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Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Adult and Child Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner located in Tuscaloosa, AL

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) symptoms often appear in the first few years after birth, but an autism diagnosis could happen at any age. Contact Ella Williamson, MSN, CRNP, FNP-BC, PMHNP-BC, at Druid City Wellness Center in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, if you think you might have ASD or your child is exhibiting ASD behaviors. Ella uses advanced testing to confirm a diagnosis and provides treatments that help you or your child flourish. Call Druid City Wellness Center to request an ASD assessment or book an in-person or telemedicine appointment online today.

What is autism spectrum disorder (ASD)?

Autism spectrum disorder arises from developmental differences in the brain that cause problems with communication and social skills.

Children and adults with ASD may be anywhere on the spectrum, from having mild impairments to severe disabilities. Conditions that now come under the ASD umbrella include Asperger’s syndrome (high-functioning autism), autistic disorder, and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified.

What symptoms does autism spectrum disorder cause?

The key symptoms of ASD are problems communicating and interacting with others, limited but highly focused interests, and repetitive behaviors. However, ASD symptoms vary considerably between individuals. Behaviors someone with ASD might exhibit include:

  • Avoiding or inconsistently making eye contact
  • Being unresponsive spoken to
  • Difficulties making conversation
  • Inappropriate facial expressions or gestures
  • Difficulty understanding others’ actions and expressions
  • Frequently repeating certain phrases or actions
  • An intense interest in a specific topic
  • Disliking any changes in routine
  • Increased or reduced sensitivity to stimuli like light and sound
  • Exceptional intelligence and/or memory

Not everyone with autism displays these symptoms. Moreover, they’re often things people without ASD might do. If you recognize several of them in yourself or your child, visit Druid City Wellness Center for an expert evaluation.

How is autism spectrum disorder diagnosed?

Diagnosing ASD requires a meeting with Ella, where she can assess you or your child’s symptoms. Druid City Wellness Center also uses the Clarifi™️ ASD biological tool to help diagnose autism. The test only requires a saliva cheek swab.

Clarifi isn’t a genetic test; it uses new research into the microbiome and epigenetics — the factors influencing how genes turn on and off and what causes this to happen.

Certain ribonucleic acid (RNA) molecules regulating gene activity reflect connections between you and your environment, such as your exposure to pollution or tobacco smoke. Extensive clinical research shows these molecules differ in children with autism spectrum disorder.

How is autism spectrum disorder treated?

ASD is part of your child’s makeup rather than an illness requiring a cure. Druid City Wellness Center’s treatment programs involve helping you or your child adapt to their differences and manage any problems they encounter.

Some children might need medications to manage issues like depression, anxiety, hyperactivity, or aggression. Behavioral and educational therapy helps to reduce challenging behaviors and improve communication and social skills. 

Call Druid City Wellness Center to arrange an autism spectrum disorder assessment or book an appointment online today.