Autism spectrum disorder affects the nervous system of an individual. A serious disorder that impacts the ability to communicate, interact or socialize.
What is Autism?
Autism or autism spectrum disorder refers to a variety of conditions that are characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, language and nonverbal communication, as well as unique strengths and differences.
Now we know that there is not just one autism, but several that are caused by different combinations of genetic and environmental influences.
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The term “spectrum” reflects the vast differences in the challenges and strengths of every person with autism.
The most obvious signs of autism tend to appear between 2 and 3 years. In some cases, he may be diagnosed after 18 months.
Some developmental delays associated with autism can be identified and treated even earlier. Autism Speaks urges parents to seek an immediate assessment, as early intervention can improve outcomes.
Symptoms of Autism
There are various types of symptoms related to Autism but the most common types are listed below:
1. Social Interaction and Engagement:
- The main problem is the development of non-verbal communication skills, such as looking into the eyes, facial expressions, and posture.
- Failure to make friends with children of the same age.
- Lack of interest, joy, or achievements to share with others.
- Lack of empathy: people with autism may find it difficult to understand someone else’s feelings, such as pain or grief.
2. Problem with communication:
- Delay or lack of speaking skills. Up to 40% of people with autism have really hard time even while speaking.
- Having trouble completing a conversation. In addition, people with autism find it difficult to continue a conversation after they start.
- Stereotypical and repetitive use of language. People with autism often repeat a sentence they have already heard (Echolalia).
- Difficulty understanding the perspective of his listeners. For example, someone with autism cannot understand that someone uses humor. You can interpret the word of communication word by word and not understand the implied meaning.
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3. No interest in activities:
- Infants with autism often focus on toy parts like the wheels of a car instead of playing with the whole toy.
- Engrossed in a particular thing. For example, older children and adults may be intrigued by video games, trading cards, or license plates.
- A weird need for particularity and routines. For example, a child with autism always has to eat bread before the salad and insist only to go the same route to school every day.
- Stereotypical behavior. These include rocking the body and clapping hands.
Early visible signs of a baby or toddler:
- Doesn’t make eye contact or smile back while being fed.
- Doesn’t respond to their name or to any familiar voice.
- Doesn’t uses gesture to communicate.
- Doesn’t require attention.
- Doesn’t like to play with anyone or share the enjoyment.
- Feels discomfort when shown emotions.
Causes of Autism
Until recently, most scientists believed that autism was primarily caused by genetic factors. But new breakthrough research shows that environmental factors can also be important in the development of autism.
Babies can be born with a genetic susceptibility to autism, which is then triggered by something in the external environment, either while still in the womb or at some point after birth.
The environment can mean anything outside the body. It is not just pollution or toxins in the atmosphere. In fact, one of the most important causes as researchers have found out is the prenatal environment.
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Vaccination and Autism
One of the biggest controversies about autism spectrum disorders is whether there is a link between the disorder and childhood vaccinations.
Despite extensive research, no reliable study has shown a link between autism spectrum disorders and vaccines. In fact, the original study that triggered the debate years ago was withdrawn because of poor design and questionable research methods.
Avoiding vaccines in children can cause your child and others to become infected with and transmit serious illnesses such as whooping cough, measles or mumps.
The number of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders is increasing. It is unclear whether this is due to better detection and notification or a real increase in cases or both.
Autism Spectrum Disorder affects children of all races and nationalities, but some factors increase a child’s risk. These can include:
- Your child’s gender: boys develop an autism spectrum disorder four times more likely than girls.
- Family History: Families who have their children detected with Autism Spectrum Disorder are at a higher risk of having another child with the disorder.
- Extremely preemie: Babies born before the 26th week of pregnancy may be at increased risk for autism spectrum disorders.
- Age of the parents: There might be a link between children of older parents and autism spectrum disorders, but further research is needed to make this connection.
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Is there any permanent treatment?
There is no “permanent treatment” for autism right now, but there is a range of other treatments available which includes speech and language therapy or may be occupational therapies which are available to people with this condition, says the NHS.
“This is not to suggest that autistic people or those with other diagnoses do not find life challenging, but that they frame autism within a social model of disability,” says the National Autistic Society.
There is no way to prevent autism spectrum disorders, but there are treatment options. Early diagnosis and intervention are very useful and can improve behavior, skills and language development. However, the intervention is useful at any age. Although children generally cannot overcome the symptoms of autism spectrum disorder, they can only learn to function well.
(The information provided is not meant for any diagnostic or treatment purpose you should always take advice from a qualified healthcare professional.)
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