With research showing an increase in the incidence of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), mental health professionals such as clinical psychologist Dr. Hollie Sobel have campaigned to increase public awareness of this condition. As part of her practice at The Family Institute of Northwestern University, Dr. Hollie Sobel strives to provide information about ASD to the public and to offer insight on ASD symptoms and causes to her patients and their families.

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Autism Spectrum Disorder, or ASD, refers to a developmental neurological disorder. Because patients’ symptoms and level of affectedness can vary significantly, the term “spectrum” is frequently used by health care professionals. Due to ASD’s effect on brain development, patients may exhibit varying signs of communication difficulties such as a diminished ability to conduct conversations, along with symptoms of social impairment.

What causes ASD?

While extensive research efforts to discover the causes of ASD are currently under way, there exists no consensus on a definitive cause. However, many scientists and researchers believe that both biological and environmental factors may contribute to the development of ASD.

Psychologists such as Dr. Hollie Sobel recommend that parents and caregivers visit their doctor if their child shows signs of ASD or significant changes in developmental behaviors.