ASD refers to a group of complex neurodevelopmental disorders characterized by repetitive and characteristic patterns of behavior and difficulties with social communication and interaction.
These symptoms are present from early childhood and affect daily functioning of individuals with ASD.
The term “spectrum” refers to the wide range of symptoms, skills, and levels of disability in functioning that can occur in people with ASD.
Some children and adults with ASD are fully able to perform all activities of daily living while others require substantial support to perform basic activities.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (“DSM-5”) includes Asperger syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, and pervasive developmental disorders not otherwise specified (“PDD-NOS”) as part of ASD rather than as separate disorders.
A diagnosis of ASD includes an assessment of intellectual disability and language impairment.
ASD occurs in every racial and ethnic group, and across all socioeconomic levels, although boys are significantly more likely to develop ASD than girls.
The core features of ASD include:
An important goal for families affected by ASD is to help their children progress into adulthood with more independence, a greater sense of well-being, and the chance for a higher quality of life. Too often — and for reasons that are multi-factorial and individual— adolescents with autism move into adulthood without the potential for more independence. Currently, there are behavioral, psychological, educational, and skill-building interventions — all important, but which meet with varying success.
Autism has an especially wide and deep impact on families, requiring not just love, but patience, hard work, and a strong support system. Families are vulnerable to the emotional and financial stress of an ASD diagnosis and the ongoing daily challenges to care for their loved one.
Adding to the challenge is that there currently are no approved pharmacologic treatments that directly address the neurodevelopmental cause and symptoms of ASD.
But what if this burden could be made lighter? PaxMedica exists to take on that challenge. Our lead product in development has the potential to improve the functioning of people with ASD, brighten their lives,and bring new hope to the families devoted to their care.