What is Autism? Autism a.k.a. Autism spectrum disorder is a complex developmental disability which usually occurs during early childhood that comprises of an umbrella of social and mental challenges. The affected children lack basic social, communication and behavioural skills leaving them handicapped amongst other children of their age. Statistics by the Rehabilitation Council of India state that the prevalence rate of Autism in India is more than 2,160,000 people i.e. approximately 1 in 500 people (around 0.20%).
In this article, you will read all about Autism:
1. What exactly is Autism?
2. What are the early signs of Autism?
3. Does my child have Autism?
4. Are children born with Autism?
5. Can Autism be treated?
1. What exactly is Autism?
Autism, a spectrum disorder, occurs due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. There are many types of Autism, thus signs and symptoms can differ widely from sufferer to sufferer. However, most of them are marked with common indications such as repetitive behaviour, poor understanding of nonverbal communication, depression, anxiety, focus/concentration issues etc.
Every person with Autism can have distinct challenges, strengths, symptoms and weak spots. While some of them might require full-time support every day, some of them might need partial support only in certain activities and the rest of them might have the ability to live fully independently. Some of them can be comparatively skilled in learning, thinking and problem solving, but some of them might be highly challenged.
2.Autism signs and symptoms:
Symptoms of Autism in children are usually as given below:
a. They avoid eye contact with people
b. They have an overall poor grasping power
c.They do not like to be touched, held, hugged etc.
d.They face abnormal trouble adapting to change in lifestyle
e.They are naturally very sensitive to touches, smells, sounds etc.
f.In most cases, they prefer being alone (do not enjoy crowd)
g.They often do not pay attention to people who are speaking
h.They can’t judge how to initiate or get involved in a conversation
i. They speak in a robotic tone or voice (i.e. uses a flat or song-type tune)
j.They are incapable of comprehending emotions of the self as well as that of others
k.They have an unusual liking/interest in moving objects, animals, colourful things etc.
l.They fail to understand basic instructions. For example – they would not look at the point where somebody is pointing at
m. They don’t understand body language and non-verbal cues – gestures, facial expressions, speech, voice tone, moods, signals etc.
3.Autism prevention and treatment
Recognizing the early signs of Autism in babies can prove very helpful in providing the right treatment at the right time to your baby. With appropriate help, support and Autism therapy, the baby can learn, adapt and thrive better. So stay educated on normal and abnormal behaviour of babies and observe for any warning signs (such as the list above).
Remember, early intervention can change lives. While there is no established way to prevent Autism but however, early detection can make all the difference. Be on a constant watch out for warning signs in your child and if you find any, consult an appropriate doctor without any delay. This early recognition will aid a better treatment for the future in the long run.
4. Is my baby Autistic?
As a parent, you obviously do not wish to hear that your child has a health problem. So always keep an eye on the health symptoms of your baby for early detection of Autism. Watch out for any signs and symptoms mentioned above and if you observe any, don’t think twice before you consult your doctor/paediatrician for further investigation.
5. Is Autism a birth defect?
“Are kids born with Autism or does it get developed later?” Indicators of Autism usually begin to appear after the age of 2 or 3. However, close observation can help you diagnose the condition from as early as 18 months of age. The earlier the detection, the better it is for the child. Early detection has been proven to result in positive outcomes in the child in the long run.
Impact of early detection of autism:
“Autism can’t define me. I define Autism.” – a quote by Dr Kerry Magro sheds light on the acceptance of Autism and autistic people as they are. Being diagnosed with nonverbal Autism at the age 4, 27 years later today, Kerry Magro is today an award-winning professional speaker, a best-selling author of 2 books and a Doctor of Education! Who would have imagined’ With early detection, help and support of his family, Kerry has proved numerous studies and experts wrong. This shows that an Autistic child can be moulded the way required with love, care and support from family and friends; and of course the will of the child himself/herself. Good luck!