Autism

Autism, also known as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), is a nervous system disorder that interferes with conventional brain development.

It largely affects children, specifically boys more than girls, all around the globe. 1 in 110 children is diagnosed with Autism.

In some children, Autism can be diagnosed in the initial year of their lives. However other children may have normal academic and social lives prior to getting affected by this. Such cases are referred to as ‘regressive autism’.

CAUSES:

Autism can affect any child as there are no known and verified causes for this disorder. However, some recent findings claim that:

  • Autism can be caused by harmful chemicals present in the ecosystem like Lead, Ethyl Alcohol and Methyl Mercury which may disrupt the normal development of a child’s brain.
  • Autism has also been linked to being developed in the child if a pregnant mother is exposed to Valproic acid, Thalidomide, Misoprostol or a maternal Rubella infection.
  • Certain combinations of genes can also be a causing factor.
  • A pregnant mother must avoid excessive alcohol and drug consumption in order to protect the baby.

SYMPTOMS:

Autism can come with a wide variety of symptoms, which can be mild or severe and the combination of these symptoms can also differ with different people. Therefore, it is a ‘spectrum disorder’. The symptoms include:

  • Difficulty in expressing themselves through language as well as expressions.
  • ‘Meltdown’ as a result of being upset due to over-stimulation.
  • Refrain from eye contact.
  • Highly sensitive to normal touch, smell, colours, sounds and extreme temperatures.
  • Lacking interest in a lot of topics, except showing exceptional interest in a different one.
  • Lesser flexibility to dynamic routines.
  • Repetitive behaviour which includes repeating certain words/ phrases over and over again or doing the same thing for an extended period.
  • Resist being cuddled or hugged.
  • After reaching adolescence, some children may have seizures.

AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERS:

The different syndromes/ disorders that come under ACD are:

  • Asperger’s Syndrome: The child does not have a language barrier, but is socially restricted and has fewer interests.
  • Childhood Disintegrative Disorder: Children start to lose their communication and social skills after the first 2 normal development years in their lives.
  • Autistic Disorders: Occur in children younger than 3 years of age. Communication and playing become lacking traits.

TREATMENT:

  • Applied Behavioural Analysis can help to promote positive behaviour and get rid of negative behaviour.
  • Early intervention and providing speech therapy, occupational therapy, music therapy, behavioural therapy, etc can help in encouraging ease in social interactions of the child.
  • Getting medicine prescriptions can help with focus, anxiety and hyperactivity.