- It is a developmental disorder that occurs in a child that is characterized by difficulties with social interaction and communication is known as autism.
- Information processing in the brain is profoundly affected by autism, as it alters the connection between nerve cells and their synapses.
- It would be better for society to treat autism as a difference rather than a disorder.
- Boys are likely to suffer from autism than girls and number of patients has increased since the 1960’s.
- Autism starts right from childhood and follows the steady course, if not treated. While the children with autism are weak in some aspects, in other activities, they would be normal, and in some cases, they would turn out to be master in those activities.
- Autism may cause the victim to lack the intuition about others, and often respond less to social stimuli or their name. Making and maintaining the relationships is a difficult task for them. Rarely, children with intellectual disability due to autism may develop aggression and may do tantrums.
Causes Of Autism
There are distinct causes that co-occur and result in this complex disorder. The cause that is common is interactions among multiple genes, the environment and epigenetic factors that are heritable and influence gene expression as they cannot change the DNA sequence. Hence, it is thought that autism is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors such as infections during pregnancy (rubella) and use of valproic acid, alcohol or cocaine in pregnancy period.
Siblings of those who are suffering from autism are about 25 times more likely to be autistic than the general population, and unaffected family members may result from spontaneous deletions, duplications or inversions in the genetic material during meiosis. Synaptic dysfunction is also thought to be one of the causes of autism.
Exposure to air pollution containing heavy metals and particulates during pregnancy, increase the risk of autism. It is not proved scientifically, but some claimed that causes of autism include certain edibles, solvents, infectious diseases, PCBs, phthalates, and phenols used in plastic products, pesticides, brominated flame retardants, alcohol, smoking, illicit drugs and prenatal stress.
Symptoms Of Autism
Following are the symptoms of Autism:
- Restricted and repetitive behavior is usually observed signs in the first two or three years of child’s life. These signs can also develop gradually while in some children development is at an average pace but will worsen over time.
- Children with autism perceive social interactions as troublesome and may communicate rarely or show impaired communication.
- Reactive attachment disorder, intellectual disability, and schizophrenia are the differential diagnosis methods.
- Poor eye-contact, compulsive behavior, self-harm, impulsivity and persistent repetition of words and actions.
Symptoms may vary for different people and may be very lenient or very severe.
Prevention Of Autism
Autism is a disorder in which not the patient but the patient’s mother has to take preventive measure. Some of them are given below:
- Avoid consumption of drugs such as valproic acid unless recommended by a doctor during pregnancy.
- A pregnant woman must strictly avoid alcohol.
- Developing immunity against rubella, before pregnancy.
- Preventive measures to be taken by the patient.
- Early diagnosis and treatment of phenylketonuria (PKU), a disease caused by lack of a liver enzyme.
- Early treatment of celiac disease
Treatment Of Autism
Listed below are the treatments of Autism:
- Treatment is possible only when there is full cooperation of victim’s family and a team of professionals.
- Treatment differs for different victims, and it depends on the comprehensive evaluation of the child. Generally, more than one treatment is needed.
- Articulation disorder, apraxia, seizures, GI problems are some of the biological issues suffered by some of the children with autism. Giving attention to these problems with speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, or the treatment with Neurologist or Gastroenterologist can improve the child’s response. This treatment is for core symptoms of autism.
- Treatment of disorders related to autism is the treatment of associated symptoms. Combination of both core symptoms and associated symptoms treatment is needed.
- Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA), Discrete Trial Teaching (DTT), Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT), Verbal Behavior (VB), and Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) are some of the treatments.
Related Article: The Purpose Of A Pediatrician
Dr. Pankaj, an expert Houston Pediatrician, suggests regular visits and tests like filling the form regarding the details of your child can help the pediatrician to know the condition of your child and diagnose the disease in early stages.
Being aware of the above information might be enough for people for observing the symptoms if any. Taking timely action is extremely important.