Start a free trial to unlock videos, outlines, cheatsheets, and quizzes.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental and neurological disorder that affects how a person perceives, socializes, communicates and behaves. The term “spectrum” is used because patients can have a wide range of symptoms that begin in early childhood and may last through adulthood. There is no cure for ASD, but treatment can be effective in managing symptoms, including difficulty communicating with others and repetitive behaviors. Patients with ASD do not have physical characteristics that differentiate them from others, but typically have distant or awkward social behaviors that may make the interaction more difficult.
There is no single known cause for ASD, but most researchers believe that genetic mutations, possibly inherited, are the primary reason for children to develop ASD. Infants born extremely preterm (prior to 26 weeks’ gestation) and those with disorders such as Fragile X syndrome and Rett syndrome are at increased risk of developing ASD. Children are screened at well visits with their primary provider beginning at 9 months and continuing until 2-3 years old.
Patients will have an optimal ability to communicate needs and have optimal interpersonal relationships.
Autism Spectrum Disorder Nursing Care Plan
- Difficulty sleeping
- Rarely showing enjoyment of objects or activities
- Failure to make eye contact
- Overly focused interest in specific topics
- Increased or decreased sensitivity to light, noise, touch, and temperature
- Sing-song voice
- Detailed memory
Nursing Interventions and Rationales
- Perform nursing assessment progressively and slowly.
- Obtain information and history from the patient’s parents regarding triggers for anxiety and behaviors, eating habits, and sleeping patterns.
- Have parents complete evaluation screening questionnaires such as ASQ or M-CHAT appropriate for age.
- Provide for safety. Place infants or toddlers in the crib, and raise rails on the bed.
- Sit down or position yourself near the patient’s eye level.
- Explain every procedure and demonstrate on self or parent
- Talk with the patient about their interests
- Provide a calm and inviting atmosphere
- Avoid loud noises, radios, talking
- Turn off the TV during exams and evaluations
- Limit number of people in the room to those whom the patient is most comfortable with
- Review diet and eating habits with parents and provide or recommend foods and food presentations that may make healthy choices more appealing.
- Administer medications appropriately as required
- Provide resource information and education for parents
- Help parents have less anxiety in caring for a child with ASD.
- Provide information on how to manage symptoms or behaviors.
- Help parents find therapists and counselors to help children with developmental disabilities.
- Teach alternative methods for coping with behaviors.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a link between autism and vaccinations?
There is no scientific evidence of a link between MMR vaccine and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
What are the main symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?
The main symptoms include the following:
- Decreased interest in social interaction
- Abnormal Play
- Repetitive behaviors
- Language delays
- Motor delays may occur also
- May exhibit self-injurious behaviors
What are the key nursing concepts associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?
- Functional Ability
- Human Development