What Is Autism? The Symptoms, Causes And Treatment Of Autism

What is Autism and how to deal with it?

Some Unknown Facts About Autism

  • Autism is a disorder that is among the fastest growing disorders regarding the development compared to diabetes, childhood cancer, and even AIDs.
  • Autism is believed to be affected every 1 child out of 68, and boys are 5 times more likely to have been diagnosed with autism compared to girls.
  • Currently, there is no particular medical cure for autism.
  • The earlier you detect autism and treat it, the better are the chances of improvements.
  • Autism spectrum disorder is believed to be degenerative, but the fact is that it is totally not degenerative and people have also shown continuous improvement.
  • Individuals suffering from autism spectrum disorder can be very talented, creative and passionate about different arts like singing, music, dancing, theater, etc.
  • Every individual be it a child or adult diagnosed with autism would differ from the other one suffering from it.
  • Around 35% or more adults fail to study ahead, obtain any degree or even get a job after completing high school.

What is Autism?

Autism, also known as Autism Spectrum Disorders or ASD, is a neurological condition where the development of the brain comes with a deep impact on how the person socializes and perceives with other individuals, which basically comes with problems in communicating and interacting socially. It is also known as a group of disorders related to neuro development as there are various patterns of this disorder considering the behavior. Some of the children may also come up with uncertain sensory responses or feel shy when introduced to bright colors, or may not even notice if they are wearing twisted and rough clothes.

Autism basically includes neuro developmental conditions, however, recently there are other disorders that have been included under the ASD category like Asperger syndrome, disorders in pervasive development and childhood disintegrative order. Some children may come up with symptoms of autism from birth, while some develop particular signs as they become big. Along with all these, autism is also linked with other disorder like tuberous sclerosis complex and epilepsy.

What Are The Symptoms Of Autism?

For the individuals suffering from autism, no two individuals would be suffering from similar conditions. Some children may show early signs of autism like limited eye contact, improper response to their names, and indifference for the caregivers. For the initial stage of the life like some months or years, they might seem to be normal, however, later some signs may emerge out by the age of 2 years like loss of language skills or even aggressiveness.

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Different children have different patterns of behavior along with a level of severity that might range from low to high functioning. Where some children have problems in learning, some might have lower to normal intelligence signs too. Some might learn quickly but have trouble communicating. Some might not be able to apply their knowledge in their routine and adjust at the time of social events. Hence, as the patterns are different with different individuals, it becomes difficult to track the level of severity. Determining the level is calculated through the impairment levels and the impact the patient comes at the time of function ability.

Some of the common signs of autism spectrum disorder include:

Problem In Communicating And Social Interaction

Any child or adult having autism may face issues when it comes to communication skills or social interaction. Some signs in this category include:

  • Adapting an unusual speech pattern, tone or rhythm.
  • Avoids to make eye contact with others while talking.
  • Not cooing or babbling with the parents as other infants do.
  • Zero response when called with their name.
  • Takes time in the development of skills of speech.
  • Difficulty in starting or maintaining any conversation.
  • Repeating phrases frequently.
  • Difficulty or failure in understanding the expression or feelings of their own.
  • Avoids or gets irritated when cuddled and prefers to play alone in his own world.
  • Fails to understand or appear for some simple directions or even questions.
  • Finds it difficult to find nonverbal cues like body postures, voice tone, interpreting the facial expression, etc.

Behavior Patterns

No doubt, every child or adult comes with different patterns of behavior. Some may come up with repetitive patterns of behavior, activities or even interests which include signs like:

  • Performing repetitive movements like spinning, hand flapping, rocking, etc.
  • Performing activities related to self-harm like head-banging, or even biting, etc.
  • Developing particular routine, rituals, or activities
  • Getting disturbed with a slight change in the particular routine
  • Having coordination problems, having odd patterns for movement, like walking on toes, clumsiness, stiff body language, etc.
  • Gets fascinated by details of particular objects like spinning wheel but fails to understand the pattern of it
  • Unusual sensitivity to touch, sound or even light that can be indifferent to temperature or pain
  • Fails to get engaged to playing or imitative
  • Prefers particular food avoids some food ingredients, or refuses food with a particular texture

It is often observed that as the children facing autism grow, they might get engaged with other people and the disturbances in the behavior also reduces. For those having limited issues might live a normal life or a life near to normal.

What Are The Causes Of Autism?

