Tips for parents of Autistic kids

TIPS FOR PARENTS OF AUTISTIC KIDS

tips-for-parents-autistic-kids

The following tips for parents of autistic kids are the compilation of tips by asdsurvivors.com community. We plan to update the list every 6 months. You can contribute by sharing your message through the comments section.

The tips give us an idea as to how we should we approach the situation when we learn that our child has autism and thereafter. As every kid on the spectrum is unique, the response to treatment varies with each kid.

For every parent, knowing that their child has ASD is a life-changing moment. Suddenly the world turns upside down. We question ourselves, try to find answers and it’s all confusion and chaos. Luckily, we are living in an age, when research on ASD is happening at a hectic pace, we are seeing successful results to treatments and most importantly there is a lot of information and communities to help us.   The treatment for Autism is a long-term process, which involves medicine and therapy and of course, the child gets better with his age. (Note: Unless he has any irreversible physical or mental conditions)

1.Stay away from rumors and misconceptions

stay-away-rumours

When a  child is diagnosed with Autism, parents are genuinely shocked and it takes few weeks for them to fully embrace the situation, that is to move from the confused to a battle-readiness state. There are many misconceptions about reasons for Autism which affects parents’ ability to take decisions which are:

  • Autism is  due to bad parenting;

    Many believe that bad parenting is the cause of Autism. This is especially true in conservative/developing countries where people are reluctant to acknowledge that it could be due to Genes. Rather they attribute it to parenting skills. This places a heavy guilt on the parents. Your parenting skills have nothing to do with autism. Human babies are conditioned to learn by observing the environment and this quality is a function of their brain.Autism is a neurological disorder and not due to parenting.

  • Autism is  due to your child being looked after by a caregiver or nanny:

    Another favorite person to blame the kids being autistic is nannies or maids. While there is a possibility that children whose both parents are working may have less quality time with parents and can get habituated to excessive watching of Television, it is never a cause for Autism.  Excessive screen time may lead to delay in language development but the neurotypical child will overcome it naturally. 

  • Autism is due to vaccines:

    I want to highlight this because the propaganda against vaccines is so powerful that even I thought of deferring vaccine for my child. In northern parts of Kerala, the anti-vaccine lobby is so strong that they are able to influence people into avoiding vaccines. The result is that many diseases which were eradicated have come back eg. Diphtheria. Do we really want to put our children at a great risk for an argument that cannot offer any proof? Its been falsely communicated that vaccines especially MMR vaccine is the cause of autism. In fact, there have been many studies which have been done to discover the truth but there has been no conclusive evidence. The developmental delays start to be noticed typically between 12 to 24 months and this is a period when you give the MMR vaccine. This is the reason why parents attribute the symptoms to the vaccine because that is the only visible action they could recollect. And they are oblivious to the changes happening in child’s brain. Most interesting is that after decades of campaigning, anti-vaccine preachers have not been able to carry out any study or bring out any results that could stand the scrutiny of science. There is a lot of talk on  Mercury and aluminum in the vaccines but these also have been disproved and you can find more about this in the following links.

Please click the link to access the reports by   U.S. Department of Health & Human Services   and by  Autism Speaks

2.Treatment Options

So once we have understood what Autism is, it’s much easier to help your child. Your child is like any normal child,  but he lacks the social skills and he indulges in repetitive tasks. So we need to focus on these two areas to help him and it’s very important to not benchmark your kid against normal kids. Your kid is absolutely normal there is nothing that stops him from achieving what any kid can do. You need to understand that there are certain characteristics that would be with your child and you should focus on reducing/changing those behaviors or help him to mask it. Which means you need to teach him what is the right behavior.  Teaching is not at all that easy,  but it can be achieved if you focus on your child’s goals and build an excellent support network that includes his teachers, doctor, therapists, your friends, relatives. It’s crucial to understand that your child does not understand emotions so he cannot read your face and cannot reciprocate emotions so talk to him. Answer all his queries ( verbal & non-verbal), be frank with him. Right now as there no medicines that can cure Autism, options available are therapy and medicines.

Therapy:

Whether your child has classical Autism or High Functioning Autism, its advisable to put your kid into an intense therapy program.This means giving your child daily session of Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy, and ABA. You can add other therapies like Music Therapy depending on the center where you enroll the kid.Intense therapy is crucial in correcting your kid and one should arrange for that. Always choose therapist and center wisely as ” A good therapist can do wonders ” and can be crucial in shaping your child’s future.

Medicine:

Autism brings with it many co-morbid conditions like ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), OCD ( Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)  or ODD ( Oppositional Defiant Disorder). So when they exhibit these conditions, let us say your kid is very hyper. You have options to use medicines which will have side effects. So how do you take the decision? Ask yourself these questions.

  1. Can you manage the child or his condition without medicine
  2. What are the side effects? Is it permanent one and how severe it is?. Or will it go once the medicine is stopped?
  3. Will using the medicine immensely benefit your child and does the benefit outweigh the side effects of the medicine.

Other Activities:

And to reduce the child’s hyperactivity and aggressiveness, the child can go for swimming which is a great whole-body exercise.You could buy a small trampoline so that he can spend his energy while at home. Take him to a park daily which has activities like climbing, swinging etc.At home also you can give him activities that enhances his skills and attention like passing beads through a string, drawing, reading picture books, listening to songs.

3.General Tips

Never leave them alone:

As kids are unpredictable and may not know how to behave in unknown settings, its always advisable to keep a watch on them. Leave them free, let them enjoy under your watchful eye. This will help your child to stay clear of danger which he may accidentally cause.

Be God of patience

You need to have a tremendous amount of patience. There can be instances when suddenly you can explode in anger as a response to your child’s behaviour. It can be breaking your  computer or pushing a kid in public or running out of the house if the door is not locked. Your first priority should be to take control of your child. It should be kept in mind that the kid does not plan his actions but happens due to impulsivity or hyperactivity or its a sudden decision he makes without any reason. The child immediately forgets about it so however angry you become forgive him and tell him “no to repeat it”. Ensure that you dont present opportunity to do such things again . It can be locking the door always and keep the key somewhere where he cannot access or  keeping your computer locked up when you are not using it.

Spot their strengths

Every succesful Autistic child owes it to their parents /grad parents for identifying their talents and helping them develop it. They are like ships without the rudder. We need to be their rudder so that they can navigate the “high seas” of life and take the route to reach their destination.

They are in a unique position because of their unwavering focus to things they like, attention to detail, ability to do repetitive tasks, not swayed by emotions . So we need to guide them by encouraging their interest in a area that utilises these skills.

Should I tell the world

One of the dilemmas parents face is “should we tell others about our kids being on the spectrum” . The doubt arises due to society not being sensitivity to needs of special children.  There are countries which show a lot of concern and care for affected kids but there are more countries where it can elicit an unfavourable response. My view is that you should your state your kids condition wherever you feel that it would help him.

For eg: In schools,hospitals,extra curricular classes. The information will definitely help his teachers and students to be more aware of his condition and help him. Most importantly it will them to understand the kid better. We should also inform our immediate family members and friends so that  they can also lend a helping handwhne there is a need. We should take all the help the kid can get.

Conclusion

Iin short, the best way to help your child is provide quality therapy immediately. Learn everything you can about Autism and the knowledge you gain will help you in taking care of your child at home. As the child needs long term support, therapy should be supplemented by home based ativitie. Take him daily for outdoor activities so that he is tired at night and will result in a sound sleep. Your child has some special quality or strength which you need to identify and help him to develop .

