In my three years of flipping through case studies and reading textbooks about disorders, I’ve noticed something that’s a little interesting but mostly worrisome. One disorder can have a multitude of ranging symptoms. According to the CDC one in every 88 children in United States currently has autism. That’s a massive population, but not every autistic child presents with the same symptoms. Each diagnostic criterion holds a number of symptoms. The Autism Speak website published this interesting graphic:


It shows the overlap of symptoms and associated issues. Some of these symptoms are connected to each other, while others are somewhat removed. It is essential to understand the presenting symptoms before beginning treatment. If a child is suffering from the anxiety and mood aspects of a disorder, you cannot start to treat the language issues. On another note, these disorders vary in severity. Some children may be high functioning, while others are extremely limited by the disorder. Recognizing the various ways these symptoms can present helps determine what approach to use in the therapy room. I used autism as an example, but this can be applied to any disorder. The graph provides a visual guide to helping us recognize the impact of outlying symptoms and issues and how these may influence the treatment of the disorder.