Autism and its associated spectrum of the disorder have been in discussion, since a very long time; and hence has increased awareness. Approximately around 2 in 69 children are autistic today, who are facing difficulties such as social aloofness, irritability, mood swings etc. The autism spectrum disorder has raised alarming signal in the expert community for being untreatable; however, the good news is that it can be managed.
Some Interesting facts about Autism Spectrum Disorder
- The term was first coined by Psychiatrist Leo Kanner, who redefined the modern understanding of Autism that was earlier related to schizophrenia.
- The disorder is almost 5 times more common in boys than in girls; and is being reported in all racial, ethnic as well as socio-economic group.
- The literal meaning of autism is “alone”, as suggested by Greek literature.
- Naughty Auties is a virtual resource center working continuously towards social as well as educational development of autism.
- The prevalence of autism is more common as compared to its other dangerous counterparts, such as juvenile diabetes, cancer, and aids.
- One out of 10 extremely premature infants, born almost 3 months early is tested to be positive for Autism Spectrum Disorder.
- Studies have indicated that dogs can relieve the stress of an autistic child, make him calm and also be helpful in reducing his aggressive behavior.
- Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Sir Isaac Newton are some of the finest personalities, experts in their respective field are known to be autistic.
An autism spectrum disorder is one of the neurodegenerative developmental disorders, altering communication and behavior of a child to a great extent. The problems associated with the issue can range from mild to severe, depending upon the extent of damage to brain cells. Since current therapeutic interventions don’t have a substantial cure for the disorder, early diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder can be helpful in the management of some of its main symptoms.
Signs and symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder
Below are some of the indications that should be noted by each parent, which would be helpful in early interventions; such as:
- Delayed development in communication, speech, and languages.
- Repetition of words, sentence and/or phrases.
- Very monotonous sound, with the single repetitive word.
- Very poor eye contact
- An autistic child tries to play usually different plays then normal children do
- A child rarely uses gesture or facial expressions, while interacting with other children.
- A child expresses a strong like or dislikes for certain food, which is usually based on different food colors, texture etc.
Some of the conditions associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Most of the experts have tried to evaluate different medical conditions associated with Autism and categorized them in the relevant spectrum of disorder. Accordingly, certain conditions that have identified to be categorized under Autism Spectrum Disorder can be named as:
- Asperger’s syndrome
- Pervasive developmental disorder
- Rett’s syndrome
- Childhood disintegrative disorder
Are some of the most common issues coming under the umbrella of Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Causes and risk factors Associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder
The exact cause of Autism spectrum disorder is still unknown although; but, clinical studies conducted so far on a global research platform have analyzed that both genetic manipulations as well as external environmental factors during fetal development play a primary role in altering high functioning of neurons leading to Autism spectrum disorder. Some of the causative factors noted herewith can be helpful for people as tips to avoid autism.
- Already having a sibling with Autism spectrum disorder
- Parents age at the time of conception
- Already suffering from certain types of genetic condition
- Stress during the period of pregnancy
- Very low birth weight
- Premature birth
Although, it should be understood that scientists are still trying to figure out, why some children develop autism spectrum disorder and why some of them don’t.
Treating Autism Spectrum Disorder
While conventional treatment module does not have any effective cure for Autism and associated issues, it can certainly be managed by implementing the rehabilitative approaches, like educational interventions, steroidal medicines to stop the aggression and alternative therapies, such as stem cell therapies.
Educational/Behavioural interventions with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Behavioral therapy is one of the mainstream, yet high functioning rehabilitative therapies for autism spectrum disorder. The approach has been proven to be effective in case of normal children as well, teaching them new communication skills, language skills as well as the ability to effectively interact socially. In case of autistic children, the therapy has been proven to be a helpful interpreting gesture, communicating with the help of solid eye contact, improved voice tone, learn how to add humor as well as sarcasm, while communicating effectively. The cognitive behavioral therapy has been helpful to many children for controlling their aggressive, obsessive tendency, unnatural anxiety; leading to better long term health outcomes.
Another approach in behavioral therapy has been identified to be an early-intervention therapy, wherein the parents are also asked to improve social, verbal as well as written communication along with the child; in order to cope up with him, as per his emotional status. Experts have suggested various modules for these interventions, especially for children with autism spectrum disorders; and are proven to be high functioning. They can be noted as, TEACCH Autism programme, Lovaas model, Early start Denver model, etc. Parents have commented positively about these programmes, according to them the programme effectively help parents to keep their household well organized, bring in a sense of accomplishment; and the physical exercise has been proven to be effective in raising the energy quotient.
Scientists have suggested that along with behavioral as well as educational interventions, medications can also play a crucial role in helping children with autism spectrum disorder to manage effectively with the symptoms, aggression, and anxiety. The medicines are further being categorized into stimulants, anti-depressants, as well as anxiety medications.
Every child has been benefitted with the medicinal therapy to some of the other extent. Some children have reported significant improvement.
Certain alternative therapies, such as stem cell therapies have also been found to be effective in altering the root cause of autism. Stem cells are the young mother cells of the body, with an ability to differentiate into cells of tissue-specific origin; and hence, are being helpful in the production of fresh neurons to prevent neuronal loss.