         Asperger syndrome Pictures, Asperger syndrome Stock Photos & Images |  Depositphotos®

Treatments for ASD

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)

Discrete Trial Training (DTT)

DTT uses step-by-step instructions to teach a desired behavior or response. Lessons are broken down into their simplest parts, and desired answers and behaviors are rewarded. Undesired answers and behaviors are ignored.

Pivotal Response Training (PRT)

PRT takes place in a natural setting rather than clinic setting. The goal of PRT is to improve a few “pivotal skills” that will help the person learn many other skills. One example of a pivotal skill is to initiate communication with others.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

It’s based on the idea that negative actions or feelings are the results of current distorted beliefs or thoughts, not unconscious forces from the past. CBT is a blend of cognitive therapy and behavioral therapy. Cognitive therapy focuses on your moods and thoughts. Behavioral therapy specifically targets actions and behaviors.

Speech and Language Therapy

Speech and Language Therapy helps to improve the person’s understanding and use of speech and language. Some people with ASD communicate verbally. Others may communicate through the use of signs, gestures, pictures, or an electronic communication device.

Occupational Therapy

This teaches skills that help the person live as independently as possible. Skills may include dressing, eating, bathing, and relating to people. Occupational therapy can also include:

Sensory Integration Therapy

Helps improve responses to sensory input that may be restrictive or overwhelming.

Physical Therapy

Helps improve physical skills, such as fine movements of the fingers or larger movements of the trunk and body.

Early Start Denver Model (ESDM)

This is a broad developmental approach based on the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis. It is used with children 12-48 months of age. Parents and therapists use play, social exchanges, and shared attention in natural settings to improve language, social, and learning skills.

Treatment and Education of Autistic and Related Communication-Handicapped Children (TEACCH)

TEACCH is based on the idea that people with autism thrive on consistency and visual learning. It provides teachers with ways to adjust the classroom structure and improve academic and other outcomes.

Social-Relational Therapy

Developmental, Individual Differences, Relationship-Based Model

Also called Floor Time, it encourages parents and therapists to follow the interests of the individual to expand opportunities for communication.

Relationship Development Intervention (RDI)

This model involves activities that increase motivation, interest, and abilities to participate in shared social interactions.

Social Stories

Using stories to provide simple descriptions of what to expect in a social situation.

Social Skills Groups

Groups that provide opportunities for people with ASD to practice social skills in a structured environment.

Complementary and Alternative

Complementary and alternative treatments are often used to supplement more traditional approaches. They might include special diets, herbal supplements, chiropractic care, animal therapy, arts therapy, mindfulness, or relaxation therapies. Individuals and families should always talk to their doctor before starting a complementary and alternative treatment.

Medication

There are no medications that treat the core symptoms of ASD. Some medications treat co-occurring symptoms that can help people with ASD function better. For example, medication might help manage high energy levels, inability to focus, or self-harming behavior, such as head banging or hand biting. Medication can also help manage co-occurring psychological conditions, such as anxiety or depression, in addition to medical conditions such as seizures, sleep problems, or stomach or other gastrointestinal problems.

(CDC, https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/treatment.html; WebMD, https://www.webmd.com/brain/autism/aspergers-symptoms-signs)

 Autism Images, Stock Photos & Vectors | Shutterstock

McFarlin Databases about Health

For a comprehensive list of McFarlin databases consult our A-Z Database List. Databases may require you sign into the library system before viewing; you will be automatically prompted if a login is necessary.

Getting Help

You may want to get help for ASD if it begins to interfere with your ability to function, such as eat, study, and have fun. TU has counselors who would love to help you.

This site provides information about and contact information for TU's Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS).

If you are having a mental health crisis, the following sites provide help: