Autism Spectrum Disorders

Rachel Katherine Levy, PhD

Psychologist located in Bronxville, NY & Upper East Side, New York, NY

Autism spectrum disorder or ASD affects at least 1 in 59. Many believe that the incidence rates have increased in the past years. ASD can be detected and diagnosed in early childhood, and early intervention makes an enormous difference in a child’s development and future functioning. Each child diagnosed with ASD has a unique profile of strengths and weaknesses. Dr. Levy conducts a complete functional analysis to determine precisely which processes need attention and in what areas the child or individual has particular strengths. Dr. Rachel Katherine Levy works expertly to improve targeted social, functional, and behavioral skills while preserving and enhancing self-esteem and special ability areas. To schedule an appointment, use the online booking feature or call one of the offices located on the Upper East Side of New York City and in Bronxville, New York.

Autism Spectrum Disorders Q & A

What is autism spectrum disorder?

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a type of developmental disability that first becomes evident at birth or during childhood. The diagnosis includes individuals with vastly different levels of functioning, from those of limited intellectual ability who will need lifetime care and support to high functioning individuals who are often experts in what they do. The incredible range of impairments is why it is deemed a spectrum disorder. Some of the core features of all cases include:

  • Deficits in social communication and interaction
  • Repetitive and restrictive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities
  • Symptoms that impair functioning at school, work, home, or in the community

Unlike depression or substance abuse, ASD is not something that is cured; instead, targeted therapy focused on improving skills in weak areas helps people with ASD live long, happy, and productive lives. 

When do autism spectrum disorder symptoms develop?

Most children gradually develop ASD symptoms during their first few years. However, at least 20% of children develop normally, then around the age of 2, their development stalls, they lose skills, and they’re subsequently diagnosed with ASD. This regression can happen any time up until the age of 7 years, with 10% of children losing their abilities after the age of 3 years.

On average, parents first talk with their health care provider about ASD-related developmental concerns when their child is around 2 years old. Studies show that on average, autism is diagnosed when children are a little over 4 years old.

What autism spectrum disorder symptoms might I notice in my child?

These are a few examples of the symptoms parents may notice in children with ASD:

Communication-related symptoms:

  • May prefer to play alone
  • Makes little or no eye contact
  • Has delayed speech
  • Repeats phrases verbatim
  • Doesn’t share their interests with others
  • Talks at length about a favorite subject

Behavior-related symptoms:

  • Performs the same activity over and over
  • Insists on following a specific ritual or routine
  • Becomes very upset at a change in routine
  • Shows intense interest in one activity, type of toy, TV show, or movie
  • Doesn’t participate in make-believe play

Children with ASD often have sensory processing disorders. You may notice that your child is over- or under-sensitive to smells, lights, temperature, and sounds.

How is autism spectrum disorder treated?

The problem with providing a list of autism symptoms is that they can give you a few clues, but they don’t begin to describe the many nuances of ASD challenges or the complexities that are unique to each person. While most have a hard time regulating their behavior and emotions, these challenges are expressed in many possible ways, and each manifestation must be carefully evaluated to determine the trigger and reason for the reaction.

When Dr. Levy diagnoses and treats ASD, she honors each patient’s unique characteristics, prioritizes their challenges, and then develops therapeutic goals that teach the skills needed to better manage their life. Her expertise in many behavioral, cognitive, and psychodynamic therapies allows her to truly customize each patient’s treatment.

To learn more about treatment for autism spectrum disorders, call Dr. Rachel Katherine Levy or schedule an appointment online.