Autism Awareness Month

04/14/2019
One in 59 children in the United States is identified with an Autism Spectrum Disorder.

By Laura Gaugh, PsyD, Pediatric Neuropsychologist, Child Outpatient Psychiatric Services, and Lee Robinson, MD, Child Psychiatrist, Child Outpatient Services

Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are developmental disabilities that affect the way people connect socially with others, communicate, think and behave. An ASD diagnosis reflects a broad range of skills and needs; some individuals have severe difficulties with communicating and functioning independently, while others have moderate challenges, and still others have mild symptoms and function well with few supports. The diagnosis of ASD changed; in the past, someone with an ASD might have been labeled as having Autistic Disorder, Asperger’s Syndrome, or Pervasive Developmental Disorder.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that as of 2014, 1 in 59 children in the United States is identified with an ASD. Although we continue to identify possible genetic and environmental factors that might contribute to ASD, we still do not know the specific causes. Symptoms of autism are usually first noticeable in early childhood and, for most people with ASD, continue to be present across the lifespan.

There is no cure for autism, but there are now many supports, services, and therapies that can help individuals and families function most successfully. Early detection and intervention are key factors in success, as is coordination of care. 
 
CHA created the Clinic for Healthy Child Development (CHCD). Led by Lee Robinson, MD, and supported by Laura Gaugh, PsyD, and Scott Yapo, MD, this service provides timely evaluation and ongoing care for children ages 0-17 who demonstrate signs and symptoms of a developmental disorder like Autism Spectrum Disorder. Talk to your child's physician if you'd like to learn more. 

Autism, local and national supports, services, and resources include:

If you are exploring options in care, discover more about the team at CHA by visiting www.challiance.org/cha/find-a-doctor or call 617-665-1305.

Cambridge Health Alliance

Contributed By: Cambridge Health Alliance

Cambridge Health Alliance is an academic community health care system committed to serving all members of our communities. We have expertise in primary care, mental health and substance abuse, and caring for diverse and complex populations. CHA patients receive high quality care in convenient neighborhood locations, and have seamless access to advanced care through CHA’s affiliation with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. With over 140,000 patients in Cambridge, Somerville Everett and Boston’s Metro North, CHA is working hard to offer the integrated services its communities need now, and in the future.