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Overview of ASD

Overview of ASD

Discuss two ways that treatments and views on ASD have changed over time:

The concept of autism was unspecified before the 1940s and 1960s. Previously, the disorder was viewed as childhood schizophrenia. Due to the domination of the psychoanalytic theory between 1911 and 1940, autism was majorly identified as a form of childhood schizophrenia, and the mother’s method of rearing the child from birth was blamed for the development of such a psychological problem in their children (O’Reilly et al., 2020). During this period, psychological problems, such as autism, were treated using invasive methods, including insulin shock, drug therapies, and intense psychoanalysis.

The scientific progress on autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has improved knowledge of the condition and advancement in the treatment of the disorder. ASD is no longer viewed as childhood schizophrenia or a condition due to the mother’s parenting. It is now a blanket term for complex, highly heritable neurodevelopmental diseases that include the affected characterized by individuals manifesting both behavioral and cognitive impairments (Lordan et al., 2021). The treatment of the disease has also shifted from intensively invasive methods and psychoanalysis to the use of a wide range of pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments.

Currently, non-pharmacological methods include the use of behavioral therapy, speech therapy, and occupational therapy methods based on the manifested symptoms (Lordan et al., 2021). The pharmacological methods today include the use of antipsychotics, majorly risperidone and aripiprazole. Other methods include diets such as the use of gluten-free/casein-free diets for ASD children, as the peptides derived from gluten and casein as suspected to contribute to the development of ASD (Lordan et al., 2021). Providing diets rich in Vitamins B6, C, magnesium, and Omega-3 fatty acids is also a suggested intervention as it improves and restores mental homeostasis and play a role in neurodevelopment and brain functioning (Lordan et al., 2021).

Discuss three suspected causes of ASD today:

The three suspected causes of ASD today are genetics, the environment, and biological factors of brain development. Genetics is a major cause of ASD and a risk factor for the development of ASD in children. Studies focused on ASD across family lines and in twins have proved that the condition has a risk of heritability of up to 90 percent, meaning genetics are much involved in causing ASD (Lord et al., 2020). In addition, exome sequencing studies link over 100 genes to the risk of mutating, creating alterations in DNA sequencing with a risk of affecting protein-coding regions of the genes, creating a risk for the development of autism (Satterstrom et al., 2020).

Although neurobiological studies are not conclusive, there is a lot of connection between brain development and the risk of autism. Available studies show observable structural differences in the brain at six months of age in terms of the fractional anisotropy trajectories for 12 of 15 neural fibre tracts in children diagnosed with autism with those not diagnosed with the condition at two years of age (Lord et al., 2020). Additionally, abnormal brain growth has been observed in children between one and two years of age who were later diagnosed with autism.

Various environmental factors are also risk factors for the development of autism. These include having kids at an advanced age of the parents, trauma at birth, exposure to environmental pollutants during pregnancy, maternal diabetes and obesity, as well as having a low birth weight and related factors (Lord et al., 2020).

Explain why it is important to understand research-based causal theories versus popular-belief causal theories:

It is important to understand research-based causal theories over popular-belief causal theories because research-based theories focus on the development of scientific knowledge to support the diagnosis of mental conditions such as autism spectrum disorder. Research-based causal theories help understand the mechanisms of autism, the development of evidence-based treatment options and their effects, the identification of heterogeneity of the condition, and how individualized treatment and care can be developed. On the other hand, popular-belief causal theories are subjective, and views may vary and lack empirical evidence to support conclusions.

Explain how ASD is diagnosed in a child that is age birth through 8 years of age. (Include the DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for ASD):

ASD is majorly diagnosed by observational screening tools focused on the child’s social and cognitive abilities. The two main tools used in the diagnosis of ASD are DSM-5 and M-CHAT. The DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for ASD is the widely used diagnostic tool for ASD. The DSM-5 criteria include the use of specifiers to identify dual diagnoses of ASD and ADHD or other psychiatric conditions (Lord et al., 2020). The DSM-5 suggested diagnostic procedures require the diagnosing physician to create a detailed developmental history based on the parents’ observations. The developmental history should focus on early observations and concerns from birth. The observations should also include interactions with people around the child as they develop and within peer groups for children in their later years.

The observed developmental deficits must be persistent with factors of socializing such as communication and interaction, including social reciprocity, nature of relationships, and interpretation of nonverbal cues. Additionally, the diagnosis must be based on persistence in routines, fixation on interests, hypoactivity or hyperactivity, and repetitiveness in actions (Lord et al., 2020).


Lord, C., Brugha, T. S., Charman, T., Cusack, J., Dumas, G., Frazier, T., Jones, E. J. H., Jones, R. M., Pickles, A., State, M. W., Taylor, J. L., & Veenstra-VanderWeele, J. (2020). Autism spectrum disorder. Nature Reviews. Disease Primers, 6(1), 5.

Lordan, R., Storni, C., & Benedictis, C. A. de. (2021). Autism Spectrum Disorders: Diagnosis and Treatment. Autism Spectrum Disorders, 17–32.

O’Reilly, M., Lester, J. N., & Kiyimba, N. (2020). Autism in the Twentieth Century: An Evolution of a Controversial Condition. In Healthy Minds in the Twentieth Century (pp. 137–165). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

Satterstrom, F. K. et al. (2020). Large-Scale Exome Sequencing Study Implicates Both Developmental and Functional Changes in the Neurobiology of Autism. Cell, 180(3), 568.


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It is important to be able to educate others on the causal theories of ASD and properly explain how ASD is diagnosed.

Overview of ASD

Overview of ASD


For this assignment, you are going to make a brochure on autism spectrum disorder (ASD) intended to educate parents, grandparents, and others. Your brochure will provide an overview of causal theories and how ASD is diagnosed.

Use the Unit 2 Assignment Template to complete this assignment. The content of your brochure should be 2–3 pages in length. You may add images or other graphical elements to your brochure as you like. (Graphical elements may increase the page count, which is acceptable.)

Please include the following information:

Causal Theories
Discuss two ways the treatments of and views on autism spectrum disorder have changed over time.
Discuss three suspected causes of ASD today.
Explain why it is important to understand research-based causal theories versus popular-belief causal theories.
Diagnosing Autism Spectrum Disorder
Explain how ASD is diagnosed in a child that is age birth through 8 years of age. (Include the DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for ASD):
Responses to each section should be written in paragraph format and be a minimum of 250 words.

A separate reference page is provided in the template for your APA citations. Use current APA formatting and citation style. A minimum of two references is required.

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