 

 

Autism Treatment – Avoid alternative treatments like Homeopathy

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AUTISM TREATMENT - AVOID HOMEOPATHY

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We all know that autism has no cure. There's no magic pill that reduces or reverses it's symptoms. No one can guarantee a time bound treatment plan. What comes to your mind when you think of AUtism Treatment? The only available option is to teach the child , the skills needed to communicate and interact with the world through therapy which can bring about changes in symptoms. Many of the kids need therapy for a major part of their lives.  Autism mostly exists along with other psychiatric conditions like OCD, ADHD etc. Hence parents' need to tackle autism as well as other disorders that coexist with autism. Therefore to suppress symptoms of co-morbid conditions for which there are medicines available, parents should take help of these medicines. These medicines help children to be calm and help parents and trainers to focus on teaching them behavioural skills ,social interaction mechanisms and help them overcome their autistic characteristics. Infact there are tested and proven medicines for ADHD, OCD, irritability,depression and these medicines ensure us immediate benefits with negligible side effects. This ensures that the child is not restricted by these conditions and enables him/her to take full benefits of the autism therapy.                                                         

Effectiveness of Medicines

ADHD is present in majority of Autistic children i have come across. Methyl phenidate   (Brand name: Ritalin or Addwize) is a widely used medicine with high success rate in combating ADHD. It helps child in gaining attention thereby greatly improving his academics and learning skills. Common side effect is low appetite. However the appetite returns to normal once the child is off the medication. If we weigh the benefits vs side effects, what the child stands to gain by medication is huge. I personally know kids who have benefited from methylphenidate and have excelled in academics. I have also come across parents who don't give medicines to their child as they go by the fact  that Autism has no medicines and carry the fear that english medicines for ADHD, OCD can severely affect the child. Parents don't give much focus to conditions like ADHD and hope that it will improve as the child gets older or is benefited by therapy. Long term studies of methylphenidate has proven that its a very safe drug and has been used for decades. Its' painful to see children exhibiting aggressive behaviour or uncontrollable hyperactivity when it could have been controlled by medicine and Autism treatment more effective.

Don't fear medicines...

The fear of english medicines due to the ignorance and limited knowledge leads people to alternative medicines.This is more so in Asian countries and my first hand experience in my country, India shows that percentage of parents choosing alternative medicines for their kids to treat ADHD, Autism is dangerously high. Many of the parents choose Homeopathy. Homeopathy is preferred because its considered free of side effects , which i also agree  because homeoepathy is nothing but placebo.  

I'm posting the extract and download link of a large study done by National health and Medical Research Council of Australian Government. NHMRC clearly states that homeopathy is nothing but placebo.

Other streams of Alternate Medicines are also not far behind in treating Autistic kids. Parents need to be self educated to avoid falling into the trap of Alternate medicines and not take advantage of early intervention which may bring substantial change in Autistic kids. Parents may think that denying English medicines to the kids protect them from dangerous side effects . In fact parents who treat their children with homepathy or other alternate medicines are denying them the small window of opportunity to rewire their brain through therapy for which a calm and peaceful mind devoid of conditions like hyperactivity , OCD etc. We can only hope that awareness about Autism spreads fast and benefits of English Medicines as the only option to treat characteristics of ADHD, OCD etc are recognised by parents of 'kids on ASD spectrum'.

Screen Time – What is recommended by doctors

SCREEN TIME - RECOMMENDED BY DOCTORS

screen-time

The concept of screen time is relatively new. Today the whole world has become one big community due to the internet revolution. This has meant that people increasingly turn to internet devices for many of their daily jobs or activities. Individuals are 'always connected' via smart devices. Biggest impact in our lives have been on how we consume entertainment. This has given us access to on-demand movies, large collection of videos on sites like youtube and social media that's driving your social life. While technology certainly helps us, we parents without knowingly brings our obsession and dependancy on digital devices to our home. Your child grows up seeing the importance of mobile phone, laptop, tablet,TV in their parents lives and they also are attracted towards it or considers it an integral part of their life.

When our children grabs our mobile phones and starts using it,have we ever thought of the dangers they are getting into. Have we ever understood how its going to affect the crucial period of their life when developments in communication, reasoning takes place. Lets see what is the ideal time recommended by doctors and how we can avoid the dangers.  

What is Screen Time?

