Dr. Katz recently returned from the ASD meetings in Boston and wanted to share some information regarding ASD.
What is ASD? Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder characterized by problems with social communication, unusual behaviors such as fixed interests, being inflexible, having repetitive behaviors, or abnormal responses to sensations. Communication problems include difficulty understanding and responding to social cues and nonverbal communication such as gesture and tone of voice, which can result in challenges in making or keeping friends. Although people with ASD may want to make friends, difficulties in understanding social norms or correctly interpreting language and facial expressions can get in the way.
In recent years, it has become clear that individuals with ASD, despite sharing some behavioral challenges, can be quite different from one another. Some people with ASD may be very intelligent, while others may have advanced vocabularies and others may speak very little or not at all. Thus, people in the same family with autism or who share the same genetic risk factor(s) can end up with very different symptoms and outcomes.
While there is no “cure” for ASD, there is medication available that can help with the host of other difficulties that can as problematic as the symptoms of ASD itself. Anxiety, mood instability, impulsivity, hyperactivity, sleep problems, and even aggression and self-injurious behavior can occur in some people with ASD. Medication may be helpful in treating the symptoms of some of these associated conditions. Unfortunately, no medication has shown to offer clear improvement for the social communication impairment or restricted, repetitive behaviors that make up the core issues of patients with ASD.
Sitting down with Dr. Katz to discuss whether it is a good idea to try medication for certain troublesome symptoms in the patient with ASD is always a good idea.