Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism, or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), is a pervasive neurological developmental disability that hampers normal brain development. It affects speech and nonverbal communication, social skills, cognition, and behavior. Roughly three million people live with ASD in India. Autism is known as a spectrum disorder as its symptoms and characteristics appear in a variety of combinations that affect people in different ways.

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There is a wide range of severity of Autism. Each person with autism has a distinct set of strengths and challenges. Different people with ASD disorder are observed to have a wide range of IQs. Some people with ASD do not use any verbal forms of communication, whereas some are highly verbal and conversational.

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  • Difficulties in forming meaningful sentences while talking.
  • Difficulty communicating despite having an extensive vocabulary.
  • Repeating words or phrases they hear
  • Repeating actions again and again
  • At an early stage of infancy, they may not display any anticipatory posture or smile after being picked up by an adult.
  • Difficulty in interacting with people and learning social skills.
  • Difficulty in making friends or not wanting any company, insisting on playing and being alone.
  • Avoids eye contact

Some of the suspected causes of autism spectrum disorder include –

  • Having an immediate family member with an autism
  • Genetic mutations
  • Parents who have children late in life
  • Fragile X syndrome and other genetic disorders
  • A pregnant woman who has conditions like diabetes and obesity or who drinks alcohol during pregnancy
  • Low birth weight
  • Metabolic imbalances
  • Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)
  • Discrete Trial Training
  • Medication
  • Verbal Behavior Intervention (VBI)
  • Out-Patient Services
  • In-Patient Services
  • Rehabilitation


out of every 500 children in India fight Autism


Children face Autism Spectrum Disorder in India


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Here's everything else you need to know about Autistic Spectrum Disorder

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) encompasses a range of neurodevelopmental conditions characterized by social interaction difficulties, communication challenges, and a tendency toward repetitive behaviors. Diagnosis involves a comprehensive evaluation by healthcare professionals. ASD rehab programs focus on personalized therapy, including speech and occupational therapy, behavioral interventions, and educational support, aiming to improve functioning and quality of life for those with ASD.

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complex neurodevelopmental condition marked by challenges in social interaction, communication, and restricted or repetitive behaviors. Originating in early childhood, its symptoms span a wide spectrum, affecting individuals differently—ranging from giftedness in specific areas to severe daily task challenges. While some may require significant support, others lead independent lives. ASD's causes are multifaceted, involving genetic and environmental factors. Early intervention is pivotal, encompassing behavioral, speech, and occupational therapies tailored to each individual's needs. Understanding and acceptance of ASD continue to grow, aiming to improve the quality of life for those affected.

As a parent, you may hear many different terms that can apply to your child with autism if they are diagnosed with ASD disorder. The terms will include high-functioning autism, atypical autism, and autism spectrum disorder, along with the pervasive developmental disorder.

These terms can be overwhelming and confusing, especially when doctors don’t explain the jargon to you. Ensure that you ask and clarify all your doubts with the doctor or psychiatrist to ensure that you, as the parent, are apprised of the condition of your child. It might also be advisable to get a second opinion on the diagnosis if you are unsure or uncomfortable with the doctor.

People with Autism can be characterized not only by these areas of challenge but also by significant areas of strength. A child with Autism has a certain set of abilities and aptitudes that should be identified and encouraged by the parents, therapists, and teachers. An autistic child may exhibit some of these skills –

  • Good visual and spatial memory
  • A methodical and organized way of doing things
  • Ability to understand abstract concepts
  • Excellence in the area of their interest
  • Attention to detail
  • Interest in languages (among children who can speak well)

Parents often confuse Autism with ADHD. Despite some similarities, ADHD is not a spectrum disorder. One major difference between the two is that children with ADHD don’t tend to lack socio-communicative skills. The exact reason for ASD cause is unknown.

Signs & Symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Symptoms vary widely in severity, including sensory sensitivities and uneven skill development across different domains.

Early Indicators of Autism Spectrum Disorder

Early signs include delayed speech, limited social interaction, and not responding to their name by 12 months.

