Many children in the Clear Lake, Houston, Texas, area have Autism Spectrum Disorder. Jeanne Russell, PA-C, and Elliott Schwartz, PA-C, at Clear Lake Kids Psychiatry have the answers and treatments needed to help both children and their parents.

Autism Spectrum Disorder Q & A

What is autism spectrum disorder?

Autism spectrum disorders are a group of brain disorders. Autism spectrum disorders are recognized by restrictive behavior patterns and problems with social interactions. These disorders are called spectrum disorders because there is a wide spectrum of symptoms and severity.

How are autism spectrum disorders recognized?

Social issues may include a lack of eye contact, inability to understand social cues, and inability to show emotions. Children with autism spectrum disorders may also have problems with controlling their emotions at times, and they may exhibit disruptive behavior in upsetting situations. In stressful situations, children with autism spectrum disorders may engage in harmful behaviors like head banging, pulling their own hair, or biting themselves. Children with autism spectrum disorders may struggle with communication. This may include muteness, echolalia (parroting the speech of others), and difficulty in pausing to allow others to speak. Many children with autism spectrum disorders exhibit repetitive behaviors and may make certain motions obsessively. They may be particularly set in their ways, and could even become very upset if a routine is altered or broken. Children with autism spectrum disorders may become preoccupied with certain unusual topics. There are such a wide range of symptoms that it can vary dramatically from one child to the next, even if they suffer from the same autism spectrum disorder. For example, two children with Asperger's syndrome may show very different symptoms.

How are autism spectrum disorders treated?

The treatment for autism spectrum disorders can vary widely from one patient to another. The earlier treatment starts, the more effective it can be. A comprehensive approach is often the best way to treat autism spectrum disorders. Parents should play an integral role in treatment and management of autism spectrum disorders. Medications may be useful for managing difficult and challenging behaviors. Behavioral therapy may be extremely beneficial for children suffering from autism spectrum disorders, as well.