Week 8: Autism Disorder Assignment Paper

Week 8: Autism Disorder Assignment Paper

According to the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (American Psychiatric Association, 2013), ASD refers to a developmental disorder that includes a spectrum of symptoms, skills, and levels of disability but with some characteristics in common. These characteristics include ongoing social problems such as difficulty communicating and interacting with others, repetitive behaviors and activities, and a restricted range of interests. Although no cure has been found for autism disorder, timely diagnosis and interventions can contribute to improvements in different symptoms of the disorder. Effective disorder management is important in developing acquired traits that aid autism patients in assuming the normal environment. Receiving a diagnosis of autism relies on the personal exhibition of atypical behaviour across multiple settings, such as home and school settings, in three main areas of functioning: social interaction, behaviour, and communication.

Signs and Symptoms According to DSM-5

Symptoms of ASD limit the person’s ability to function in all areas of life, including at home, school, and work. Symptoms of ASD are typically recognized in the first 2 years of life, though an actual diagnosis may come later in life (Hodges et al., 2020). A child’s three main behaviors would show major signs and symptoms of autism disorder. These behaviors include;

  • Social interaction: Include a marked lack of awareness of the existence or feelings of others.
  • Communication: The sense of abnormality in communication shows a problem with a child that needs to be assessed so that the parents understand what their child might be suffering from and take necessary management measures
  • Functioning assessment: Display of restricted repertoire of activities, stereotyped and repetitive body movements

Other symptoms include

  • Delayed language skills
  • Seizure disorder
  • Lack of fear or more fear
  • Delayed cognitive skills
  • Delayed movement abilities

Differential Diagnosis

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The differential diagnosis separates autism from other developmental disorders like down syndrome. It affirms that a child has autism. These symptoms include

  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): This is a brain development condition affecting the attention of a child. It affects the ability to still and control themselves. This disorder affects children at home and in school as well as the kind of friendships they can build.
  • Depression: This is a mental disorder that is linked to the low or high moods of a person. A depressed person loses the pleasure of interacting with people, and in most cases, they like being alone.
  • Anxiety: This is the natural response that the body gives to stress. It is a feeling of fear about something to come. For instance, the fear of being in school on the first day or giving a speech (van’t Hof et al., 2021).
  • Leukoencephalopathy: This is a brain disorder affecting the white matter of the brain. The symptoms include cognitive impairment and movement disorder. The effect brought by the white matter leads to an effect on the normal function of the central nervous system of a child.


The number of children diagnosed with autism disorder in the US has grown for the last three decades. The recent prevalence rate of the disorder stands at 1 in 59 children. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a condition that impairs appropriate development of the brain, which further affects how an individual perceives things and social with people. The problem of social interaction and communication are initial signs that show autistic symptoms in a patient. The disorder begins during early childhood and later causes problems related to interaction with the community, at school, and at work (Hyman et al., 2020). Many children would assume normal development in the first year, but the symptoms would become more pronounced in the succeeding years.

Development and Course

Most development problems happen in the first one year after birth. Autism is a developmental disorder that has a spectrum of symptoms, skills, and levels of disability (Hyman et al., 2020). However, some of the features are common. These characteristics include ongoing social problems such as

  • Difficulty communicating
  • Interacting with others
  • Repetitive behaviors and activities
  • Genetic and non-genetic influences.
  • Changes in the genetic makeup Figure 1 is a mind map that summarises the development and cause of ASD.

Figure 2: Mind map


The confirmation of ASD usually comes from an assessment done by the clinical psychologist or any development pediatrician. Some children might show signs of ASD as early as birth, while others would show these signs when they are under five years. Sharma et al. (2018) asserts that the parents’ health history acts as the main factor that allows the health care professional to determine autism at birth. ASD might happen due to numerous issues which could end in diverse prognoses in children. Consequently, autism could transform into a lifelong mental illness if swift and intensive interventions are not taken to correct the situation. Early intervention given to children could reduce the effect of autism on children and allow children to develop a positive sense of their surroundings. A child would not show autism signs in the early stages of birth, but as the child begins to interact with people and the surrounding, the effect of the disorder becomes pronounced (Hyman et al., 2020). Early diagnosis of the disorder would be important in managing the condition by training the child’s brain to shun the autistic symptoms and adapt to the environment. These are the best approach to these infections after it has been diagnosed in a child.

Consideration related to Culture, Gender, and Age

Early childhood development is affected by age, gender and culture. The neurodevelopment among children is affected by the culture and the social practices adopted in the community. The motor skills adopt a similar fashion of development in every culture. However, the development of social skills depends on cultural context and norms (Sharma et al., 2018). A child might be born with an autistic condition, but the power and interaction they find in the community and their culture limits the condition from affecting their lives adversely. Besides, genetic screening done on boys and girls shows the condition vary across gender. While the girls might be showing a slow process of adapting to their surroundings, the boys would be faster in accepting their environments. Most males gain their motor abilities before attaining their third birthday, while females would take a longer time.

Pharmacological Treatments

Children diagnosed with ASD always benefit from interventions and treatment at early stages. Currently, the FDA does not approve ASD treatment, promoting healthcare to depend on management strategies (Grove et al., 2019). Some drugs such as risperidone and aripiprazole are used in treating irritability linked to ASD children at certain ages.

Nonpharmacological treatments

Cognitive behavior therapy, interpersonal and psychodynamic therapies are nonpharmacological treatments for ASD. These therapies help one to develop self-awareness of what one feels and the reasons for feeling that way. Besides, they teach skills in dealing with negative thinking and changing behaviors and attitudes. Three majorly used therapies are always healthy, traditional, and easy to use among the many therapies available (Grove et al., 2019). Cognitive-behavioral therapy is physiotherapy that depicts irrational thinking patterns, emotional responses, and/or behavior thus replacing them with rational patterns. It has become a crucial part of psychology since its formation as a treatment for depression. Psychodynamics is ‘insight-oriented therapy, and it encompasses unlikely processes as they are seen in a person’s present behavior. Lastly, interpersonal therapy is a fact-based treatment that follows a stipulated draft or schedule that is majorly a period of three to four months. It is centered on life experiences, social status, moods, and reverse.


