Autism is a developmental disorder that begins early in childhood and lasts throughout a person’s life. People with autism suffer from a wide range of symptoms. They spend a lot of time repetitively organizing things or they say the same sentences repeatedly. They “live in their world”. People with autism face difficulty in intrapersonal skills such as reading, learning, and understanding. Moreover, they also find it hard to communicate and interact with others.
What causes Autism?
Autism is diagnosed in kids by the age of 2-3. The cause of autism is not discovered yet. Studies show that the cause of autism is a combination of genetic and environmental factors. So autism is 4 times common in boys as compared to girls. So, it is particularly important to identify autism as soon as possible. It is easier for doctors to get an early diagnosis of autism and parents to find an appropriate treatment routine for the kids.
Signs and symptoms of autism
Autism constitutes a varied range of signs and symptoms for different people. Every autistic child faces their own set of problems.
- Restricted or repetitive behavior- The child likes playing with toys, in the same manner, every time, they have obsessive interests and like to keep a routine and follow it. But autistic children show unusual responses to the way anything smells, sounds, tastes, and looks. Also, they repeat the same words over and over and get easily disturbed by any hindrance to their sequence or routines.
- Difficulty in verbal and nonverbal communications- The child does not respond to their name by 9-12 months of age. Moreover, they have trouble keeping eye contact with others and do not show any facial expressions in any situation. Autistic children are unable to react to verbal and physical cues and, they are not able to recognize emotions. They show little interest in peers and do not take part in playing simple games.
- Social communication challenges- Autistic children feel overwhelmed in social situations. They face difficulty in gauging personal space and show difficult behavior whilst receiving emotional comfort from others. They inhibit themselves from showing emotions and face difficulty during taking turns in a conversation.
How to treat autism?
Currently, there is no treatment available for autism. The doctors focus on minimizing the symptoms and maximizing the strengths with the help of therapies and interventions. The therapy conduct varies from one kid to another. Early start of intervention and therapies (by the age of preschooling) has shown positive results in kids and helped in the development of major skills.
Autism spectrum disorder children often benefit from highly structured educational programs. It is one of the most effective therapies for children. Many successful programs include a team of specialists and a variety of activities to boost social skills, communication, and behavior. Preschoolers who receive intensely, personalized behavioral interventions frequently make big improvements.
Attitude management programs
These programs help in the children’s development by focusing on attention deficiency. It also focuses on the sleep cycle, social skills, anxiety, parent, and peer interaction. This helps in building confidence, reducing language delays, catching physical, verbal, and emotional cues. Therefore, it helps in the overall development of children.
Although no drug may treat the basic symptoms of autism spectrum disease, it can assist regulate symptoms. Your child may receive medication if he or she is hyperactive. For instance, in the treatment of serious behavioral problems, antipsychotic drugs are prescribed. Whereas, antidepressants are prescribed for anxiety. Ensure that your child’s doctor is aware of any medications or supplements he or she is taking. However, some vitamins and drugs can interact, resulting in serious side effects.
Behavior and communication Therapies
Many programs address the social, verbal, and behavioral issues that are common in people with autism. Some programs emphasize the reduction of problem behaviors and the acquisition of new abilities. Other initiatives educate children on how to behave in social situations or how to communicate more effectively with others. Through a reward-based motivation system, applied behavior analysis can help youngsters learn new abilities and generalize them to a variety of settings.
Family and other Therapies
Parents and other family members can learn to play and interact with their children in ways that enhance social interaction skills. They can control behavioral problems, and teach daily living skills and communication to their children. Depending on the needs of your child, speech therapy may help improve communication abilities. Whereas, occupational therapy may teach activities of daily living. Physical therapy can also help in enhancing movement and balance. You should ask a psychologist for help if you are struggling with problematic behaviors.
Dealing with Autistic children
If you have observed autism-like symptoms in your child, you must be worried and thinking about what to expect next. Even though autism is a lifelong incurable condition, support and intervention from parents and family can help in the development of the child in magical ways. Treatments available currently for autism help the child to discover new skills and overcome various challenges.
- Create consistency and stick to a schedule- It is difficult for the child to maintain a constant setting due to attention deficiency. Creating a safe space for a kid and maintaining consistency will help to reinforce learning.
- Look for nonverbal cues- The parent must figure out the reason behind their child behaving in a certain way and what is the reason behind them throwing tantrums. Hence the suggestion to parents is to look out for the body language of the child, the tone of their voice, and the way they behave.
- Know your child’s strengths and weaknesses- Advice to parents is to create their autism treatment plan. The building of effective treatment plans your child’s interest hence actively engaging the child’s attention. You ought to offer a predictable schedule and teach simple tasks in a stepwise manner. This provides regular reinforcement of behavior.
Our perception of autism
We have evolved in the sense of subjecting autism as a disorder. A few years back, People were making fun of autistic people due to their lack of intellectual abilities. Also, it is a mental disorder of significance, and tons of research behind it. So the researchers are unable to find out the cause behind autism. Yet autism treatments are developed. This would help autistic children to maximize their potential to learn and become socially fluent, regardless of how strong their impairments could also be. Mental health professionals, advocacy agencies, and your local community can all offer your assistance. Also read- Work Pressure affecting mental health? Here is what you should do.