Screen time is defined as the time spent in front of a screen ( mobile, tablet, Desktop, Laptop, TV, Cinema,Virtual Reality gear, Game console for the purpose of entertainment. This excludes the time spent on high quality programs like educational programs or time spend for a project etc. Today's kids have access to devices mentioned above and hence can easily get addicted to them for cartoons,games, movies etc. Many a times parents use these devices a s a way to keep them occupied on a false assumption that kids are controlled when they are exposed to these.

What is the recommended time​?

​American Academy of Pediatrics discourages media use, except for video-chatting, by children younger than 18 to 24 months. If you want to introduce digital media to children ages 18 to 24 months, make sure it's high quality and avoid solo media use. For children ages 2 to 5, limit screen time to one hour a day of high-quality programming. As your child grows, a one-size-fits-all approach doesn't work as well.

What parents need to know?​

Why screen time is given more importance now? Because we are living ina world where use og gadgets are gaining popularity. The studies show a direct correlation between gadget use and development in children. Excessive screen time:​

    • Bring sleeplessness to the child.
    • Make child obese
    • Children prone to attention issues
    • Child can develop severe anxiety and depression
    •  Behavioral problems
    • ​Loss of social skills
    •  Violence
    •  Less time for outdoor activities

    At an age, when child is developing his social skills,he needs two-way interaction. Whereas wrt Screens,the child is getting a one-way communication or a monologue and not a dialogue. The child is left to listen what is being said and has to suppress his natural instinct to participate in it. If the situation is left to continue over a period of time, child will end up being a passive actor in real life scenarios and wont interfere or participate in real situations. A child learns by listening and observing his surroundings which includes learning emotions by looking at faces, gestures or how to approach a situation.

What Parents should do?

​Its impossible to deny access to TV, mobile phones, tablets to today's kids. They can access these at home, schools or at friends place. The solution is to restrict the total time they spend on entertainment by:

  • Creating a schedule which is explained to the kid so that he is well aware when he can spend time to watch/play on screens.
  • Allow to watch TV or computer under adult supervision.
  • Do not let your child eat while watching TV or using the computer.
  • Decide which programs to watch ahead of time. Turn off the TV when those programs are over.
  • Engage more in family activities involving outdoor activities.
  • As a parent you also need to restrict your screen time.

Its important to ensure that the child watches quality programs ( whether its entertainment or educational) which ensures that child learns something from the program and adds to his/her development.

Tantrums in Autistic kids – How to control the temper tantrums

IS YOUR CHILD AGRESSIVE - HOW TO CALM THEM DOWN

Aggressiveness is an emotion that is often misunderstood. Tantrums are defined as uncontrolled outburst of anger and frustration, typically in a young child.Tantrums in autistic kids are frequent. It can be a very overwhelming experience for both parents and kids. We need to always keep in mind that autistic kids are not like other kids in how they understand and react to situations. If we can realise how and why they react, then we can change our parenting approach. Both the kids and parents will immensely benefit in making their daily lives much more peaceful.  

Tantrums​ in Autistic kids

Unlike a child with no developmental difficulties who interacts with his environment and communicate verbally and non verbally , a child with autism has limitations in communication which can result in   frustration as he is not able to convey his feeling or needs properly. Some of the reasons that could trigger a tantrum are :    

Reasons for Tantrums:​

  • Kids with autism likes everything to be predictable or they like to follow a routine. When situations become unpredictable, it can disturb them.  for eg: There is a kid who goes to park every evening for playing. If on a day, his parents decide to take him along with them for shopping. How will the child react?. His mind may be always thinking about park and would not like his trip to shopping much. There is a great possibility that he may show his resentment in the form of tantrum. Thats the reason we are advised to inform the kids about his scheduled activities to remove the element of surprise or unpredictability in his life.
  • Loud sounds, some places can be disturbing and intimidating to them. For eg: Some kids cant withstand the sound of a drill or may find dark room with flashing lights very scary.They may be unable to communicate their feelings.
  • They may find some tasks very difficult . It can be a kid trying to gather popcorn that fell on the floor or he may find sitting for his homework very taxing. These situations may become very frustrating for the kid and he may break into a tantrum as he may not to able to even say that "I need a break" or " I need help".
  • We all learn the norms and practices in society by observing how people around us interact. We tend to follow what others do. Like sitting quiet in the place of worship or standing in queue. However kids with autism don't learn these norms themselves. Hence they are oblivious to the behaviour expected of them.
  • Many of the kids with autism don't understand often used terms like "what" "why","when","that",  "this","he" etc, which are essential to articulate themselves. When they are short of words they take the easy route to grab attention in the language they know, that is by howling,screaming or rolling on the floor.