Infancy Signs

  • Lack of eye contact
  • Limited babbling or vocalization
  • Unresponsiveness to name by 12 months
  • Absence of gesturing (pointing, waving) by 12 months

Developmental Changes

  • Delayed language skills
  • Slow to develop social skills
  • Regression in speech or social skills around 18-24 months

Behavioral and Severity Spectrum

The autism spectrum encompasses a wide range of behaviors, from challenges in learning and communication to remarkable abilities, with severity gauged by the impact on daily functioning and the need for support.

Unique Behavioral Patterns

Children with autism display a range of behaviors from low to high functioning, affecting learning and intelligence differently.

  • Intense interest in specific topics or objects
  • Strong preference for routines; distress at changes
  • Unusual sensory sensitivities (e.g., to textures, sounds)

Severity Assessment

Severity assessment in autism involves evaluating the extent of social communication difficulties and restrictive, repetitive behaviors' impact on daily living. This assessment categorizes individuals into levels requiring support, substantial support, or very substantial support, guiding tailored interventions. It emphasizes the need for personalized care plans to improve functional independence and life quality for those on the autism spectrum.

Challenges in Communication

  • Delayed speech development
  • Difficulty in initiating or sustaining conversations
  • Echolalia (repeating words or phrases) or idiosyncratic language

Social Communication Challenges

  • Difficulty understanding nonverbal cues
  • Challenges in making friends and maintaining relationships
  • Lack of interest in sharing enjoyment, interests, or achievements with others

Repetitive Behaviors and Interests

  • Repetitive movements (e.g., rocking, flapping)
  • Insistence on sameness, inflexible adherence to routines
  • Preoccupation with specific, often unusual, interests

Developmental Progress and Challenges

  • Uneven skill development; may have advanced skills in some areas and significant delays in others.
  • Learning disabilities or co-occurring conditions such as ADHD, anxiety, or sensory processing disorders.
  • Progress in development can be made with tailored interventions and support.

Causes of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Recent research and developments in neurological disorders studies suggest that there is no single ASD cause. Given the complexity of the disorder and the fact that symptoms and severity vary, there can be a wide range of factors that might cause damage to the central nervous system at an infant stage. Various combinations of genetic and environmental factors might trigger it.

  • Genetic Factors: Mutations in certain genes have been linked to ASD, suggesting a strong hereditary component. A family history of ASD increases the risk.
  • Environmental Factors: Exposure to specific medications, pollutants, or infections during pregnancy has been linked to a heightened risk of autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
  • Brain Structure and Connectivity: Differences in certain areas of the brain and how neurons communicate can contribute to ASD symptoms.
  • Pregnancy and Birth Complications: Premature birth, low birth weight, and complications during pregnancy or delivery may increase ASD risk.
  • Advanced Parental Age: Children born to older parents have a higher risk of ASD.
  • Untreated Conditions: Untreated conditions like rubella (German measles) or phenylketonuria, a metabolic disorder caused by the absence of an enzyme.
  • Medication Exposure: Fetal exposure to the medications valproic acid (Depakene) or thalidomide (Thalomid)

Types of Autism Spectrum Disorder

In the past,  Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) was categorized into several types, including Autistic Disorder, Asperger Syndrome, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS). However, these distinctions have been consolidated into a single diagnosis known as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), acknowledging the diverse array of symptoms and levels of ability within the spectrum.

Asperger's Syndrome

Asperger's Syndrome is characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction and nonverbal communication, alongside restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests. However, unlike other forms of ASD, individuals with Asperger's typically do not have significant delays in language or cognitive development.

Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD-NOS)

PDD-NOS, or Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified, is a diagnosis given to individuals who meet some, but not all, of the criteria for autism or Asperger's Syndrome. This category is used for those with significant social and communication challenges that don’t fully align with the definitions of other conditions on the spectrum.

Autistic Disorder (Classic Autism)

Classic Autism, known as Autistic Disorder, involves marked impairments in social interaction, communication challenges, and a tendency towards repetitive behaviors and interests. This form of autism is usually identified in early childhood and includes a wide range of functional levels, from severely affected to high-functioning individuals.

Disintegrative Condition in Children

Childhood Disintegrative Disorder is a rare condition characterized by late onset (typically after three years of age) of developmental delays in language, motor skills, and social function. Children with this disorder show normal development initially and then significant loss of previously acquired skills.

