What is autism?
Autism could also be known as autism spectrum disorder. It is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first 3 years of life due to the neurological disorder that affects the functioning of the brain. This disorder is 4 times prevalent in boys than girls and it can be diagnosed by looking at a person’s behaviour and development.
Signs and symptoms that show possibility of autism
- No response to hand movements such as waving
- Does not respond to cooing
- Not making eye contact
- Not smiling or giggling
- Appear fussier than other babies
- Will not engage with their caretaker
Signs and symptoms that show possibility of autism in children
- Poor communication skills, limited verbal skills, restricted interests, repetitive behaviours and sensory issues.
- Difficulty in connecting with caretakers, peers and their surroundings.
- Often have pronounced difficulties in social situation.
- Have episodes of intense aggression. In some cases, the child is likely to self-harm.
- Often labelled as slow learners or having developmental delays.
Causes of autism
- Genetic risk factors (Changes in certain genes)
- Environmental risk factors such as advanced parent age, pregnancy and birth complications (e.g. extreme prematurity <26 weeks, low birth weight, multiple pregnancies and pregnancies spaced less than 1 year apart)
Prenatal vitamins containing folic acid before and at conception and through pregnancy will highly reduce the risk of child being autistic.
Treatment for autism should start as soon as possible after diagnosis as proper care can reduce individuals’ difficulties in life. Below are some of the interventions:
- Learn new skills and make the most of their strengths since young.
- Referred to professionals specialize in providing behavioural, psychological, educational, or skill-building interventions.
- Introduced to customized programs that are highly structure and intensive to help people with autism to learn life-skills to be able to live independently, reduce challenging behaviours, increase or build upon strengths
- Learning about social, communication and language skills.
As people with autism have trouble understanding what other people think and feel, and this makes it hard for them to express themselves, either with words or through gestures, facial expressions, and touch. Therefore, patient and care from family will be the best therapy to autism child through their growth and development process.
- Raising Children Network. (n.d.). Types of interventions for children with autism spectrum disorder. [online] Available at: https://raisingchildren.net.au/guides/a-z-health-reference/types-of-interventions-for-asd [Accessed 9 Jan. 2020].
- (n.d.). Autism. [online] Available at: http://www.nasom.org.my/autism/ [Accessed 9 Jan. 2020].
- Autism Speaks. (n.d.). What Are the Symptoms of Autism? | Autism Speaks. [online] Available at: https://www.autismspeaks.org/what-are-symptoms-autism [Accessed 9 Jan. 2020].
- Autism Speaks. (n.d.). What Causes Autism? | Autism Speaks. [online] Available at: https://www.autismspeaks.org/what-causes-autism [Accessed 9 Jan. 2020].