Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) includes mental disorders of the neurodevelopmental types. People on the spectrum sometimes find difficulties with interaction and social communication. Symptoms can be recognized between one and two years of age. It also creates problems in maintaining a job, creating and keeping relationships, and performing daily activities.
A combination of both genetic and environmental factors is associated with autism. Certain infections which cause risk factor during pregnancy are rubella, cocaine, pesticides, air pollution, and toxins. Autism affects information processing in the blood by altering connections and the organization of nerve cells and their synapses.
Speech therapy can help children with autism self-care, social, and communication skills. There have been many cases of children who recovered though there is no known cure. Some are successful cases in which children with autism live independently after reaching adulthood. Around 24.8 million people got affected by autism in 2015.
Types of Autism Spectrum Disorders
There exist three different types of autism spectrum disorders. These are:
(a) Autistic disorder: this disorder is also known as “classic autism”. It is the most common type of autism which comes to mind when people hear about it. This type of people has delays in language, face social challenges, lack of communication effectiveness, and show different behavioural and usual interests. Intellectual disability can also be seen in people with Autistic disorder.
(b) Asperger syndrome: people with such disorders have mild symptoms of Autistic disorder. They usually face issues with unusual interests and behaviour but do not face any issue with intellectual disability or language.
(c) Pervasive developmental disorder – not otherwise specified: this disorder can also be referred to as “atypical autism”. People usually face some symptoms of autistic disorder or Asperger syndrome but not all the symptoms. People suffering from this type of disorder have very mild symptoms than those who are suffering from autistic or Asperger disorder. This only causes the issue of social and communicational challenges.
Autism Spectrum Disorder Symptoms
A person suffering from autism might exhibit some of the following symptoms which can help in identifying whether the person is suffering from autism or not. Such ASD symptoms are:
- The child does not respond when he is called by his name up to 12 months
- Do not show any interest to objects such as flying airplane up to 14 months
- Do not play those games in which they have to pretend something like playing with a doll by 18 months
- Like to live alone and avoid making eye contact with others
- Face issues in expressing their feelings and understanding others’ feeling
- Delay in language or speaking skills
- Repeat words over and over
- Do not answer any question properly
- Any minor change makes them upset
- Spin their bodies in a circle or flap their hands frequently
- Show unusual interest to a bad smell, taste, look or feel
Autism Spectrum Disorder Diagnosis
Diagnosing autism can sometimes be a difficult test as there is no particular test available to diagnose autism such as blood tests or any other.
It can only be done by observing the behaviour of a child. This disorder can sometimes be diagnosed at an age of 18 months or less than it.
But it is necessary to make the diagnosis of autism at the age of 2 by an experienced professional. Delay in diagnosis can sometimes not help the children to prevent them.
Thus diagnosing autism can be done with the help of two ways:
(1) Developmental screening: this includes asking basic questions from parents about the behaviour of the child. If the child is not comfortable learning basic skills when they should be or facing some delays then he might be suffering from autism. During the developmental screening, doctors play or talk to children to examine their language, speech, behaviour, and moves. Any delay in these actions can be a sign of this disorder.
(2) Comprehensive diagnostic evaluation: this evaluation includes hearing and vision screening. There are some tests such as neurological testing, genetic testing and another medical testing which can help in diagnosis and further assessment of this disorder. Developmental paediatricians, child neurologists, and child psychologists are some specialists who can do this type of evaluation.
Autism Spectrum Disorder Cure
There are various ways through which autism disorder in a child can be cured easily. This includes some therapies, medication and motivation and verbal behaviour. Some of these activities are:
- Behaviour and communication treatment: this includes removing negativity from the child and motivating him to improve his skills and knowledge. This treatment is possible with the help of schools and clinics which can make the child learn positive behaviour by using simple lessons, motivation, effective communication, and language skills.
- Play therapy: children suffering from autism play different games as compared to other kids. These children focus on only parts of toys rather than the entire toy. Play therapy, thus, can help these children as this can improve their emotional and social skills and can expand the area for their thinking.
- Behavioral therapy: this type of theory provides positive behaviour and new skills to children with the help of parents and trainers. This therapy includes providing a moment to moment feedback to an autistic child.
- Speech therapy: parents and teachers can make their efforts to teach children how to express their feelings through verbal as well as non-verbal skills such as eye contact, appropriate gestures, etc.
- Medication: medicines can also prove to be an effective treatment for autism when used with behavioural therapy. Medicines act as a complement to other strategies. Parents must go for prescribed medicines for treating autism in the child if any.
Autism is just a developmental disorder that reduces the ability of the child to interact with the outside world. It makes the child live alone and different interests and behavior. It impacts the nervous system of the child and thus affects the overall cognitive, social, emotional and physical health of the child.
Parents need to observe the symptoms as soon as possible and try to provide the best treatment to help their child. It only requires the attention and special care, and love toward the child.