What Is Autism ?
A severe disorder that affects the children and causes retarded development of brain is known as autism. The child may face challenges in communication and social interaction with others that depend on the intensity of impairment of the brain. It is difficult to diagnose the illness since it affects the child in early developmental stages. Autism is a neuro-biological persistent development disorder (PDD) which has certain characteristics:
- Lack of social skills, social behavior, and reciprocal social interactions
- Trouble in arrangement of words, languages and non-verbal communication
- Cognitive and intellectual problems
Autism is a developing complex disorder and can occur in the initial three years of the child. Autism basically negatively influences the child ability to converse and respond properly. Autism affects the information processing center of brain which carries nerve signals to other parts of the body, thereby retarding the functions. Children who are born with congenital infections are more prone to autism than normal children. The child will engage in repetitive behavior and his interaction will be poor or minimal with the society. He cannot maintain eye contact and have difficulty in expressing emotions.
Causes Of Autism
The exact cause of Autism is not known as it is something people are born with. It is believed that children genes are transformed and changed the way by which a normal brain develops. According to the researchers, genes and environment both play an important role in Autism.
A child with autism might have these symptoms
- Behavior – limited interest or attachments, non-expectable crabbiness, abnormal and repetitive movements, overactive and non-cooperative behavior
- Sensory-fear of everyday sounds, eats limited kind of foods, uses peripheral vision to see objects and walking on tiptoes
- Communication – not responding on calling them or not pointing or waving hands in initial 12 months of birth, no proper speech by 18 months, responding to the different sounds by avoiding human voice
- Social skills – avoids a person who talk to them, do not smile on people if people pass smile to them, often live in their own world, not able to follow instructions
- Play – very limited to play socially, like to play alone, restrict to play with specific toys, play in unusual way
Children with autism have difficulties in their behavior, social, cognitive interaction, communication and sensory sensitivities.
Signs Of Autism
The signs of autism are as following
- Trouble in learning and talking
- Trouble in making friends or make a group
- Trouble in dealing with bright lights, loud noises, or busy hallways
- Trouble in dealing with changes as trying new things, put toys in different place
- Children also move in abnormal way
- Children often repeat the same word many times
The types of autism are come into Autism spectrum disorders and include
- Asperger’s Syndrome – this is a milder form of autism. A person with Asperger’s syndrome is very intelligent, and can handle daily life but not active socially.
- Pervasive Development Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS) – a moderated level of autism
- Autistic disorder-a more intense level of autism
- Childhood Disintegrative Disorder – it is the rarest and severe part of the spectrum. This disorder also develops seizures in the child.
Risk factors for autism include
- Use of drugs or alcohol during pregnancy
- Child’s sex- boys are four times more prone to develop autism than girls
- Family history
- Other disorders- autistic children have a higher risk of developing other disorder such as fragile X syndrome
- Pre born babies – pre born babies have higher risk of autism
- Age of the Parents
The diagnosis of autism has started at very early stage by the doctors. The doctor properly checks signs of autism in babies and small children. The behavioral, cognitive, and social analysis of the child helps doctors to understand the disorder.
There are no treatment is available to cure autism completely. The disorder can be controlled, if recognized in early stages through its symptoms. Generally, the type of the treatment a child receives depends on his/her individual needs as treatment can vary for person to person. Autism spectrum disorder is a spectrum disorder means some children have mild symptoms and some children have severe symptoms.
Different kinds of therapies and treatment methods are used to improve behavior, speech, and cognitive abilities. Speech therapy and behavior therapy is the most usable form of treatment that is given to autistic children. The symptoms can be controlled by continuous therapy for mild to moderate disorder and parental involvement is absolutely necessary for getting speedy results. Some children can overcome autism if they have mild symptoms which can make them fit to carry on routine activities without help. Sometimes, Medication helps to control any medical condition associated with autism. Treatment methods for autism include
Behavior and Communication Treatment
- Applied behavior analysis (ABA) – helps child to learn positive behavior and generally used in schools and clinics. The analysis include different trainings such as discrete trial training, pivotal response training, early intensive behavioral intervention (EIBI) and verbal behavior intervention (VBI)
- Developmental individual differences, relationship based approach (DIR)- provides emotional and intellectual growth of the child
- Treatment and education of autistic and related communication handicapped children (TEACCH)- uses visual cards or picture cards to help child to learn skills
- The exchange communication system (PECS)- visual treatment and uses symbols to teach children
- Occupational therapy- this therapy helps children to learn life skills like dressing, feeding, bathing and make them independent.
- Sensory integration therapy– this therapy helps to understand sensors, such as feeling of being touched, bright lights, certain sounds and other sensory information.
There are no medications for autism but medication can be given to treat some associated symptoms, such as seizures, depression and trouble focusing such as Risperidone (Risperdal)
Natural Home Remedies
Natural home remedies for autism include
- Magnesium supplements such as whole grains, leafy vegetables, almonds
- Fish oil
- Melatonin supplements such as pomegranate, nuts and seeds (mustard seeds)
- Probiotics such as yogurt
- Gluten free diet
- Vitamin D and vitamin C intake
The cause of autism is not known, so we cannot prevent having an autistic disorder in the child but we can lower the risk by
- Doing regular health checkups
- Eating a balanced meal
- Regular exercise
- Providing good parental care
- Providing all recommended supplements and vitamins
- Avoid taking drugs during pregnancy
- Avoid alcohol
- Provide good care of existing health problems
- Get German measles (rubella) vaccine before get pregnant to avoid rubella associated autism
The learning is a vital part of the successful growth of the brain, body and intellect in the childhood, but autism destroy that. Brain development and physical development, enhances the development of the child to test, explore and expand their knowledge. It promotes the intellectual, social and oral skills in children by allowing them to interact with their peers. So it is very important to recognize that these treatment methods are playing a crucial role to understand the behavioral and cognitive disorders in the child and provide better clinical psychological treatment to cure autism.
It is very important to connect autism treatment with treatment of depression because autistic people who are suffering from depression has later developed many other psychological disorders like anxiety, mood swing, If remain untreated. All this disorder develops a greater tendency towards using drugs and alcohol. This ruins their life and their relationships with their family, friends and other people.