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Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a condition that can make social interaction and communication complicated. The term spectrum means signs and symptoms which vary from one child to another and extend from mild to severe. It includes Asperger syndrome, autism disorder, and pervasive development disorder.
Symptoms of Autistic Spectrum Disorders
The main symptom of Autistic Spectrum Disorders is facing problems while socially interacting and repeating behaviors. These problems generally prevent your child from functioning well in social settings like school. It is noticed that the signs and symptoms are generally recognized during the early developmental period, that is, by three years.
In another language, you can understand that your child will not quickly learn the skills or can reach your expected milestones, or they may reach but, after a while, lose all the skills that were gained.
In some cases, the symptoms are noticed at a later stage when the children need to have interacted with other children of similar age groups at school.
Signs in children depending on the kind of ASD –
Autistic Spectrum Disorders will not interact with others; the very first sign is your child will not respond to their name by 12 months. Autistic Spectrum Disorder may avoid playing games with the basic playable stuff or may not pretend games like dressing up.
They will also avoid making eye contact or playing with other children. They will also have trouble interpreting body language, facial expressions, or gestures.
Speech and language skills differ from children of their age; in this situation, your child may start speaking later or early than others of their age. Their language speech can differ from no speech to highly developed speech. Your child often uses powerful vocabulary words or complex statements but speaks in robotic or halting tones.
They may repeat the words or phrases on a repeated basis over and over. They will not know how to hold a conversation. For example, the child will get to another point or topic during conversation or not respond.
Behavior is different from children of their age; your child will quickly get upset by little changes in their routine. Sometimes they may have repeated motions, like body rocking, hand flapping, or spinning in circles. They may have tantrums. In some situations, it is found that the children start to hurt or harm themselves.
They will always focus on a specific part of an object. She or he will heavily focus on particular topics and show little or no interest in others. They may also have problems tolerating sound, light, textures, or tastes.
ASD has no single known cause. The problem behind this is not renowned, and because symptoms and severity vary, there are probably many causes. However, both genetics and environmental factors play a role.
Genetics; So many different genes appear to be involved in Autistic Spectrum Disorders. It can be associated with a genetic disorder like Rett syndrome or Fragile X syndrome for some children. For other children, mutations may increase the risk of ASD.
However, other genes affect the development of the brain or the way that brain cells communicate or may determine the severity of symptoms. Some of the gene mutations are inherited, while others spontaneously occur.
Environmental factors; according to the researchers, they are currently exploring factors like medications, viral infections, complications during pregnancy, or air pollutants that trigger ASD.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Get in touch with any good child healthcare provider or inform them if your child has a family history of ASD. In this situation, first, they will be closely diagnosed with the problem to confirm other conditions that look like ASD or occur with it. Some of the common examples have ADHD, depression, and anxiety. In case the test rule out other causes, then the following will help to diagnose Autistic Spectrum Disorders
Screening is part of a well-child visit, and this usually happens at 18 to 24 months. In this situation, the child specialist may recommend more screening if your child is at higher risk of ASD. Examples of ASD include; having a sister or brother with ASD or showing signs That make Autistic Spectrum Disorders likely.
This part also provides tests to check your child’s ability during problems and how they will solve them. Your child’s vision, coordination, and hearing will be reviewed. Also, their ability to tolerate light, smells, sounds, tastes, and texture will be examined.
The healthcare will ask if she or he has reached developmental milestones. These are the following examples of possible missed milestones;
By 12 months: the child will not respond to their name.
By 14 months: Your children will not seem interested in people or things. They will not point at people or objects.
By 18 months: the child will not show interest in people around them. They will start to spend a lot of time alone and avoid making eye contact. They may repeat the words over and over or sometimes will not even speak, or if they answer any question, the answer will be on another subject.
The healthcare provider can ask you or your child’s teacher about their behavior at school or home. Also, they can watch their response while playing or talking.
The child specialist will talk to you about your child’s support levels. This is based on your child’s social skills, challenges, repeated behaviors, and communication. The level of Autistic Spectrum Disorders ranges from 1 to 3, and level 3 needs the most support.
- Early intervention may help your child learn and keep new skills; this begins before your child is three years old. The intervention must be changed often during your child’s life to help fit his or her needs. The providers may work with you and everyone who takes care of your child. This will help everyone to know how to support their child.
- Therapy may be recommended; the aim of treatment is to help your child feel supported and confident. Support includes behavior, social skill, or physical therapy. It will help your child tolerate certain sounds and smells more easily. Your therapist may help your child with sleep problems ( insomnia). This will also help your child make a relaxing bedtime routine and find ways to make their room comfortable.
- Medicines may be needed or changed: sometimes, the medication will be given to help decrease anxiety, anger, or repeated behaviors. Some children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders have seizures. Your child needs medicine to control or prevent attacks. Medications like melatonin will be recommended to help your child deal with sleep problems. Examples include stimulant medicine and seizure medicines. In need of help, your child’s healthcare provider can change your child’s current drug schedule if their sleep is affected.
Living with Autistic Spectrum Disorders
Having ASD feels like sensory overload. In this, you might feel confident at once, or the next, you will struggle to leave the house because you are scared or anxious.
It is not an official medical term. A person exhibits no intellectual disability but will have deficits in emotional recognition, communication, expression, and social interactions.
Autism symptoms in adults
Typical signs in adults include;
- Difficulty in conversation,
- Discomfort with eye contact,
- Difficulty in making or maintaining close friends,
- The problem in understanding idioms and sarcasm,
- Trouble in reading the emotions of others,
- Social anxiety.
It causes behaviors that inhibit the ability to perform daily life activities. The most common symptoms are aggression, sleep problems, behavior, self-injury, and stereotypes.
Different types of ASD
There are majorly five types of Autistic Spectrum Disorders which include Asperger’s Syndrome, Rett syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, Kanner’s Syndrome, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS)
Asperger’s Syndrome; This term was quite common before 2013, but medical professionals no longer use it. After some time, this term has been reclassified as level 1 ASD by the DSM-5 diagnostic manual. Still, this term is used informally, more commonly and frequently than level 1 spectrum disorder.
Children dealing with level 1 ASD have above-average Intelligence and strong verbal skills, but they experience challenges with social communication. In general, the child dealing with this problem displays the following symptoms;
Inflexible with thoughts or behaviors.
- Executive functioning problems.
- Challenges in switching between different activities.
- Difficulty while interacting with peers at home or school.
- Flat monotone speech is the inability to express feelings in speech or change pitch to fit their immediate environment.
Rett syndrome; is a rare neurodevelopmental disorder in infancy. It mainly affects girls but is sometimes diagnosed in boys.
- Loss of normal movement and coordination.
- Communication and speech challenges.
- Breathing difficulties.
CDD ( Childhood Disintegrative Disorder) is Heller’s Syndrome or disintegrative psychosis. It is a neurodevelopmental disorder. It primarily affects the boys out of ten; nine boys and one girl will suffer.
Kanner’s Syndrome; is a classic autistic disorder, and those suffering children will appear alert, attractive, and intelligent with a lack of emotional attachments, uncontrolled speech, obsession with handling objects, etc.
PDD-NOS; is a mild kind of Autistic Spectrum disorder that presents a range of symptoms. The most common symptoms are challenges in language and social development. It is sometimes called subthreshold autism.