Austin Autism Help at the APACenter
If you think you or your child has an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), the mental health professionals at the Austin Psychology & Assessment Center (APACenter) can help. At the APACenter, we have several psychologists and other professionals who have specialized expertise in providing assessment and therapy for persons with autism spectrum disorder. So, if you are searching for Austin autism (or Austin ASD) services, we are here to help!
Definition of Autism
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is term for a complex neurological disorder characterized by significant difficulties with social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication, and repetitive/restrictive behaviors. The most obvious symptoms of autism often appear between 12 and 18 months of age, and by age 2 a diagnosis by an experienced professional can be considered reliable.
ASD can be associated with intellectual disability, difficulties in motor coordination and attention, and physical health issues such as sleep and gastrointestinal disturbances. Autism is a life-long disorder that exists along a continuum of functioning levels from those with severe delays in all areas of development to those with mild symptoms.
Autism appears to have its roots in very early brain development and there is not one cause of autism. Recent research has discovered a number of genetic changes associated with autism, however each mutation only explains a small number of cases of autism. Most cases appear to be caused by a combination of autism risk genes and environmental factors influencing early brain development.
Prevalence of Autism
Autism statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) from 2010 (released in 2014) indicate that ASD is diagnosed in 1 out of every 68 children in the United States. Boys were five times more likely to be identified with ASD than girls. 1 in every 42 boys and 1 in every 189 girls were identified. ASD is diagnosed in males four times more often than in females. Autism occurs regardless of race, religion, income level or other societal factor.
Prior to 2013, under the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – Fourth Edition (DSM-IV), individuals could be diagnosed with four separate disorders: autistic disorder, Asperger’s disorder, childhood disintegrative and the “catch-all” diagnosis of pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified. Researchers found that these separate diagnoses were not consistently applied across clinics and treatment centers. Diagnoses such as Asperger’s Disorder and PDD-NOS are no longer included in the new DSM-5 manual. However, it is important to note that anyone previously diagnosed with one of the four pervasive developmental disorders using the DSM-IV will retain their diagnosis, no one will ‘lose’ their diagnosis because of these changes.
Our psychological assessments can determine whether you or your child has an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). We can distinguish ASD from the many other conditions that can include similar symptoms, such as weak receptive and expressive language skills, social anxiety, ADD/ADHD, and intellectual disability. In addition to assessments, we can provide therapy at our office.
At the Austin Psychology & Assessment Center (APACenter), our professionals have extensive expertise in helping children, adolescents, and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders. These clinicians can provide less intensive (1 or 2 hours a week) therapy services to address a range of emotional and behavioral concerns. These therapy services are particularly beneficial for children who are school age or older and have verbal abilities.
Practitioners from our separate but affiliated practice, ABA Connect, can provide more intensive in-home or at-school Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). ABA is an effective, scientifically-validated approach that involves using various techniques to teach functional, necessary skills and to improve challenging behavior.
Please contact the APACenter at (512) 891-1500 if you have additional questions or would like to set up an appointment. If you are interested in ABA therapy services for your child with autism in the home, at our center, or at school, please contact ABA Connect at (512) 898-9044.
It is important to be aware that children and college students who have an Autism Spectrum Disorder are likely eligible for educational services and accommodations through special education or Section 504. Gaining access to such services and accommodations can be critical to meeting students’ academic needs and preserving self-esteem.
Read about our Autism Spectrum Disorder Assessments