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Milestones Autism Resources

4853 Galaxy Parkway, Suite A
Warrensville Heights, OH 44128

Phone: (216) 464-7600

Home Get Started All About ASD What is Autism?

What is Autism?

1 in 36 U.S. children in the United States has Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). ASD is a neurological, developmental disability that can affect behavior, social interaction, communication and sensory processing. Each autistic person has unique challenges and strengths. The autism spectrum includes those who have anywhere from low support needs to higher support needs.

Warning Signs of Autism

If you notice these signs, identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), seek professional assessment. Autistic Children (or adults) may:

  • Not point at objects to show interest (for example, not point at an airplane flying over).
  • Not look at objects when another person points at them.
  • Have trouble relating to others or not have an interest in other people at all.
  • Avoid eye contact and want to be alone.
  • Have trouble understanding other people’s feelings or talking about their own feelings.
  • Be very interested in people, but not know how to talk, play or relate to them.
  • Repeat or echo words or phrases said to them, or repeat words or phrases in place of normal language. 
  • Have trouble expressing their needs using typical words or motions.
  • Not play “pretend” games (for example, not pretend to “feed” a doll).
  • Repeat actions over and over again.
  • Have trouble adapting when a routine changes.
  • Have unusual reactions to the way things smell, taste, look, feel or sound.
  • Lose skills they once had (for example, stop saying words they were using).

For more information, visit the CDC autism site.

Early diagnosis and intervention with evidence-based approaches improve outcomes. Milestones is here to help you get started and can help at every stage.

Getting an Assessment

For a free assessment for children under 3 years old, contact Bright Beginnings in Cuyahoga County at 216.698.7500. In any other Ohio county contact helpmegrow.ohio.gov. If you live outside of Ohio, contact your local early intervention program usually available from your county or city. For a free assessment of children approaching age 3 and above, contact your local school district. From 12 months to at least 36 months of age, every child should be screened for developmental milestones during routine medical well visits.

For older teens or adults seeking an assessment, contact a neurologist or psychologist. The free Milestones Helpdesk can provide more information about the type of professional to consult depending on what your goal of diagnosis is, whether for self knowledge or accessing services or benefits.

More About Autism

The latest research explores a combination of developmental, genetic and environmental components. To find out more about research and data on autism, visit the CDC autism site.

Why has the number of people diagnosed with autism increased? There are several contributing factors:

  • Better identification and diagnosis of autistic individuals.
  • Better diagnosis of girls and minority children.
  • Previous separate conditions such as Asperger’s Syndrome and Pervasive Developmental Disorder are no longer used. The diagnostic guidelines were expanded in 2013 to Autism Spectrum Disorder to include different levels of functioning.
  • A wider umbrella of ASD diagnosis now includes individuals with co-occurring disorders such as Down Syndrome, OCD and anxiety.

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Need assistance? Let Milestones be your local guide.

Unsure of where to start? Contact our free Helpdesk with your questions, and we will do the research for you!

Visit milestones.org/helpdesk and complete an intake form.