When learning about cognitive disorders, many people ask the question, “What does ASD stand for?”  ASD is the medical abbreviation for Autism Spectrum Disorder, which is the official name for a wide group of complex developmental disorders.  These disorders have varying degrees of difficulty regarding social interaction, learning capabilities, repetitive behaviors and communication skills that are both verbal and nonverbal.

What’s the definition of ASD and what does it stand for?

An exact definition for the Autism Spectrum Disorder can seem confusing because it covers a broad number of developmental disorders and disabilities.  A disorder falling under ASD is generally a condition related to inhibited brain development.  This brain development can often have various effects on individuals, all with varying degrees.

Symptoms can consist of: speech impediments and repetitive behaviors such a snapping, clapping, rocking or hand flapping.  Individuals with ASD also often have difficulty interacting with others. Often they may not respond to their own name when called upon.  Their tonal patterns may also be difficult to understand at times.  They may speak with a robotic or singing voice periodically.

The most noticeable characteristic for people with this condition is the lack of social communication.  There are subtle forms of nonverbal communication that are not used widely for those with learning disorders.  Some of these symptoms can consist of:

  • Lack of eye contact
  • Lack of facial expression
  • Inability to recognize non-verbal communication such as body posture, facial expression, and voice tones.
  • Unaffectionate or lonely behavior. Many individuals with ASD will avoid interaction with others to “retreat into their own world.”
  • Performing behaviors that can produce self-harm like head banging or biting.
  • Specific routines that must be followed or else they will become very disturbed at the slightest difference in routine.
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Difficulty expressing emotions through words

These symptoms are very prevalent in adolescence; however, they usually subside over time when these individuals grow into adulthood.  It takes several years for people with and without Autism Spectrum disorder to adjust to the social intricacies of everyday life.  However, even still, it can be very difficult for such people to find work as adults.  Many businesses do not accept employees with special circumstances or mental disabilities.

It’s for this reason that international programs like Best Buddies have been made in order help those with ASD obtain job opportunities and increase social engagement with individuals all over the world.  Best Buddies, along with several other non-profit organizations of this nature, are committed to helping anyone and everyone with physical or developmental disabilities obtain new jobs and life opportunities in nearly every country.

What is the meaning of ASD?  Why does it happen?

There is no sure reason for the cause of Autism Spectrum Disorder.  It’s a very complex condition with varying levels of severity.  There are possibly several genetic or environmental conditions that can cause such disorders.  For some individuals, ASD can be linked to genetic changes or genetic disorders.  However, there are many different genes that can cause or determine the severity of ASD.

As far as environmental factors go, researchers are still studying what sorts of factors can cause Autism Spectrum Disorder.  It’s worth mentioning here that there is zero conclusive evidence that ASD is the result of medical vaccines given to children.  There have been many movements throughout the 90’s and early 2000’s among people who believe that mental disabilities are the result of vaccines that have been given to children in effort to prevent deadly diseases from spreading and taking lives.  Rest assured, there has been no evidence to support these claims.  There has been no preventable connection found for the cause of Autism Spectrum Disorder, and thus, there is no way to prevent such a condition from occurring.

Is There Treatment for ASD?

There is good news for those with Autism Spectrum Disorder.  While there may not be a “cure” or form of “prevention,” there’s always treatment for those with such conditions.  Individuals with such disorders may not ever have the natural social functioning behaviors that society deems necessary, but they can still learn how to interact appropriately with others in a way that is cooperative and efficient.

The main problem for many with these disorders is the inability to interact with others, so this is the primary focus when receiving treatment.  Such problems can consist of:

  • Difficulty paying attention or learning from teachers or instructors
  • Social Isolation
  • Difficulty acquiring jobs from employers
  • Difficulty living alone
  • Difficulty cooperating with others.
  • Inability to understand subtle social ques and signals
  • Inappropriate timing for conversations or lack of seriousness during important conversations or situations.

These may not seem like large hurdles to overcome; however, these struggles are very dominant in everyday life, preventing people with Autism Spectrum Disorder from taking advantage of opportunities that are otherwise given to everyday people. It’s best to diagnose the disorder and begin treatment early in adolescence, so the individuals can learn how to engage with others starting at an early age.  This can prevent social problems down the road and provide several opportunities for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder. However, if treatment is not given at an early age, that’s okay.  Social interactions can also be taught and helped later in life, even in adulthood.

Misperceptions associated to the disease

It’s also important to note that people with Autism Spectrum Disorder are not stupid or unintelligent.  There is almost limitless evidence regarding ASD individuals that are capable of solving extremely complex puzzles with little to no assistance from others.  In fact, it’s fairly common for companies to have employees with Autism Spectrum Disorder on their staff or board of directors simply because they think differently.  Often times, instead of thinking with their words, these individuals think more with shapes, visual stories and images, enabling them to solve problems that seem unsolvable to many people.  This often gives them unique perspectives on important matters, which is why their opinions are valued in some corporate offices.

All in all, it’s important to understand the unique struggles and gifts that are given to individuals with Autism Spectrum disorder.  There are many challenges that met with such a condition, but there are also blessings as well.  Support for individuals with these conditions can be found far and wide, all over the globe.  While there may not be a cure for this condition, there is always treatment and support where needed.  After reading this article you should be able to understand the ASD meaning.  So, the next time someone asks, “What does ASD stand for?” or, “What’s the ASD medical abbreviation,” you’ll be able to give a completely informed, educated answer.