Rett Syndrome

Rett Syndrome is a rare genetic neurological disorder that occurs almost exclusively in girls. It leads to severe impairments, affecting nearly every aspect of the child's life: their ability to speak, walk, eat, and even breathe easily. The disorder's progression includes a period of regression followed by recovery or stabilization.

Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder

Diagnosing Autism Spectrum Disorder involves a comprehensive evaluation by specialists, including developmental pediatricians, psychiatrists, and psychologists. This process includes observing behavior, assessing social and communication skills, and reviewing developmental history. Diagnosis may also involve cognitive and language assessments to understand the individual's strengths and challenges, providing a basis for tailored support and interventions.

Risk Factors of ASD

Risk factors for Autism Spectrum Disorder include genetic predispositions, such as family history of ASD, environmental factors like prenatal exposure to toxins, and biological aspects, including advanced parental age at the time of conception. Premature birth and low birth weight have also been identified as contributing factors. 

Recognizing these risks can aid in the prompt identification and intervention.

When to See a Doctor for ASD?

It's advisable to consult a doctor if a child shows delayed speech or social milestones, lacks eye contact, engages in repetitive behaviors, or has a regression in developmental skills. Seeking early consultation can result in early diagnosis and intervention, which are critical for improving outcomes and support for individuals with ASD.

Autism Spectrum Disorder Treatment

There is no cure for autism spectrum disorder, and there is no one-size-fits-all standard autism treatment. Reputed autism centers in Bangalore treat autism to maximize the child’s functions, reduce their symptoms, and support consistent learning and development. There must be an early intervention during the preschool years because it can help build your child’s social, communication, behavioral, and functional skills.

Since there is a variety of school-based and home-based treatments available for autism spectrum disorder, you may feel overwhelmed. You can consult your healthcare provider on which autism treatment in Bangalore is best for your child. If your child is diagnosed early, talk to a medical professional about creating an autism treatment strategy and build a team of experts to help meet your child’s needs consistently and effectively.

Treatment for ASD is personalized, focusing on improving communication and social skills and reducing behavioral challenges. It may include behavioral therapy, speech and occupational therapy, and educational support. As a result, medications can be prescribed for associated symptoms such as anxiety or ADHD. Rehabilitation for autism aims to enhance functioning and independence, relying on a multidisciplinary approach to cater to the diverse needs of individuals with ASD.

Children with autism can make significant progress with properly structured Autism Spectrum Disorder treatment. What works for one child might not work for another. Tailored treatment for you or your child is what you need. There are two ways ASD can be treated:

Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA):

It is a therapy based on the science of learning and behavior. This analysis helps to understand how behavior works and how it gets affected by the external environment. This therapy helps to increase cognitive, social, behavioral, fine motor, play, and self-help skills. The child is taught to work on structured tasks and subtasks, ranging from simple to complex ones. The child is taught to learn and complete each task at a time. This method uses rewards to help the child learn and maintain desired behaviors and skills. 

Type of ABA include:

  • Discrete Trial Training (DTT) – It is a method of teaching that follows simplified and structured steps. Instead of teaching an entire skill in one go, the skill is broken down and “built up” using discrete trials that teach each step one at a time.
  • Early Intensive Behavioural Intervention (EIBI) – EIBI uses the principles of behavior analysis to increase positive and valuable behaviors and decrease unwanted behaviors such as tantrums, aggression, and self-injury. It is a highly structured approach for teaching children under five years of age.
  • Pivotal Response Training (PRT) – Psychologists, Special education teachers, and Speech therapists widely use PRT to increase positive social behaviors and to provide relief from disruptive self-stimulatory behaviors. It is a play-based autism therapy that focuses on the child’s development instead of working on one specific behavior.
  • Verbal Behaviour Intervention (VBI) – VBI teaches communication and language. This approach encourages people with autism to learn language by connecting words with their purposes. Rather than focusing on words as labels, it teaches why we use words and how they are useful in making requests and communicating ideas.
  • Treatment and Education of Autistic and Related Communication Handicapped Children Method (TEACCH) – TEACCH  is an evidence-based service, training, and research program for individuals of all ages and skill levels with autism spectrum disorders. TEACCH provides clinical services such as diagnostic evaluations, parent training, social play, parent support groups, recreation groups, individual counseling for higher-functioning clients, and supported employment.