Figure 3: Cognitive Behavior Theory

Diagnostics and labs Comorbidities

Lab tests and diagnostics are significant in realizing the autistic condition of a child and the severity of the condition. These tests include

  • Complete Blood Count (CBC): This is a form of blood test done in the lab to determine a patient’s general health status.
  • Urinalysis tests: are significant in detecting metabolic reactions, liver problems, and diabetes. These are some of the conditions that affect the normal adaption of a child to the surrounding environment.
  • Chromosome tests: These tests are important in understanding inherited problems affecting ASD patients (Grove et al., 2019).

On the other hand, comorbidities include

  • Intellectual disability,
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD),
  • Feeling disorder

Therefore, the PMHNP taking care of children with autism should be aware of the comorbidities before undertaking any treatment approach.

Legal and Ethical Considerations Pertinent Patient Education Considerations

ASD children are prone to social interaction problems in school, at work, or at home. These always heighten suicidal attempts among them (Sharma et al., 2018). Therefore, it would be ethical for psychologists to include community intervention to prevent harm. Suppose a psychologist cannot handle the development problem. In that case, they should apply the power of professional collaboration that includes pediatricians, neurologists, speech pathologists, and psychiatrists to develop an effective intervention for a problem.


Autism is considered a spectrum disorder, as symptom severity varies considerably between individuals. Some individuals are severely impaired by their symptoms. For example, they may have special affinities for objects or activities that others find unusual. Some individuals with ASD are resistant to more socially appropriate play demonstrations and are difficult to engage in social activities. This disorder does not have a cure. However, effective management treatment has been the most effective treatment option for this disorder among children.


Grove, J., Ripke, S., Als, T. D., Mattheisen, M., Walters, R. K., Won, H., … & Børglum, A. D. (2019). Identification of common genetic risk variants for autism spectrum disorder. Nature Genetics51(3), 431-444. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41588-019-0344-8

Hodges, H., Fealko, C., & Soares, N. (2020). Autism spectrum disorder: definition, epidemiology, causes, and clinical evaluation. Translational Pediatrics9(Suppl 1), S55. https://dx.doi.org/10.21037%2Ftp.2019.09.09

Hyman, S. L., Levy, S. E., Myers, S. M., Kuo, D. Z., Apkon, S., Davidson, L. F., … & Bridgemohan, C. (2020). Identification, evaluation, and management of children with autism spectrum disorder. Pediatrics145(1). https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2019-3447

Sharma, S. R., Gonda, X., & Tarazi, F. I. (2018). Autism spectrum disorder: classification, diagnosis and therapy. Pharmacology & Therapeutics190, 91-104. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pharmthera.2018.05.007

van’t Hof, M., Tisseur, C., van Berckelear-Onnes, I., van Nieuwenhuyzen, A., Daniels, A. M., Deen, M., … & Ester, W. A. (2021). Age at autism spectrum disorder diagnosis: A systematic review and meta-analysis from 2012 to 2019. Autism25(4), 862-873. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F1362361320971107


At leased 5 pages
Please do autism disorder following this guideline.
Assignment: Study Guide Forum
Abnormal brain development or damage at an early age can lead to neurodevelopmental disorders. Within this group of disorders, some are resolvable with appropriate and timely interventions, either pharmacological or nonpharmacological, while other disorders are chronic and need to be managed throughout the lifespan.

For this Assignment, you will develop a study guide for an assigned disorder and share it with your colleagues. In sum, these study guides will be a powerful tool in preparing for your certification exam.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

To Prepare
Your Instructor will assign you to a specific neurodevelopmental disorder from the DSM-5.
Research your assigned disorder using the Walden Library. Then, develop an organizational scheme for the important information about the disorder.
The Assignment
Create a study guide for your assigned disorder. Your study guide should be in the form of an outline with references, and you should incorporate visual elements such as concept maps, charts, diagrams, images, color coding, mnemonics, and/or flashcards. Be creative! It should not be in the format of an APA paper. Your guide should be informed by the DSM-5 but also supported by at least three other scholarly resources.

Areas of importance you should address, but are not limited to, are:

Signs and symptoms according to the DSM-5
Differential diagnoses
Development and course
Considerations related to culture, gender, age
Pharmacological treatments, including any side effects
Nonpharmacological treatments
Diagnostics and labs
Legal and ethical considerations
Pertinent patient education considerations
By Day 7 of Week 8
You will need to submit your Assignment to two places: the Week 8 Study Guide discussion forum as an attachment and the Week 8 Assignment submission link. Although no responses are required in the discussion forum, collegial discussion is welcome. You are encouraged to utilize your peers’ submitted guides on their assigned neurodevelopmental disorders for study.

Submission and Grading Information
To submit your completed Assignment for review and grading, do the following:

Please save your Assignment using the naming convention “WK8Assgn+last name+first initial.(extension)” as the name.
Click the Week 8 Assignment Rubric to review the Grading Criteria for the Assignment.
Click the Week 8 Assignment link. You will also be able to “View Rubric” for grading criteria from this area.
Next, from the Attach File area, click on the Browse My Computer button. Find the document you saved as “WK8Assgn+last name+first initial.(extension)” and click Open.
If applicable: From the Plagiarism Tools area, click the checkbox for I agree to submit my paper(s) to the Global Reference Database.

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