All You Need to Know about Autism: Symptoms, Causes & Treatment
Autism comprises a group of neurotypical disorders, having a spectrum of disorders, because of which it is also known as ASD or Autism Spectrum Disorder. ASD is characterized by several issues related to social interaction, communication, and behavior. Typically, the symptoms of the disorder are evident at the time of early childhood (1 year-2-year-old) of a child. According to the DSM-5 (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), symptoms of ASD are divided into two specific categories, that are restricted/repetitive behavior patterns or activities and issues related to social interaction and communication. Here is a piece of detailed information regarding the symptoms that fall under these two categories.
Symptoms of Autism
Repetitive or restricted activities or behavior pattern, which includes-
- Fixated preoccupations or choices/interests
- Excessively sensitive or otherwise sensory processing of the surrounding. For instance, the child may react negatively to specific noise in the background.
- Rigidly committed to specific behaviors or routines. For instance, the child may want to eat only a single type of food or food with specific textures
- Exhibit repetitive motions, movements and speech patterns
Challenges related to social interaction and communication consists of-
- Difficulties in making or maintaining relationships
- Challenges related to nonverbal communication, for instance, the child may find it hard to read the body language of others while talking to them or may lack eye contact
- Issues related to communication, such as difficulty in keeping an ongoing conversation, exchanging interests, and sharing emotions
Based on the above-listed symptoms, individuals are diagnosed and evaluated the severity of the disorder in them. As per the criteria, an individual should exhibit all of the three signs or indicators in the 2nd category, and at least two indicators in the first one.
Cause of Autism
To date, the exact cause of Autism is unknown. Researchers around the world have constantly been looking for the exact cause of the disorder so as to help in Autism treatment and prevention. Collectively some of the revelations that were found suggest several reasons behind the development of the disorder in a child. Several genes are identified that have a connection with Autism Spectrum Disorder. In some cases, the genes may arise out of spontaneous mutation, while in others, individuals may inherit them from their parents.
Also, studies suggest a significant correlation among twins. This means that if a child has Autism, the probability of the other child having it too falls around 36%-95%, depending upon several other relevant factors. Other than these, environmental factors may also play a significant role in ASD development in the child. In a nutshell, here are a few factors that may cause Autism in a child.
- Genetic mutations
- Having a family member (immediate) who has Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Offspring of older parents
- Genetic disorders that may include, fragile X-syndrome
- Metabolic imbalances
- Low weight at the time of birth
- Excessive exposure to environmental toxins and heavy metals
- Direct exposure to valproic acid, thalidomide and other related medications
- Viral infection history
Some major controversy has been in the news, which started in the year 1998. A research was conducted, and the study suggested that MMR (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella) vaccination had a connection with Autism. However, later, other studies debunked this myth, and it is now clear that there is no connection between the development of Autism in a child with getting MMR vaccination.
Treatment of Autism
Autism treatment consists of several interventions in the form of therapies, strategies, tools, and techniques that together help in decreasing the disorder’s symptoms and encourage holistic development in the child. Some conventional Autism treatment approaches may include Speech therapy, Occupational therapy, play therapy, behavioral therapy, etc. Through speech therapy, the therapist helps the child develop and learn how to communicate their thoughts as well as effectively understand what others are trying to say, for instance, the speech therapist may help the child understand how to comprehend the body language of the other person. Similarly, an occupational therapist may work on the development of handwriting, fine motor, and daily living ways and skills.
Other than these conventional therapies, a parent or caretaker may opt for meditation, clothing textures, and weighted blankets, aromatherapy, massages, and other relevant techniques and therapies for the benefit of the child. However, it is essential to note that any of the strategies, therapies, or medication should be provided to the special child only after getting a consultation from an experienced child psychiatrist or a child psychologist.
If you are a parent or caretaker of a child and see any symptoms of ASD, then reach out to an Autism treatment center at the earliest. An Autism treatment center that has a team of experienced and skilled professionals that together work on your child’s developmental needs would help your child thrive and make the best of his/her life. You can also look for an Autism treatment center online. For instance, if you want to find a center located in Delhi, simply type autism center in Delhi, and you would come across numerous results to choose from. Remember that as soon as you start the treatment of your child, the best results can be expected.
Akshay Sharma is a writer who loves sharing views on health and food topics. He is constantly in search of new articles and posts on topics related to health and its branches.