 How Parents feel:

The tantrums in public places are embarassing for parents but for the child, only his world exists and the surroundings does not have any bearing on his behaviour. So if your child has tantrum in a movie theatre, just understand that for him at that moment movie theatre do not matter nor does he know that he is causing inconvenience to other movie goers.The tantrums in public places are nightmarish experiences for parents because it can make you feel helpless and confused and you need a lot of physical and mental strength. Its like trying to hold a charging bull. While physically you can stop them for a moment or manage the situation, how can parents effectively counter the tantrums. How can parents confidently tackle it? 

How we can tackle tantrums in kids with Autism

​All we need to tackle the tantrums are observation, perseverance and determination. It is easier said than done! We know that the thinking , communication, cognitive abilities of the kids are different when compared to kids without autism. So, first we need to avoid bench-marking them with other kids. Each kid with autism is different and unique with their talents and and shortcomings. But we can avoid tantrums to an extent by carefully creating favourable environment for the kids. Here are the steps:

​Steps:

Step 1- Observe the child to understand his routine. Understand all his daily activities . Within couple of days you will find that he or she follows a routine in doing activities. The way they carry out activities like playing, or eating are done in the same way every day. If anything is changed a little bit, they may express their resentment. Also look what is his attitude towards each activity. The child may be excited with some activities and disinterested with others. He may carry out some activities like a normal child. Note down the situations that excite him or make him happy and and the ones that make him upset or disinterested. 

​Step 2 - Note the bad moments and see what exactly made it a bad moment. There may be a particular reason why a child hates an activity and throws a tantrum. It may be due to a person, thing, a phobia, sound or smell, effort required .We need to find out the exact reason.

Step 3 - Once we have identified the causes , we can look into how to modify them or change it completely so as to make it interesting and to avoid resistance from the child.​ Some activities may require minor modifications whereas others may require more effort from your side. 

 Step 4 - Now see how the child behaves after modifying the activities that earlier upset him or triggered the tantrum. This also would have given you valuable information on your child's likes and dislikes and will help you to control his tantrums. By reducing activities that he dislikes and increasing the ones that he likes. Lets see how we can use this valuable information.

​How to use the valuable information:

Preempting the tantrum- A child who will insist for chocolates which is restricted as per the diet will throw tantrums if he is taken to a supermarket and given chance to see the array of chocolates . Either he will make tantrum or you will be forced to buy it which is not a good option as chocolates are known to make them aggressive and hyper. The best option would be to avoid shops or places where chocolates are kept in a tempting fashion i.e. avoid the trigger.Avoid the places,people,food,sound,activity that can trigger tantrum.

Intervention just before an episode-   Since you know  your child well, you can read from his expressions when he is agitated and going into a tantrum. He may make specific sounds, actions. There is a small window of opportunity where you can control him, if you do the right thing.What will work varies for each child but the key factor is dont bother about surroundings or people. You need to concentrate on it and focus only on averting the tantrum. For eg: If a child cannot stand 'noise of a drill and while you shop, if there is a sudden noise of drill what would you do. Will you 'try to speed up the shopping and hope that your child don't take notice of it' as you are not comfortable explaining the child's condition to the shopkeeper or 'rather ask shopkeeper to shut it down till you exit the shop'. As you know very well that the sound of drill can trigger your child, you need to avert the trigger immediately. 

Intervention during an episode-  If the episode of tantrum happens at home, you have the option of letting the child vent his frustration as the child may cool down soon. But if its in a public place, you may need to assess the environment and probably make a quick exit or divert his attention to a thing he likes.(Its a good idea to carry couple of things that your child loves with you to be used in such situations). Again what works varies with each child.  

