Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by deficits in social communication and social interaction and the presence of restricted, repetitive behaviors. Social communication deficits include impairments in aspects of joint attention and social reciprocity, as well as challenges in the use of verbal and nonverbal communicative behaviors for social interaction. Restricted, repetitive behaviors, interests, or activities are manifested by stereotyped, repetitive speech, motor movement, or use of objects; inflexible adherence to routines; restricted interests; and hyper- and/or hypo-sensitivity to sensory input.
According to the DSM-5, individuals who meet the specified criteria are given the diagnosis of "autism spectrum disorder (ASD)" with one of three levels of severity. Level of severity is defined in terms of the amount of support needed in the area of social communication and with restricted, repetitive behaviors, recognizing that severity may vary by context and fluctuate over time. Severity ratings are used for descriptive purposes only and not to diagnose or determine eligibility for services (American Psychiatric Association, 2013).
For further information regarding incidence, signs/symptoms, causes, assessment and treatment consult http://www.asha.org/Practice-Portal/Clinical-Topics/Autism/
The mission of the Autism Center at the University of Louisiana at Monroe (AC-ULM) is to serve as a comprehensive resource that shall enhance the quality of life for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and their families.
The Autism Center at the University of Louisiana at Monroe shall provide the following for individuals from one year to adulthood (18 years):
1. A variety of comprehensive evaluations conducted by licensed and certified speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, and related professionals with the assistance of graduate and undergraduate students;
2. Consultative and direct services to a variety of agencies/organizations on the specialized needs of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD); and
3. Classes or seminars for speech-language pathologists, educational and medical professionals, paraprofessionals, students and parents including the northeast Louisiana region and beyond.