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AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER

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“Autism” (or “autism spectrum disorder” also known as “ASD”) refers to a disorder currently diagnosed through symptoms, which involve difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors.

 

Until the May 2013 publication of the DSM-5 diagnostic manual, the autism spectrum included five distinct subgroups: autistic disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder, pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) and Asperger syndrome. Under DSM-5, all autism disorders are merged into one umbrella diagnosis of ASD.

 

Autism affects all racial, ethnic, and socio-enomic groups. However, it is 4-5 times more likely in boys than in girls.

 

Symptoms for autism typically appear between 10-18 months of age. Unfortunately, the average age of diagnosis is 4-years-old. A diagnosis is usually made by a developmental pediatrician. Typically, there is a waiting list for appointments to get this diagnosis.

 

The rate of autism has increased dramatically over the past two decades. When Project HOPE Foundation first started, the rate was 1 in 2,500. The current rate is 1 in 68 children, 1 in 42 boys. Although we now have better diagnostics and increased awareness, these improvements do not account for the marked increase.

 

About 33% of individuals with autism are nonverbal. Thankfully, many can be taught to communicate in other ways, including augmentative communication devices.

 

It is estimated that 50% of individuals with autism elope (wander away).  It is imperative to work on safety skills with this population.

 

People with autism have an increased risk of seizures. Additionally, many experience gastrointestinal issues, sleep disorders, sensory processing difficulties, and food sensitivities.


News & Events

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Wade Hampton High School Selects PHF as Spirit Week Recipient!

We are excited to announce that Project HOPE Foundation will be the recipient of Wade Hampton High School’s 2015 Spirit Week. The funds raised will support three aspects of our autism services: intensive one-on-one therapy, classroom opportunities, and adult programs.

 

Our goal is to be the best partner possible for these amazing students! Please put September 19-25 on your calendars and plan to participate in the week of activities.



amber travis

Amber Travis becomes Project HOPE Foundation's 10th BCBA on staff


Amber has been working with individuals on the autism spectrum since August 2010. Her career at HOPE began as a line therapist and has since transitioned from a lead therapist to a case supervisor. Amber is passionate about helping children to expand upon existing skills and to develop new ones. She is driven by client successes and positive outcomes within families.

Amber earned a B.S. in Psychology from Presbyterian College in 2010. She then went on to obtain an M.Ed with an emphasis in Severe and Multiple Disabilities from the University of South Carolina. Go Gamecocks! Amber became board certified in Applied Behavior Analysis in February 2015.



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