​There are other techniques to calm your kid like gentle massage, giving a tight hug, teaching the kid to signal to you that he needs help or he is not interested.Also medicines for hyperactivity and aggression can be given if its found to be effective for the child. This will hep the child to be more composed and focus on other activities.    

It may not be possible to avoid tantrums but definitely we can reduce it and make their life better by creating a friendly environment and help them to control frustration. 

Detect Autism – Know the symptoms and detect it early

KNOW THE SYMPTOMS AND DETECT AUTISM EARLY

Autism – Still a mystery

How do we detect Autism when we do not fully know the mysteries behind autism There are lot of researches being done in the world and there are scores of kids and adults benefiting from the new studies. But all the leading psychiatrists and psychologists have been unanimously advocating early detection of Autism as the your best chance of effectively overcoming autism’s influence on ones life.

Researchers are developing new ways to detect Autism and now its been recognised that children exhibit symptoms of Autism from an very early age and a trained medical practitioner can diagnose Autism from as early as 18 months. As a parent, one should be aware of the signs to be able to detect them in one’s child so as to make necessary early interventions.

What is ASD​

Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) refer to a group of developmental disorders that appears in the first 3 years of life and includes Autistic Disorder (i.e., autism), Asperger Disorder, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD). Children with an ASD diagnosis show difficulties in three areas: i) language and communication, ii) socialization and restricted interests and/or repetitive behaviors. Many different symptoms can manifest within each of these areas. Severity of Autism may range from mild to medium to severe. Recommended reading What is ASD

Key to Detection​

The key to detecting autism lies in monitoring the child closely. The parent should watch whether the child is hitting the developmental milestones as a normal child would. It should be noted that while every child grows at his or her pace, and a delay in development does not necessitate autism or any other developmental disorder, parents should not wait for the child to outgrow the problem.

If the child has delay in hitting the milestone, parents should meet their pediatrician and discuss the concerns. The pediatrician is trained to conduct an initial screening and can refer to a specialist psychiatrist if further assessment is required. A child psychiatrist can easily detect autism and would be in a better position to guide you for future treatment.

Regression of any kind is a serious autism warning sign

Some children with autism spectrum disorder start to develop communication skills and then regress, usually between 12 and 24 months. For example, a child who was communicating with words such as “mommy” or “up” may stop using language entirely, or a child may stop playing social games he or she used to enjoy such as peek-a-boo, patty cake, or waving “bye-bye.” Any loss of speech, babbling, gestures, or social skills should be taken very seriously, as regression is a major red flag for autism.

Signs and symptoms

Younger kids :

  • Does not make eyecontact with mother when feeding
  • Never smile back at you
  • Does not respond to familiar sound
  • Do not make noises to get your attention
  • Do not respond to cuddling or reach out to be picked up

Older Kids Above 2 years :

  • Appears disinterested or unaware of other people or what’s going on around them
  • Doesn’t participate in games with children of their age.
  • Has trouble understanding feelings or talking about them
  • Doesn’t seem to hear when others talk to them or hear when they are called by name.
  • Speaks in an abnormal tone of voice, or with an odd rhythm or pitch (e.g. ends every sentence as if asking a question)
  • Repeats the same words or phrases over and over, often without communicative intent
  • Responds to a question by repeating it, rather than answering it
  • Has difficulty communicating needs or desires
  • Doesn’t understand simple directions, statements, or questions
  • Avoids eye contact
  • Reacts unusually to sights, smells, textures, and sounds. May be especially sensitive to loud noises. Can also be unresponsive to people entering/leaving, as well as efforts by others to attract the child’s attention.
  • Abnormal posture, clumsiness, or eccentric ways of moving (e.g., walking exclusively on tiptoe)
  • Follows a rigid routine (e.g., insists on taking a specific route to school)
  • Has difficulty adapting to any changes in schedule or environment (e.g., throws a tantrum if the furniture is rearranged or bedtime is at a different time than usual)
  • Unusual attachments to toys or strange objects such as keys, light switches, or rubber bands. Obsessively lines things up or arranges them in a certain order.
  • Preoccupation with a narrow topic of interest, often involving numbers or symbols (e.g., playing with only numbers, watching a rhyme repeatedly)
  • Spends long periods watching moving objects such as a ceiling fan, or focusing on one specific part of an object such as the wheels of a toy car
  • Repeats the same actions or movements over and over againlike
    • Flapping of hands
    • Rocking back and forth
    • Spinning in a circle
    • Finger flicking
    • Head banging
    • Moving fingers in front of the eyes
    • Snapping fingers
    • Lining up toys
    • Flicking light switches on and off
    • Repeating words or noises

