Autism Spectrum Disorder
A neurological condition called autism spectrum disorder (ASD) affects how a person perceives and interacts with others, which can lead to social interaction and communication issues. Limited and recurrent behavioral patterns are another sign of the disorder. In autism spectrum disorder, the word "spectrum" refers to the broad spectrum of symptoms and severity.
Autism spectrum disease eventually results in social, academic, and occupational difficulties in the society. Within the first year, autism signs in children are frequently visible. A small percentage of kids seem to grow normally in the first year, but between the ages of 18 and 24 months, when they start to show signs of autism, they undergo a period of regression. The quality of life of several kids can be considerably improved by comprehensive, early intervention, even if there is no known cure for autism spectrum disorder.
Symptoms of ASD can vary widely, but some common signs include:
- Difficulty with social interaction,
- Difficulty in communicating,
- Repetitive behavior or interests, and
- Difficulty with flexibility or change in the routine.
- Some children with ASD may also experience sensory sensitivities,
such as aversion to certain textures or sounds.
It's important to note that symptoms can range from mild to severe and may not be the same for every person with ASD. A professional evaluation by a qualified healthcare provider is needed to diagnose ASD.
When To Seek Help?
Babies develop at their own pace, frequently straying from the tight schedules outlined in some parenting manuals. However, before the age of two years, children with autism spectrum condition typically exhibit specific indicators of impaired development.
Early in a child's development, when there are apparent delays in language development and social interaction, autism spectrum disorder symptoms frequently show up. If the kid exhibits any of the following signs of cognitive, linguistic, or social skill impairments, your doctor may advise developmental testing to determine the cause:
- Doesn't play "make-believe" or pretend by 18 months
- Doesn't respond to name when called upon.
- Doesn't make eye contact while conversation.
- Doesn't mimic sounds or facial expressions by nine months
- Doesn't babble or coo by 12 months
- Doesn't respond with a smile or happy expression by six months
- Doesn't gesture such as point or wave by 14 months
- Doesn't say a single word for 16 months
- Doesn't say two-word phrases within 24 months
- Loses language skills or social skills at any age
There is no known cause for autism. There are several signs of the illness, all of which range in severity. The condition has a wide range of genetic and environmental causes due to its complexity. A child's development may be impacted by genes and environmental factors that result in ASD.
- Genetics: ASD is more likely to affect children with specific genetic abnormalities, such as fragile X syndrome, Down syndrome, and Rett syndrome. Several genes may contribute to the emergence of autism spectrum disease.
- Rett Syndrome: Rett Syndrome is a hereditary condition that causes intellectual impairment, slowed head development, and hand loss. Girls are nearly entirely affected by it.
- The other genetic causes of the risk of autism spectrum disorder in children increase due to the various hereditary factors, which may involve gene mutations or genetic alterations. While certain genetic alterations appear to be inherited, other changes occur randomly. In other circumstances, it's possible that additional genes contributed to the altered brain development or impacted the routes used by brain cells to communicate. Therefore, the intensity of the symptoms may depend on some other genes.
A child with an ASD sibling may be in danger.
Ages of the parents
Although no clear research studies are available to confirm this assertion, parents age seem to be a risk factor for autism. Older parents may have a higher chance of having children with autism spectrum disorder.
Low Birth Weight
Infants born underweight are more likely to acquire autism.
Extremely preterm babies
Babies born before 26 weeks of gestation may be at a higher risk for ASD.
Boys have a higher probability than girls of developing autism spectrum disorder.
There is a high chance of having a kid with ASD if there is already an autistic child in the family.
It's also possible that the kid's family or the parents have a few minor social or communication difficulties or display specific behaviors that are symptomatic of autism spectrum disorder.
People with ASD could have complications involving sensory issues, seizures, mental health issues, or other issues.
People with ASD may be susceptible to sensory input. Even ordinary things like loud noises or bright lights might make you feel quite uncomfortable emotionally. Alternatively, some sensations, such as intense heat, cold, or discomfort, may not affect you.
People with ASD may frequently experience seizure attacks. They often start while they're young or in their teen years.
Mental health issues
ASD increases the chances of depression, anxiety, impulsive behavior, and mood changes.
Many people with ASD suffer from a mental disability. The risk of ASD in children with fragile X syndrome is higher. An X chromosomal segment has an abnormality that results in this condition, frequently leading to mental disability, especially in boys.
An uncommon condition called tuberous sclerosis causes benign tumors, including brain tumors. However, children with tuberous sclerosis had a significantly higher risk of ASD than those without the ailment.
Aggression, unusual sleeping, eating, and digestive disorders are some other symptoms that can come along with ASD.
You might be curious to know how to prevent autism during pregnancy. Even though there is currently no treatment for autism spectrum disorder and no foolproof research has shown that certain activities are a good way to prevent it. However, some precautions should be taken throughout pregnancy to avoid ASD in the first place, including
- Avoid using drugs during pregnancy.
- Maintaining a healthy lifestyle during pregnancy.
- Avoid drinking alcohol during pregnancy.
Laboratory tests are not available to diagnose ASD. However, making a diagnosis may be challenging since the symptoms and severity of autism spectrum disorder vary. The condition cannot be identified with a specific medical test. An expert may then:
- Observe your child and ask how your child's social interactions, communication skills, and behavior have developed and changed over time
- Tests for hearing, speech, language, developmental stage, and social and behavioral difficulties should be administered to your kid.
- Evaluation of child's performance issues with social and communication encounters.
- Genetic testing to determine whether your kid has a congenital disease like Rett syndrome or fragile X syndrome.
ASD is often a chronic disorder. Autism behavioral treatments or therapies that teach new abilities can help children and adults with autism address their underlying weaknesses and lessen their core symptoms. Autism affects every child and adult differently, and the treatment strategy is tailored to each patient's demands. Treatment should start as soon as feasible to ensure that therapy's positive effects last for the rest of the patient's life.
ASD is commonly associated with additional medical conditions such as gastrointestinal and eating problems, seizures, and sleep problems. A treatment plan may include medication, behavioral therapy, or both.
The entire family and maybe a group of specialists are involved in the early rigorous behavioral therapy. The course of treatment may change as your kid grows and develops to meet their requirements better.
Children who get transitional support during their teens develop independence-building skills that are useful as adults. Career possibilities and training for new skills are the main concerns at that stage.
Do's and Don'ts:
|Talk about their interests||Assume nonverbal children can’t be communicated|
|Be supportive||Force an individual with autism to conform to social norms or expectations.|
|Learn more and educate yourself||Use derogatory language or labels when referring to individuals with autism.|
|Give your child time to respond||Keep them away from the society|
|Use toys that interact with their senses||Insist on eye contact|
There is no requirement to document the child's behavior. Just be a gentle presence that doesn’t judge. This is the best way to offer support.
Care At Medicover
At Medicover Hospitals, we have the most experienced team of neurologist, child psychiatrists or psychologists delivering exceptional healthcare services to patients. Our diagnostic department, with its cutting-edge technology and equipment, performs the necessary tests for the diagnosis of ASD. This further helps our experts create a special treatment plan, based on your unique health needs. We have an experienced team of child psychiatrists or psychologists who use a multidisciplinary approach to diagnose and treat this condition with extreme precision, resulting in successful outcomes.