You visit a friend after a long time and are all excited to meet her and her children. But suddenly when you get there you notice that her younger child did not respond to your very kind gesture. Well do not feel sad or perhaps feel disliked by this behaviour. The fact is not that he dislikes you, he is suffering with autism and hence finds difficulty in expressing his emotions. Autism is a serious developmental problem that appears in early childhood usually before age 3. Our brain understands the things we see , hear, smell taste and touch, but in autism the brain has difficulty in interpreting these things. Children suffering with autism cannot make connections that other kids make easily. Children usually have trouble understanding others emotions and feelings. They might act in a way that seems unusual and it can be hard to understand the reason to their strange behaviour.
Causes of Autism
There could be varied causes that trigger Autism. The influence of neurotransmitters in the brain and other biological processes may relate to the development of Autism. Certain environmental factors like air pollutants viral infections, a complicated pregnancy may trigger Autism.
Autism affects children of all races and nationalities but few factors increases a child's risk to autism. Boys are more prone to autism than girls. Children with certain medical conditions have higher risk of autism like epilepsy, tuberous sclerosis a condition in which benign tumours develop in the brain, fragile X syndrome an inherited disorder that leads to intellectual problems.
Symptoms of Autism
According to research, autistic children show signs of delayed speech within first year of life. Whereas other children develop normally but then suddenly become aggressive and withdrawn later. Children with autism find difficulty in expressing their thoughts and feelings.
* They find difficulty in communicating and are socially withdrawn and isolated from others.
* Many autistic children tend to become hyperactive ,aggressive and are unable to follow simple directions. Many autistic children fail to respond to their name when called.
* Tend to get very clumsy and perform repetitive movements like spinning, rocking and hand flapping.
* They have poor eye contact and resists social interaction like cuddling and holding.
* Find difficulty in starting a conversation.
* Repeats words or phrases verbatim without understanding.
* Unable to understand simple questions.
* Every kid with autism is likely to act differently in their behaviour and therefore have different skills.
Diagnosis of Autism
Autism varies widely in severity and therefore making diagnosis can be difficult. There is no medical test to determine the disorder, instead a medical specialist may observe the child's behaviour and social skills and start with the treatment.
The child showing autistic symptoms will be referred to a child psychologist or a paediatrician. Then the parents are interviewed by the doctor regarding the onset of autism. A sequence of questions are asked by the specialist regarding their child's behaviour.
* When did he first crawl?
* Does he have delayed speech?
* Does he interact with others and makes eye contact ?
* Does he express his emotions freely?
* Whether any family history of Autism?
* Diagnosis is usually made before the age 3. An early diagnosis and intervention can help in improving language and skill development.
One can reduce symptoms of Autism by maximizing your child's ability in learning and help him acquiring new skills. Many behaviour therapy sessions are conducted which focuses on teaching autistic children how to act and behave in social situations and also to communicate better with people. Autistic children respond well to educational programmes conducted by trained specialists which focuses on improving their communication, behaviour and social skills
The family members of autistic children are made to learn the technique of coping with their children, how to interact with them and teach them daily living skills and communication.
Autism can have a crippling affect not only on the child's mental and physical health but also on her family. The most essential ingredient for a dignified existence would be unconditional support from the family. Autism can be treated, however, the earlier it is diagnosed and treatment started, the better the prognosis can be.