    Developmental red flags

    The following delays warrant an immediate evaluation by your child’s pediatrician:

    •  By 6 months: No big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions
    • By 9 months: No back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles, or other facial expressions
    • By 12 months: Lack of response to name
    • ​By 12 months: No babbling or “baby talk”
    • ​By 12 months: No back-and-forth gestures, such as pointing, showing, reaching, or waving
    • By 16 months: No spoken words
    • By 24 months: No meaningful two-word phrases that don’t involve imitating or repeating

    The best way for parents to detect autism would be to watch closely the childs milestones and consult the paedtrician if you find anything that need to be discussed.

What is Autism – It’s meaning and Causes

AUTISM - ITS MEANING AND CAUSES

what-is-autism-meaning-causes

Meaning of ASD

What is Autism? Before we learn of Autism, we need to understand 'Autism spectrum disorder' or ASD. ASD is a group of developmental disorders that impacts the nervous system and affects the overall cognitive, emotional, social and physical health of the affected individual. Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) appear in the first 3 years of life and includes Autistic Disorder (i.e., autism), Asperger Disorder, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD). Children with an ASD diagnosis show difficulties in three areas. i) language and communication, ii) socialization and restricted interests and/or repetitive behaviors. Many different symptoms can manifest within each of these areas.                                   Autism is the most common condition in Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Autism is characterized by impaired social interaction, problems with verbal and nonverbal communication, and unusual, repetitive, or severely limited activities and interests. Severity of Autism may range from mild to medium to severe.

​How are they different?

There is often nothing about how people with Autism that sets them apart from other people. They may communicate, interact, behave, and learn in ways that are different from most other people. The learning, thinking, and problem-solving abilities of people with Autism can range from gifted to severely challenged. Some people with Autism need a lot of help in their daily lives; others need less.

Autism and it's Causes?​

Initially, autism was thought to be an early form of schizophrenia, which led to the belief that its onset could be caused by negative experience or bad parenting. Its been proved that this is not the case. Current research will argue that autism causes are generally a combination of two factors. A genetic factor, which is transmitted through various DNA types, as well as factors of an environmental nature. This has not been scientifically proven of course, but new studies show that these two factors could be prime autism causes. 

Genetics and Autism​

The more likely theory is that autism could be a result of a genetic disorder. Families where autism is present are more often prone to having children with autistic tendencies. Also there is a risk that when there is an autistic child in your family, the chances of another child with autism symptoms being born is greatly increased. Evidence shows that certain food products may contribute to the causing of autism. These products will include gluten which is wheat and also certain dairy products. The evidence is unfortunately not yet strong enough to support the theory of certain researches who feel that certain food items can cause autism at the early stages of children development. The most believable cause of autism can probably be that it is something involving a genetic disorder. Treating this disorder with the necessary attention will only ensure that the person with autism be as comfortable as possible and also be able to gradually respond to certain programs of treatment.

​What is the most important step in tackling ASD

​To overcome Autism, first and most important thing all parents must do is to screen their children for Autism if they notice any developmental delay in their child. While Autism is considered as a life-long condition, we can minimise the difficulties caused by the condition by finding it as early as 18-24 months which can result in early intervention that greatly benefits the child. Autistic people know that their condition cannot be classified as a disease but is rather a state which they need to learn to work around. All the treatments or therapies are designed to teach the autistic community ways to iintegrte into normal life.

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