April is Autism awareness month, so I decided I would promote awareness by sharing what I learned about Autism from a paper I wrote.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is classified under neurodevelopmental disorders in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM5). To be diagnosed with ASD, a person needs to have had difficulties in social communication and repetitive behaviors evident in early development. Diagnostic features include impairments in social-emotional reciprocity, social interaction/communication, nonverbal communication, and developing relationships. Children with ASD also have impairment of motor functioning, Green et al. (2009) found that 79% of the 101 children diagnosed with ASD in their study had definite movement impairments and 10% had borderline difficulties. The motor impairments were measured with the Movement Assessment Battery for Children, some areas studied included fine motor hand skills, ball skills, balance, and coordination. Most treatments available for ASD focus on a specific impairment, therefore children are normally in multiple therapies to help them overcome these symptoms. As ASD becomes more prevalent, 1% of children are diagnosed with ASD, researchers should be trying to find a treatment that effectively addresses multiple symptoms (DSM5).

If a child has multiple symptoms of ASD it takes more time and energy to seek treatment if they have to go to multiple therapies. My research paper looked at the effectiveness of equine-assisted therapy because it can help multiple symptoms of ASD. Even though this treatment seems good there might not be enough studies to show that it is the best treatment option available. Until it is, insurance companies might not cover this treatment option because there isn't enough proof of the effectiveness over other therapy. More research should be done to find effective therapies that can address multiple symptoms to ease the burden of time for those that have to go to multiple therapies.