Autism services offered in Newburyport, MA

Do you or a family member struggle with social interactions or sensory issues because of autism? At Safe Harbor Psychiatry in Newburyport, Massachusetts, the experienced team diagnose and treat autism spectrum disorder to help your family flourish. Schedule an in-person or telehealth evaluation by calling the office or booking an appointment online today. 

What is autism?

Autism, or autism spectrum disorder, is a neurodevelopmental disease often diagnosed during childhood. The condition alters how you interact with others and respond to environmental stimuli.

People with autism may interact with people and behave in ways that are different from what’s considered “normal.”

What are the symptoms of autism?

Autism can cause:

  • Social awkwardness
  • Trouble understanding nonverbal communications
  • Lack of eye contact or facial expressions
  • Delayed language development
  • Trouble forming or maintaining interpersonal relationships
  • Desire for a consistent routine
  • Unusual or intense interests
  • Robotic-like speech
  • Disliking loud noises

Some people with autism rock their bodies, flap their arms, or do other repetitive motor behaviors. 

Is attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) on the spectrum?

While autism and ADHD have some similarities, ADHD isn’t on the autism spectrum. However, symptoms between these conditions may overlap, as both can cause difficulty paying attention and negatively affect social skills. 

Having one of these conditions increases the risk of having the other. 

What are the risk factors for autism?

The cause of autism isn’t known, but it affects about 1 in every 44 8-year-old children. Boys are more likely (about more than four times more likely) than girls to have autism. Other risk factors include having a family member with autism, being a parent 35 or older during birth, and taking certain medications during pregnancy.

Additional things that may increase the risk of autism include birth complications, premature labor and birth, and some chromosomal or genetic conditions. 

Complications linked to untreated autism include feeding problems, poor sleep, gastrointestinal (GI) issues, ADHD, anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders. 

How is autism diagnosed?

Diagnosing autism at Safe Harbor Psychiatry includes a comprehensive psychiatric evaluation, which includes questions about your symptoms, developmental milestones in children, lifestyle habits, emotions, and behaviors. Safe Harbor Psychiatry provides genetic testing to determine which medications, if any, you may be a candidate for. 

How is autism treated?

There isn’t a cure for autism, but taking medications, adopting healthy habits, and undergoing therapy can help you or your child thrive. Symptoms in children may decrease as they get older. 

Safe Harbor Psychiatry offers behavioral therapy and other therapies that minimize problematic autism symptoms. The team also provides referrals for school assistance and other community resources. 

Schedule an in-person or telehealth autism evaluation at Safe Harbor Psychiatry by phone or request one online today.