Disclaimer: Audio answers are not necessarily endorsed by the ASBC. They are provided as a service to visitors of the website.

Q: Is autism treatable? (Audio answer by Dr. Glen Davies)

A: Yes. Scientifically validated forms of intensive early intervention, such as Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA), have been shown to help individuals with autism acquire meaningful skills and learning techniques, and ultimately reach their full potential.

Q: What warning signs should parents be aware of? (Audio answer by Dr. Glen Davies)

A: ASD is considered a spectrum disorder, meaning it affects each individual differently. Symptoms vary in intensity and type from person to person. There are however some social, behavioural and sensory characteristics that are consistent with ASD. When talking about a young child we look for such things as: do we see imaginative play? Does the child point and declare? Can you establish shared attention? If you recognize deficits in any of these basic areas it is best to speak to a qualified specialist as soon as possible.

Q: What are the main differences between autism treatment programs for children and adults? (Audio answer by Joanne Ma)

A: As individuals grow, their behaviours evolve and so do their needs. In childhood the focus is on maintaining a structured environment, with a 1:1 therapy focus for 40 hours (ideally) a week in order to build the necessary skills to carry individuals into adulthood. Treating an adult with autism means community planning, skills training in the work force, social skills building for 1:1 and group facilitation, as well as developing coping strategies. It is all a matter of building stepping-stones and reacting to the changes that come with growing up.

Q: What is the difference between DSM-IV and DSM-V? (Audio answer by Dr. Glen Davies)

A: The diagnostic and statistical manual guides the diagnostic practices of Psychiatrists and Psychologists in North America. In 2013 the DSM-IV gave way to the DSM-V, with notable changes to the classification of autism. In the past, individuals could be diagnosed with four separate disorders: autistic disorder, Asperger’s disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder, or the “catch-all” diagnosis of pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified.

Changes were brought in to help make the autism diagnosis more consistent and, in part, more stringent. While autism was once classified under three categories: Communication, socialization and behaviour (repertoire of interest), we now have one category representing social communication and another for restrictive or repetitive behaviours. Another significant change is the addition of a diagnosis called social pragmatic disorder, which is not considered on the autism spectrum, but contains elements that look quite similar to the category of social communication.

Q: Can families in rural areas still implement ABA treatment programs? (Audio answer by Dr. Glen Davies)

A: Even though it may seem difficult, families can still implement ABA programs in more rural areas. Many Behavioural Consultants use technology to bridge onsite client visits. In the past, groups of parents have even teamed up to bring in Behavioural Consultants from other locations. There are now a number of behavioural consultants who are willing to travel. In addition, The ASBC is actively targeting training for Behaviour Interventionists in the outlying areas of B.C.