Till date, there are no particular causes that lead to autism. However, as most of the cases have observed the family history of autism, many researchers and doctors think that particular genes combinations may lead a child to autism. But apart from this, there are other risks too that would increase the chances of having an autistic child.

Some of the commonly found suspected causes leading to autism include:

  • An immediate member of the family having autism
  • Genetic mutations
  • Genetic disorders
  • Fragile X syndrome
  • Having older parents
  • Having low weight during birth
  • Metabolic imbalances
  • Exposure to environmental toxins and other heavy metals
  • Having a history of any kind of viral infections
  • Exposure of the fetus to certain medications that contain thalidomide or valproic acid

Autism can henceforth be a result of both environmental and genetic issues. There are various sources who have also ended up that autism is caused due to particular vaccines, however, there are no particular facts over it till date.

What Are The Treatments Of Autism?

When it comes to the treatment of Autism, there is no particular cure for it. However, there are some therapies and other similar treatments and medications that may help in reducing the symptoms and working on improving their behavior to some extent. The treatment therapies mostly involve activities like play therapy, behavioral therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy and speech therapy. Along with all these clothing, weighted blankets, meditation techniques and massages are also helpful in providing some relaxing effect.

Some widely used treatment intervention for autism include:

1. Applied Behavior Analysis

Popularly known by ABA, the instructor in this kind of therapy firstly learns about the behavior the individual is having. They also learn about the effects of the behavioral and the method of learning. Through ABA, improvement can be observed in the memory, communication skills, academic performance,and the focus. Analyzing the current behavior and teaching them new actions and the instructor would provide the individual with required support through particular tools.

2. Early Start Denver Model

ESDM is a kind of behavioral therapy which is carried out along with playing. The therapy is much effective for the children between age 1 to 4. The therapy is carried out by an occupational therapist who with the help of joint activities and games helps the children suffering from autism in building positive relationships along with a fun sense. Once learned, the parents can continue with the therapy at their home. This kind of therapy supports cognitive abilities and communication skills too.

3. Floortime

This therapy includes the involvement of parents along with the children. This therapy is carried out in the play area as well as helps in building relationships. This therapy is also carried out for supporting various medicinal treatments. The parents boost the children by allowing them to lead the game which helps in developing the strength. The engagement of the kid would help him learn complex and two-way communication, intimacy and emotional thought.

4. Occupational Therapy

Shortly known as OT, this therapy helps in developing skills that are required to carry out an everyday living and learn how to be independent. The therapy includes activities like dressing on their own, hygiene and grooming, motor skills, etc. These therapies are carried out outside the therapy sessions which basically take 30 to 60 minutes.

5. Pivotal Response Treatment

PRT is a therapy which works in supporting motivation and responding abilities to motivational clues. The therapy is carried out in the form of a game focusing on natural reinforcement. The therapy treats the children how to respond and communicate too which improves their social interactions and responding to them.

6. Relationship Development Intervention

Through RDI, the children learn the importance of thinking dynamically. They understand the ability to adapt different processes, thoughts and situations in a flexible way. This helps in improving the lives of the autistic person. The prime focus of RDI is to understand the perspectives of others, change the process and get the information from other sources like sound, sight, etc. without any kind of distress.

7. Speech Therapy

The autistic people face a number of challenges while communicating with the people. And speech therapy helps in the challenges they face. The help here includes matching of emotions with the facial expressions, interpretation of the body language and responding to various questions. The therapist might also help in working over the vocal tone nuances helping the individual with strengthening clarity and speech.

8. TEACCH

This therapy helps in the integration of the various requirements of the children in the classroom. The process includes visual learning, supporting for attention and other communication difficulties that might occur. This therapy is carried out by special education providers, social workers,and the speech therapists too.

Along with all these, particular medications, coping of skills and strategies, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, melatonin, high-dose vitamins, etc. are some of the alternative treatments that are suggested with the therapies. Again, setting a proper diet would also help which includes focusing on whole foods, fish, fresh vegetables and fruits, lean poultry, etc. Keeping the autistic person hydrated is equally important too.

There is definitely no particular way of prevention from Autistic spectrum disorder. But there are certainly particular treatments that can work positively when diagnosed in early stages. The therapies would help in improving the skills, behavior and the language which would be helpful to a great extent for a near to normal life.

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I have a keen interest in natural & herbal remedies. I prefer to use organic ingredients in day to day life wherever possible. Researching and sharing my knowledge about organic lifestyle is what I enjoy the most. I stay in Mumbai, India with my family.

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