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Understanding children with Autism

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Autism is a form of developmental disability that causes impairment of social interaction, communication (both verbal and nonverbal), behavior and interest.

An estimated 1.5 million Americans are currently living with autism, and 60,000 individuals live with it in the state of North Carolina. In many children, loss of language is the major, initial impairment.

However, other unusual behaviors may become apparent, such as spending hours lining up toys, showing interest in a very restricted range of topics, avoiding eye contact and having difficulty relating to other people.

While the cause of autism has not been identified, researchers in the field believe there is a strong genetic component to the condition, although it is possible that autism is caused by a combination of several factors.

Parents are usually the first to recognize concerning changes in their child’s behavior; and this should always be brought up with the child’s pediatrician.

Pediatricians can do an initial assessment as to what may be causing these behavioral changes, and may then refer the child to a neurodevelopmental specialist who can make the diagnosis after a series of neuropsychological tests.

Pediatric neurologists may be brought in to rule out several neurological, genetic or metabolic issues that may manifest as autism. The diagnosis and treatment of autism clearly involves the collaboration of a team of specialists. Our area is fortunate as Cone Health has an exceptional, comprehensive network of pediatricians, neurodevelopmental specialists, pediatric neurologists and other related healthcare providers dedicated to treating children with autism throughout the community.

Spokesperson Background:
Dr. Reza Nabizadeh is a pediatric neurologist at Cone Health Child Neurology.

Dr. Nabizadeh earned his Doctor of Medicine at Mashad University of Medical Sciences in Iran in 1992.

He completed his pediatric residency at Ghaem Hospital at Mashad University of Medical Sciences in 2000, and completed a pediatric residency and pediatric neurology fellowship at Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, MA in 2013.