Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder ( ASD ) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects the child's ability to communicate, social interaction, and behavior. ASD is not only includes autism, but also includes Asperger's syndrome, Heller's syndrome, and pervasive developmental disorder ( PPD-NOS ). It is important to be aware of the symptoms as early as possible, because ASD includes conditions that can not be cured. However, there are different types of treatment and intensive treatment steps that can help autistic people adjust to their daily lives, and reach their full potential.
Symptoms and Diagnosis Autism
In general, symptoms of autism are detected in early child development before reaching three years. The symptoms and severity of autism also tend to vary with each person. However, these symptoms can be grouped into two main categories.
The first category is a disorder of social interaction and communication. These symptoms may include sensitivity to the social environment and impaired use of verbal and non-verbal language.
While the second category includes a mindset, interests, and behavior that is limited and repetitive. Examples of repetitive movement, such as tapping or squeezing hands, and feel annoyed when the routine is disrupted.
People with autism also tend to have problems with learning and other psychiatric conditions, such as hyperactive disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) , anxiety disorders, or depression .
Call your doctor if you are aware of any symptoms of autism or developmental disorders in yourself or your child. Early treatment should be done to improve the effectiveness of this condition.
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Autism Causes And Myths
There are a number of factors, such as genetic and environmental influences, which are thought to cause this disorder. However, the exact cause of autism has not been known to date. In certain cases, autism may also be triggered by certain diseases.
In addition, there are some other things that are also considered as triggers autism. However, these assumptions and assumptions have been shown to be unrelated to autism based on various medical studies. A number of these myths include:
- Thiomersal compounds containing mercury (used as preservatives for some vaccines).
- Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccines . This vaccine was once suspected as a cause of autism so many parents are reluctant to give it to their child.
- Diet, such as eating gluten or dairy products.
- Child care pattern.
The condition of autism is sometimes only detected until adult. Adult diagnosis process can help the sufferer and family to understand autism and decide what kind of help is needed.
Some adults with autism find it difficult to find work because of the demands and social changes in the job. A special autism service center can help them to find a job that suits their abilities.
Symptoms Of Autism
The appearance of symptoms and severity of each person with autism varies greatly. The severity of autism is generally determined by the communication and repetitive behaviors experienced by the sufferer and how these disorders affect his ability to function in society.
In general, symptoms of autism are detected in early child development before reaching three years. Here are some common symptoms that may help you to be more vigilant.
Symptoms of Interaction and Social Communication
- Slow speech development or completely speechless.
- Never express emotions or be sensitive to other people's feelings.
- Unresponsive when his name is called, despite his normal hearing ability.
- Do not want to be spoiled or cuddle with parents and relatives.
- Tend to avoid eye contact.
- Rarely uses body language.
- Rarely show expression while communicating.
- Can not start a conversation, continue a chat, or just talk when asking for something.
- Unusual tone of speech, for example flat like a robot.
- Often repeat words and phrases, but do not understand their usage appropriately.
- Tends to appear not to understand simple questions or hints.
- Not understanding common social interactions, such as how to say hello.
- Have abnormalities in movement patterns, for example always on tiptoe.
- Prefer familiar and angry routines if there are changes.
- Can not be silent.
- Perform repetitive movements, such as waving your hands or swinging your body forward and back.
- How to play repetitive and unimaginative, such as arranging blocks based on size or color rather than building something different.
- Just love certain foods, such as choosing foods based on texture or color.
- Very focused on a particular topic or activity with excessive focus intensity.
- It tends to be sensitive to light, touch, or sound, but does not respond to pain.
Other Disorders and Autism
People with autism generally also have symptoms or effects of other disorders, such as hyperactivity ( ADHD ), epilepsy , Tourette syndrome, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) , depression , generalized anxiety disorder, learning disorders, sensory disorders, as well as bipolar disorder.
Each of these disorders may require separate treatment, such as medication or cognitive behavioral therapy.
If you are concerned about your child's development, make sure you consult a doctor. If your doctor suspects symptoms of autism, you will usually be referred to a doctor or specialist for further diagnosis such as a psychologist, child neurologist, psychiatrist, pediatrician, and speech therapist.
Autism is generally diagnosed based on the symptoms indicated by the child. This is done because there is no specific examination step to accurately diagnose autism. Some types of checks that might be recommended are as follows:
- Examination of the physical condition as well as patient and family health history . This step serves to remove the possibility of other diseases.
- Monitoring ability development . The child will usually be asked to follow a number of activities so that his abilities and activities can be observed and examined specifically. This focused examination includes the ability to speak, behavior, mindset of children, and interaction with others.
Treatment Of Autism
Autism includes abnormalities that can not be cured. However, many educational support services as well as special behavioral therapies can improve the ability of people with autism. Important aspects of child development that should be the focus are the ability to communicate, interact, cognitively, and academically.
Handling autism aims to develop the ability of the people as much as possible so that they can live everyday life. Some commonly recommended handling steps are:
- Behavioral therapy and communication . This is done so that people with autism more easily adapt. Examples of therapy are cognitive behavioral therapy or C ognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) .
- Family therapy for parents or relatives to learn how to interact with autism.
- Provision of drugs . Although it can not cure autism, drugs may be given to control certain symptoms. For example, antidepressants to control anxiety disorders, selective serotonin-releasing inhibitors (SSRIs) to deal with depression, melatonin to overcome sleep disorders, or anti-psychotic medications to deal with aggressive and harmful behaviors.
- Tackling psychology . This treatment is recommended if people with autism also have other psychiatric problems, such as anxiety disorders.
Teaching and Training For Parents
The role of parents for children with autism is very important. The active participation of parents will support and help improve the ability of the child. Helping your child to communicate can also reduce anxiety and improve his behavior, because communication is a special obstacle for children with autism. Tips that might be useful include:
- Using simple words.
- Always mention the child's name when talking to her.
- Take advantage of body language to clarify your point.
- Talk slowly and clearly.
- Give your child time to process your words.
- Do not talk when you are noisy around you.
There are a number of alternative treatment methods that are considered to overcome autism, but, their effectiveness has not been proven and potentially harmful. Alternative treatment methods should be avoided:
- A special diet, such as gluten-free foods.
- Chelation therapy, namely the use of drugs or certain substances to remove metal (especially mercury) from the body.
- Hyperbaric oxygen therapy that uses oxygen in a high-pressure air chamber.
- Neurofeedback therapy, in which the patient will see his brain waves through the monitor and be taught how to change it.