The Doctor Is In: Understanding Autism

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Content is sponsored and provided by Henry Ford Health System

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is defined by a certain set of behaviors and is a spectrum condition that affects individuals differently and to varying degrees. There is no known single cause of autism, but increased awareness and early diagnosis/intervention and access to appropriate services/supports lead to significantly improved outcomes.

Henry Ford Health System Expert:
Tisa Johnson-Hooper, M.D. Medical Director, Henry Ford Health System Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities

Autism Spectrum Disorder: Early Signs and Diagnosis ASD is a group of developmental disabilities that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges.

Some possible early signs of ASD:

- Lack of or delay in spoken language

- Repetitive use of language and/or motor mannerisms (e.g., hand-flapping, twirling objects)

- Little or no eye contact

- Lack of interest in peer relationships

- Persistent fixation on parts of objects

The 11th Annual Living with Autism Workshop 
Friday, May 4th
7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m
Detroit Marriott 
200 West Big Beaver Road 
Troy, MI 48084

The workshop provides parents and caregivers with sessions on education, therapy, behavior and an opportunity to connect with medical experts in the field.
Metro Parent magazine and Henry Ford Health System are hosting the event. 
Tickets may be purchased at

Studies show that early diagnosis and intervention lead to significantly improved outcomes.

Each child at Henry Ford's Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities is evaluated through parent interview, direct observations, physical examinations, and diagnostic tools.

Depending on the child's age and symptoms, a specific team will be selected for his or her diagnostic evaluation, including a pediatrician, geneticist, genetic counselor, neuropsychologist, speech-language pathologist, neurologist and psychiatrist.

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Therapy The goal of ABA therapy is to increase useful skills and decrease problem behaviors. ABA therapy uses positive rewards to shape learning and to improve behaviors. When a child receives a reward for a certain behavior, the behavior is more likely to happen again.

ABA therapy helps children add skills that will support them in many settings (at home, at play, and at school). It also aims to increase the chance that those skills will transfer from a one-on-one therapy setting to other everyday situations in the child's life.

Another goal of ABA therapy is to decrease behaviors that may interfere with learning, such as tantrums, aggression, or repetitive behaviors (hand flapping, spinning, etc.).

Additional Treatment Options

- Medical Home Clinic standard of Primary Care

- Speech-Language Therapy

- Center-Based Treatment

- Behavioral health

- Parent training programs

- Social skills groups