What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a type of developmental disorder that affects the way a person communicates, learns, behaves, and interprets the behavior of others. Children with autism spectrum disorder are often diagnosed at around age 2, as that is when many major milestones are typically seen, but this disorder can also be diagnosed in teens or adults later in life.

Some common symptoms of ASD include:

● Difficulties in communicating with others, often appearing like they are not listening or not making eye contact during conversations.

● Having a hard time understanding the point of view of other people, and having difficulty predicting how other people may react or behave.

● Displaying “odd” facial expressions, gestures, or tones of voice that do not match what they are saying, and having a hard time adjusting their behaviors to match social settings.

● Being slow to respond to their own name.

● Difficulties in engaging in imaginative play and in making friends.

● Repetitive behaviors or repeating words and phrases.

● Having very intense interests in specific topics, or a very restricted number of interests, often speaking at length about a single topic even when others show signs that they are not interested.

● Becoming overwhelmed and overstimulated easily, with difficulty being around loud noises, bright or twinkling lights, temperature changes, uncomfortable fabric, etc.

● Having a very good memory for certain things, or being successful in topics like math or art, but having a hard time applying their knowledge to work or social situations.

● Displaying self-injurious behaviors like head banging, biting, or scratching.

Not everybody diagnosed with ASD will have every symptom.. Every person is unique, and because autism is a spectrum, with some people needing constant care and others able to be more independent, treatments need to be individualized to suit each person.

children with autism spectrum disorder

How Common is Autism Spectrum Disorder Among Children?

ASD in children in the U.S. is diagnosed in approximately 1 in 44 children, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2018 data survey, with boys being four times as likely to be diagnosed (1 in 27 boys were diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum, but only 1 in 116 girls were). Children with autism spectrum disorder are from all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups, although children from minority groups tend to be diagnosed later in life, and less often in general.

Because there is no medical test for unmasking autism in children, it often falls to parents, caregivers, and doctors to pay attention to the child’s behavior throughout early development to be able to diagnose ASD as early as possible. Early detection and beginning treatment and care as quickly as possible will provide the child with the opportunity for healthy development and a higher overall quality of life.

children with autism spectrum disorder

Positive Reinforcement

One of the main strategies used in ABA is positive reinforcement, and by identifying a goal behavior, then rewarding this behavior, the client will be encouraged to continue using the behavior or skill, which, over time, will lead to the behavior becoming long-term change. Complex skills are broken down into small, achievable steps that will help meet bigger long-term future goals.

children with autism spectrum disorder


Another common component to ABA therapy is “Antecedent, Behavior, Consequence”, helping to understand what happens to cause a specific behavior, the behavior itself, and what happens after the behavior. This helps parents and therapists to understand why a behavior may be happening, and whether applying different consequences may affect whether the behavior will continue.

Family members and caregivers are provided with training to keep ABA therapy lessons consistent at home and during therapy, to avoid confusion or conflicting instructions, and to give guidance to parents.

ABA therapy in children with autism spectrum disorder can help them to:

● Learn complex or simple skills.

● Improve their communication skills.

● Increase language skills

● Help decrease maladaptive behaviors, by replacing these behaviors with more appropriate ones

● Improve motor skills.

● Improve social skills, self-care skills, play, and leisure time.

● Improve memory and academic abilities.

● Improve focus and attention.

● Improve confidence in their own ability to learn new skills.

Other common therapies for children with autism spectrum disorder include:

  1. Occupational therapy.

  2. Speech and language therapy.

  3. Social skills training.

  4. Treatment for co-occurring mental health conditions like anxiety, ADHD, depression, etc.

  5. Special education academic classes.
children with autism spectrum disorder

Find a Positive and Engaging Learning Environment for Your Kids at The Cardinal Center for Behavior Analysis

The Cardinal Center for Behavior Analysis is here to help children with autism spectrum disorder and their families, offering professional treatments and therapy to your child or teen through high levels of support, empathy, and ethical services that include parent training.

Treatment plans are developed by a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA), along with parents, and then a Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) implements the treatment plays day-to-day. All of our team members are dedicated to helping families, offering strong support, while raising you up with one-on-one care that meets your child where they are at their own comfort level. We provide out-of-the box thinking, putting your needs first as we adjust our strategies to personalize each client’s support as needed. Each family is unique, so we work to consider your needs and goals in every level of care.

Your kids will have fun as they gain new life skills and academic readiness tools that will give them the foundations they will need when moving forward in school. Our skilled and experienced staff is passionate about helping kids at all levels of need.   Along with our SOAR (scholastic, occupational, and academic readiness) program and 1 to 1 Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy sessions, we have a fun social group where teenagers can practice social skills as they meet kids their own age and have fun together. Some ABA services may be available for in-home services.

At Cardinal, we pride ourselves on not having a waitlist, so you can access support and learning resources right away. Please call us at 919-642-4789 to learn more about our locations nation-wide, the services and resources we provide, and how we can help you and your family overcome the obstacles you may be facing.

children with autism


Get in touch. We're here to help.