Episode 2

Published on:

12th Apr 2021

Episode #2 What is Autism

Show Notes 

Join Shawn and Alex as they provide a basic background of what Autism is, for all the parents that are new to the world of Autism and have just started there journey. They cover the definition and diagnostic criteria, Autism statistics, common symptoms, and a few of the common therapies and interventions. Let us make sure our entire community understands some basic background before we conquer some of the major topics.  

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Definition of Autism (From the DSM5):

DSM-5 Autism Diagnostic Criteria

A. Persistent deficits in social communication and social interaction across multiple contexts, as manifested by the following, currently or by history (examples are illustrative, not exhaustive, see text):

  1. Deficits in social-emotional reciprocity, ranging, for example, from abnormal social approach and failure of normal back-and-forth conversation; to reduced sharing of interests, emotions, or affect; to failure to initiate or respond to social interactions.
  2. Deficits in nonverbal communicative behaviors used for social interaction, ranging, for example, from poorly integrated verbal and nonverbal communication; to abnormalities in eye contact and body language or deficits in understanding and use of gestures; to a total lack of facial expressions and nonverbal communication.
  3. Deficits in developing, maintaining, and understanding relationships, ranging, for example, from difficulties adjusting behavior to suit various social contexts; to difficulties in sharing imaginative play or in making friends; to absence of interest in peers.

Specify current severity: Severity is based on social communication impairments and restricted repetitive patterns of behavior. (See table below.)

B. Restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities, as manifested by at least two of the following, currently or by history (examples are illustrative, not exhaustive; see text):

  1. Stereotyped or repetitive motor movements, use of objects, or speech (e.g., simple motor stereotypies, lining up toys or flipping objects, echolalia, idiosyncratic phrases).
  2. Insistence on sameness, inflexible adherence to routines, or ritualized patterns or verbal nonverbal behavior (e.g., extreme distress at small changes, difficulties with transitions, rigid thinking patterns, greeting rituals, need to take same route or eat food every day).
  3. Highly restricted, fixated interests that are abnormal in intensity or focus (e.g, strong attachment to or preoccupation with unusual objects, excessively circumscribed or perseverative interest).
  4. Hyper- or hyporeactivity to sensory input or unusual interests in sensory aspects of the environment (e.g., apparent indifference to pain/temperature, adverse response to specific sounds or textures, excessive smelling or touching of objects, visual fascination with lights or movement).

Specify current severity: Severity is based on social communication impairments and restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior. (See table below.)

C. Symptoms must be present in the early developmental period (but may not become fully manifest until social demands exceed limited capacities or may be masked by learned strategies in later life).

D. Symptoms cause clinically significant impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of current functioning.

E. These disturbances are not better explained by intellectual disability (intellectual developmental disorder) or global developmental delay. Intellectual disability and autism spectrum disorder frequently co-occur; to make comorbid diagnoses of autism spectrum disorder and intellectual disability, social communication should be below that expected for general developmental level.

Types of Therapy Discussed 

* Discrete trial training (DTT) uses simple lessons and positive reinforcement.

* Pivotal response training (PRT) helps develop motivation to learn and communicate.

* Early intensive behavioral intervention (EIBI) is best for children under age 5.

* Verbal behavior intervention (VBI) focuses on language skills.

* Relationship-Based Approach (DIR). This kind of treatment is better known as Floortime.

* The Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)

* Occupational Therapy.

* Sensory Integration Therapy.


Definition of Autism - https://www.autismspeaks.org/autism-diagnosis-criteria-dsm-5

Autism Stats - https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/data.html

Web MD - https://www.webmd.com/brain/autism/understanding-autism-treatment

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Show artwork for Autism Building The Puzzle

About the Podcast

Autism Building The Puzzle
One Piece at a Time
Autism Building The Puzzle, One Piece at a Time covers all things autism. Join Alexandria and Shawn Guthreau as they explore the world of Autism, providing their story and experiences. They share the good, the bad and the ugly of their personal experience with their son Greyson. Follow them as they interview other parents of autistic children and get their point of view. As well as their interviews with industry experts. The show provides parents and caretakers with resources and knowledge to support them through their unique journey's.

About your hosts

Alexandria Guthreau

Profile picture for Alexandria Guthreau
Welcome to Autism, Building the Puzzle, One Piece At A Time! My name is Alexandria and I am one of your hosts. My son Greyson was diagnosed with Autism at 2 years old, and our whole journey began there. It was definitely shocking to my husband and I, as we had no idea anything about Autism or even knew anyone with Autism. We started early intervention at 18 months and since then we have been non-stop with therapy, doctors, different kinds of treatments, and many many challenges along the way. A few months ago we launched Greyson & Company, where we make & sell wooden Montessori (Waldorf) style of toys. We also run an in-home speech company in New Jersey called The Speech Paradigm. We started The Speech Paradigm when we had trouble finding in-home speech for Greyson, and we knew if we had that much trouble they're were a lot of other parents out there also struggling to find services. Going through our experiences with a child on the Autism spectrum was a huge adjustment in the beginning, but now we couldn't picture our life any other way. Greyson has brought us so many different places we would have never been, and we are beyond grateful to having him for our son. We really hope you enjoy our show & thank you for taking the time to tune in!!

Shawn Guthreau

Profile picture for Shawn Guthreau
Welcome to Autism, Building The Puzzle, One Piece At A Time! My name is Shawn Guthreau and I am one of the show’s creators and hosts, along with my wife Alexandria. Our entire world changed when our son Greyson was born. But then, shortly after he turned 1, our entire world changed again. Greyson had autism. Little did we know that it was the start of the most incredible journey we would ever have. We have learned so much about Autism. the learning did not stop with autism. We also learned so much about ourselves and our relationship. The experience has connected us to who we really are inside. We started this show with the idea that we would be able to share our experiences with other parents and bring on guests to provide valuable information and perspectives. We know how many challenges families face and we are here to do whatever we can to help. Outside of being a father, husband and podcast host; We run a a toy company called Greyson & Co, am in-home speech pathology business, a support group and a Vlog. On the personal side of my life I am an author of a children's book that should be in store's soon, called "Every Frog is Special." I am also an avid fisherman, golfer and aquarium junky. I would love to share our experience, knowledge and hope with you and help to have an impact on your life. Enjoy the show!