Autism is a term used to describe a disabling and lifelong medical condition. This serious condition can have devastating effects on both patients and their families. It usually starts during childhood and many children become autistic adults. Boys are more likely to suffer from autism than girls and prevalence figures have been on the rise over the years.
Currently, there are no medical tests designed to diagnose autism. Psychologists and physicians rely on behavioral evaluations specific to the condition for diagnosis. Autistic children usually exhibit unusual behaviors like failure to respond to their names or not making eye contact during interactions. Such behaviors are often identified by parents and further evaluation by psychologists, psychiatrists or developmental pediatricians is necessary to diagnose autism.
It is important for caregivers to observe their children closely and follow their instincts when they notice unusual behaviors. This ensures timely diagnosis and treatment. Many children are diagnosed before the age of 3 but some can be diagnosed later when they display emotional, learning or social difficulties.
Autistic children usually have communication difficulties, social-interaction challenges, and tend to engage in repetitive actions. Symptoms differ depending on the individual. Some children also have severe forms of the disorder.
An autistic child will find it difficult to engage in simple human interactions. Some have challenges with social games and spend most of their time playing alone. They can even fail to respond to affection or anger in usual ways.
Autistic children can also delay in speech developments and gesture use. But there are some who lose communicative behaviors develop earlier.
Some of the repetitive behaviors that are common among autistic children include repeating phrases, jumping, hand flapping, twirling and rocking. They can also demand intense consistency and can get angry when their sense of order is disrupted.
Every autistic adult or child is different and this means intervention plans have to be specifically designed to address their unique needs. Treatment can include medication or behavioral intervention. Both approaches can also be applied. Many autistic persons have other medical conditions that need to be addressed as well to enhance their way of life. Some of these conditions include seizures, gastrointestinal distress, and sleep disturbance.
Early intervention is crucial for autistic children. The treatment usually involves the whole family and different health professionals. Parents need to learn how to care for autistic children to help them live a fulfilling life with the condition.
Interventions usually change as a child grows because their needs change. School going children require special teaching approaches. On the other hand, adolescents need skills to help them come with their physical and psychological changes as they deal with the condition.
An autistic person can live a fulfilling and independent life with the right support. They can also work and develop relationships with the people around them. It disabling but medical interventions have improved significantly over the years to make it easier for people to manage autism. The most important thing is to get help as soon as you notice the symptoms.
National Autism Association