Medications for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD):

It can help with symptoms like attention problems, depression, hyperactivity, insomnia, trouble focusing, or anxiety. Risperidone (Risperdal) is the only drug approved by the FDA for children with ASD. Some doctors also prescribe medicines like serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), anti-anxiety medications, or stimulants. Some other alternative treatments for managing autism may include:

  • High-dose vitamins
  • Chelation therapy, which helps flush metals from the body
  • Hyperbaric oxygen therapy
  • Melatoninnin to address sleep issues

ASD in itself can’t be cured, but the treatment methodology involves reducing the symptoms of ASD and improving the person’s ability to function. Treatments like speech therapy for Autism Spectrum Disorder can also help in improving the social, communicational, functional, and behavioral skills of patients. Interventions or therapies are designed to reduce some of the developmental problems faced by a child with autism. Your doctor might include some therapies in your Autism Spectrum Disorder treatment plan –

  • Developmental, Individual Differences, Relationship-Based Approach (DIR) – This therapy is also called floortime as it focuses on how the child deals with sights, sounds, and smells. It also helps deal with the emotional and relational development of the parents or caregivers.
  • Occupational Therapy – This therapy enables the child to live an independent life. It includes day-to-day skills like eating, dressing, bathing, and relating to people.
  • Sensory Integration Therapy – Helps the child deal with sensory information like sights, sounds, and smells. It helps greatly when a child is bothered by certain sounds or does not like to be touched.
  • Speech Therapy – It helps improve communication. With alternate methods like gestures, picture boards, etc., this therapy helps an autistic child learn how to express his/her thoughts and ideas to others.
  • Music Therapy – Singing, composition, and live music-making are used in this form of therapy. This type of intervention used with children and teens with ASD improves social behaviors, increases focus and attention, increases communication attempts like vocalizations, verbalizations, gestures, and vocabulary, reduces anxiety, and improves body awareness and coordination.
  • Behavior and communication therapies – This treatment plan for autism spectrum disorder aims to address social, language, and behavioral problems through programs.
  • Educational therapies – These programs help improve the interpersonal and communication skills of children.
  • Family therapy – In this therapy for autism spectrum disorder, parents and other family members are taught to engage in plays and mock scenarios with patients to help them learn social interaction.

Before opting for any therapy, treatment, or medications, do seek sound medical advice. You can also research the ASD treatment cost in India to explore all the options available as a parent and caregiver.

Rehabilitation could be necessary for situations where the individual is a threat to themselves or the ones they love. They might even be facing a complete breakdown in daily functioning. In such cases, structured intervention and support are critical to help them regain stability and improve their quality of life. Rehabilitation programs can provide the necessary tools and strategies to manage symptoms effectively, rebuild life skills, and foster a supportive environment for recovery.

Toward a Brighter Future with Autism Spectrum Disorder: How Cadabams Can Help

Embark on a journey toward a brighter future with Autism Spectrum Disorder through Cadabams' comprehensive support and interventions. Cadabams is renowned for its multidisciplinary team of specialists, including therapists, psychologists, counsellors and educators, who collaboratively create tailored intervention plans. The center embraces cutting-edge therapies and innovative strategies for addressing the challenges faced by people with ASD. With a strong focus on enhancing communication, social skills, and behavioral development, Cadabams commits to improving the quality of life and independence of those it serves.

If you are searching for a solution to your problem, Cadabam’s Rehabilitation Centre can help you with its team of specialized experts. We have been helping thousands of people live healthier and happier lives for 30+ years. We leverage evidence-based approaches and holistic treatment methods to help individuals effectively manage autism spectrum disorder. Get in touch with us today. You can call us at +91 96111 94949.

Autism Assessment Scale

Take a 5-minute self-assessment test to see how severe your or your loved one's autism is.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Why Cadabam's?

Cadabams has over three decades of experience in treating diverse mental health disorders. We leverage this experience to provide you with the best treatment options possible! Do you need any personalized support about how to help a person or child with autism? Connect with our well-trained specialists who can help you with the right information, resources, and tools to help autistic adults cope with their daily activities. Reach us at our 24/7 helpline number- +91 96111 94949 or mail us at for more information about treatment options or any other queries on ASD or its treatment plans.

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