Autism,also known as pervasive development disorder is a development disease in kids.About 24.8 million children are autistic globally,at present.Among 1000 children,1 or 2 child is found Autistic.Mostly,this autism is found in male child than the female ones.It is a Neuro developmental disorder,whose symptoms start from the age of 6 months,and till 2-3 yrs,its symptoms are well established in the child and can be easily identified.
Autism comes under Neurodevelopmental disorder category which is a condition where there is improper growth of mental condition.It is also known as sociocommunicative disorder where a child is not able to interact socially and communicate with others.
SYMPTOMS OF AUTISM
Symptoms of autism include basically 3 major problems or can be illustrated in 3 categories.But before going through that,I must let you know one thing.The parents reading these symptoms should not compare any one or two symptoms of autism with there child,as some of such symptoms are very much normal in normal children also.For example-Some children start speaking late naturally,but it can’t be categorized as autism.There are many other reasons for the delayed development of child,hence seeing one or two following symptoms,don’t correlate it with your child.
Symptoms of autism include 3 categories-
1)Language-It includes the symptoms where the child suffers the problem related to speech or language.Verbally or non verbally he finds it difficult to interact with others which means the child will have problem in communicating with others by speech or through by his gestures.
Generally,a 1 year old child starts speaking words like “mummy”,”papa” and starts combining words and speaks sentences from 2-3 years .But a child suffering from autism will have problem in saying single words like mummy,papa and till he acquires the age of 2 or 3 year,he will have difficulty in speaking and communicating with others.Rather,if a single word gets stuck to his mind,he will constantly repeat that single word only.
There can be a delayed language or absent language.Also,there can be a case where your child can speak properly but speaks irrelevant things.He will only say his things and not listen to you.Communication is basically established where both the persons speak and listen,but here an autistic child only speaks his things,so a proper communication cannot be established.
The problem in early detection of autism arises when sometimes signs of autism is referred as speech delay by parents. It is a confusion where parents think that their child is not speaking as he may have speech delay,which is very much normal.Apart from this,there are many other signs to identify autism.
Delay in speech or no speech is an important sign of autism.Non verbal communication should be there.If not,it can be autism.Like an autistic child is unable to say good bye by waving his hands non verbally or point out things he needs.
2)Social relationship-Here the child is unable to establish relationship at social level.Also,such child doesn’t knows how to express his things facially as he is not able to do eye to eye contact with you while talking,giving or taking something,so he doesn’t knows how to express his feelings facially.An autistic child lacks in doing eye contact which is a strong sign of autism.Eye contact is induced in a child from 6 months of age.But if your child is of 12-15 months old,and is unable to make eye contact and do non verbal or verbal communication with you,it may be due to autism.
An autistic child does not gets engaged with other children.He finds it difficult to make friends,mix up socially or connect socially.Or the child only gets engaged for getting some of his desired things like chocolates or a toy etc.Only for his interested specific things he will try to interact socially.
Generally,a normal child points out things he needs with his finger,but an autistic child lacks this feature.He is not able to point out things and ask for it.
3)Stereotypical or repetitive behavior-Child here repeats certain actions or gestures constantly.This is also known as compulsive behavior where a child repeats certain actions.A normal child does different things in different ways daily.But a child suffering from autism,will do a particular action several times,repetitively.For eg-He will continuously do hand flapping or hand rolling actions. Repeated behavior or a particular actions may indicate that your child might be suffering from autism.
Due to less attention or no attention,an autistic child gives no reply and pays no attention to your talks.
Also,he will not understand emotions of his parents like when you scold him,he does not reacts to it.Emotional reciprocity is missing in autistic child,that means he is unable to feel others emotions.
A child suffering from autism will see his hands,his legs,his whole body in a specific way.He will a kind of play with his hands,be engaged with them alone.
His interest will be limited,like if he loves to watch TV,he will watch TV only the whole day.If he likes to play with a particular toy,he will play with that only.He will be least interested in other things around him and attached to some particular things.He will be more comfortable and mostly love to be alone,play alone.He will be lost in his own world,indulged with himself only and will not response to anyone.This can be a strong indication of autism.
REASONS FOR AUTISM
GENETIC CASE-One of the reason for autism in child could be genetic factor,where there can be a genetic history related to autism in paternal or maternal side of child’s parents.
ENVIRONMENTAL FACTOR-During pregnancy,either due to rubella viral infection or exposure to toxins like alcohol,air pollution or any other toxic chemicals may increase the chances of delivering a autistic child.
If diagnosed early,the communication level of child can be increased and the language problem can be treated by speech therapy.Compulsive behavior can be reduced through medicines.The diagnosis or infact an early diagnosis is very much important as a timely diagnosis is helpful for better life of child.The problems due to autism in further life of child can be reduced and your child’s communication and social interaction can be increased.
Most of the time,autism is diagnosed through monitoring its signs and symptoms properly.As some 6 month old child start showing the sign of autism,the thing only is to recognize and correlate the signs and symptoms of autism timely.
In some cases it is seen that till 1 or 1½ years ,an autistic child seems to be normal like other children,but by the time goes signs of autism can be easily identified.Also,in some cases,signs of autism can be seen after 6 months also.So,there is variation from patient to patient,where some show the sign early or after some time.
By appearance also,an autistic child till 1 year looks normal but after sometime he can be differentiated by his difficulty in communication with others.
In some cases,after approximately 12-15 months,his social and communication skills deterioration start.The only thing is to monitor the gestures and activities.Autistic child can be differentiated from the normal child by the way he communicates with other,his speech,interaction,how he leans things and behave.
Pediatrician or neurodevelopmental specialist must be considered if you find your child with most of the similar symptoms.Through proper therapies and treatment,level of autism can be decreased.
RED FLAGS OR EARLY SIGNS OF AUTISM
Apart from communication and social problems,an autistic child is unable to differentiate between his parents and strangers.A normal child after 5-6 months,easily starts recognizing his parents and differentiate between his parents and strangers.But an autistic child treats his parents and strangers in the same manner.
A normal,15-18th month old child clearly starts responding to his name and reacts to it. An autistic child gives no or less response to his name.This can be a main sign of autism to be recognized.
There can be a purposeless movements in an autistic child,where it is very much difficult for the parents to make their child sit at one place or make him stand still for a while.Such a child is not able to concentrate in one thing and unnecessarily moves here and there.
There can be mild as well as strong signs of Autism.So it is not necessary to consider only strong signs as symptoms of autism.Mild signs also indicate the same and needs timely treatment.
Autistic kids are very different from other children.In fact,few autistic kids have special abilities and exceptional memory.
Lastly,I would just request one thing,that by just correlating or comparing 1 or 2 signs,don’t declare your child an autistic one.Every child has different features with different developmental growth.There is variation in every child’s growth.This article is just to make you aware about early interventions of autism and understand it so that the needy one can be treated well.