Autism Spectrum Disorder Nursing CE Course
At the conclusion of this learning activity, the reader should be able to: Reference the current statistics regarding autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in the US Explore the various and potential ...
At the conclusion of this learning activity, the reader should be able to:
Reference the current statistics regarding autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in the US
Explore the various and potential causes of ASD, as well as some risk and protective factors
Review the diagnostic criteria for ASD, as well as the various signs, symptoms, and commonly associated conditions
Investigate the options for management of ASD
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS, 2018), autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are defined as a significant difficulty with social interaction, problems with verbal and nonverbal communication, repetitive behaviors, and narrow or obsessive interests. The term autism spectrum refers to multiple levels of severity and can be broken down further into autistic disorder (the most severe form), pervasive developmental disorder (PDD), and Asperger syndrome (the least severe cases). It is four times more common in boys than in girls. The most recent prevalence statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC, 2018) Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring network (ADDM) show the number of ASD cases has more than doubled in ten years. As of 2014, the estimates are 1 in 59 people in the US have been diagnosed with ASD, compared to 1 in 125 in 2004 (CDC, 2018). The National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) (Xu, Strathearn, Liu & Bao, 2018b) has shown slightly higher rates than this. Their results showed a reported rate of 2.24% in 2014, 2.41% in 2015 and 2.76% in 2016. The primary difference between these two sources is that the ADDM statistics are based on clinician review of both educational and healthcare evaluations at 11 separate sites throughout the country, while the NHIS is a nationwide telephone survey that reflects verbal reports from parents regarding the presence of a physician diagnosis that has been previously made. The increase in the prevalence of ASD has been attributed to both etiological factors, such as genetics and environmental factors, as well as nonetiological factors, such as changes in diagnostic criteria, public awareness, screening patterns, and referral patterns. ASD is more commonly found in patients that are white (Xu et al., 2018b).
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