About Autism

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is characterized by impaired social interaction, problems with verbal and nonverbal communication, and unusual, repetitive, or severely limited activities and interests. Individuals previously diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome or PDD(NOS) also are included under the Autism Spectrum Disorder umbrella.  Today, 1 in 68 individuals is diagnosed with autism. Males are four times more likely to have autism than females.

Early Warning Signs

It is important to understand the early warning signs of autism because the earlier a child begins a behavioral intervention program, the higher the likelihood that progress will be made. Common symptoms include the following.

  • Lack of eye contact
  • Not smiling by 6 months
  • Lack of single word language by 16 months
  • Regression in language skills or social skills
  • Repetitive behaviors (e.g. lining up objects, spinning objects)

For more information about early signs of autism visit First Signs.

Applied Behavior Analysis

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a discipline concerned with the application of behavioral science in a real world setting. Several hundred studies have supported the successful use of ABA methods in treating children with autism. Modern ABA-based programs use a wide variety of tactics and do not employ a one size fits all methodology. One of the main principles of applied behavior analysis is the concept of positive reinforcement. The general objective of ABA is to encourage positive or useful behaviors while reducing behaviors that may be unproductive or harmful.

For more information about Applied Behavior Analysis visit the Association for Science in Autism Treatment (ASAT) or The Behavior Analysis Certification Board.

There are many resources that provide helpful information to families impacted by autism. Several local and national organizations are listed below.

Commonwealth Autism
Autism Society of America – Central Virginia Chapter
Autism Society of America
Autism Speaks

The Founders Center has not validated and is not responsible for any information or services provided by third party websites. You are urged to use independent judgment and request references when considering any resource associated with the provision of services related to autism.