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Autism Spectrum Disorder: Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment and Prevention

Autism spectrum disorders are disorders related to brain development that affect how a person perceives and communicates with others. This causes problems with social interaction and communication. This post explains Autism Spectrum Disorder: symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and prevention

Disorders also include restricted and repetitive patterns of behaviour. The term “spectrum” in autism spectrum disorders refers to a range of symptoms and severity.

Autism spectrum disorders include disorders that were previously considered separate – autism, Asperger’s syndrome, childhood disintegration disorder, and an unspecified form of pervasive developmental disorder.

Some people use the term “Asperger’s syndrome”, which is often considered the milder end of the autism spectrum disorder.

Autism spectrum disorders begin in early childhood and eventually cause problems with social functioning, such as social interactions, school, and work.

Signs and symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder

In children, signs of autism usually appear at the age of one year. Some children seem to develop normally for the first year and then go through an 18-24 month remission when symptoms of autism appear.

Some children show early signs of autism spectrum disorder, such as a

  • lack of eye contact,
  • an inability to respond to their own words,
  • lack of interest in caregivers.

Other children may develop normally in the first months or years of life, but suddenly become withdrawn, aggressive or lose the language skills they have learned.

Symptoms usually appear at the age of two. Each child with autism may have unique patterns of behaviour and degrees of severity, ranging from low functioning to high functioning.

Some children with autism spectrum disorders have learning disabilities, while others have symptoms of abnormal intelligence.

Other children with these disorders have normal or high IQs – they learn quickly, but they have trouble communicating, applying what they know to everyday life, and adapting to social situations.

Because each child has a unique combination of symptoms, it can sometimes be difficult to determine their severity. This usually depends on the level of disability and how it affects work ability.

Below are some common symptoms that people with autism spectrum disorder experience.

Social communication and interaction

Children or adults suffering from spectral disorders of autism may face social interactions and communication skills, including these signs:

  • they don’t answer or sometimes seem to hear your voice
  • Prefer to play and explore their world alone.
  • Lack of facial expressions
  • Ability to speak and delay dialogue or not to lose a word or phrase
  • Repeat words or term completely but do not understand how to use them
  • Talk with an abnormal tone or rhythm. You can use sound or robot sound
  • They seem not to understand simple questions or explanations
  • They seem not to know the feelings of others
  • Negative, positive, or annoying social interactions
  • They usually face identity difficulties

 

Behavioural Patterns

Children or adults with autism spectrum disorders may have limited and repeated behaviour, interests, or activity patterns, including these features:

  • Perform frequent exercises such as rocking, spinning, or hand -locking
  • Engage in activities that may cause “self -harm” such as biting or frequent head- banging
  • Develop certain procedures or rituals and feel uncomfortable at the slightest change
  • They have problems with coordination and display odd movements such as tip toeing or strange body movements.
  • They get fascinated by objects such as the rotating wheels of the game car, but they do not understand the overall function of the object.
  • High sensitivity to mild light, sound or touch but probably does not care about pain
  • Have identified food preferences such as accepting or refusing certain kinds of foods.

With their maturity, some children with autism spectrum disorders are more interested in other children and have less behaviour discomfort.

Some people often suffer from less serious problems, and they can eventually live a normal life. However, others may still struggle with language or social skills, and adolescence can lead to more serious behavioural and emotional problems.

 

Diagnosis: When should you go to the doctor?

Babies develop at their own pace and don’t follow the specific schedule found in most parenting books. However, children with autism spectrum disorders often show some signs of developmental delay before the age of two.

If you have concerns about your child’s development or suspect that your child may have an autism spectrum disorder, discuss your concerns with your doctor.

Symptoms associated with the disease may also be associated with other developmental disorders. Symptoms of autism spectrum disorders usually appear early in development when language skills and social interaction are significantly delayed.

Your child is likely autistic if he shows any of these symptoms below:

  • Does not respond with a smile or happy facial expression after 6 months
  • Does not imitate voice or facial expressions at 9 months
  • Up to 12 months without chattering or babbling
  • After 14 months, no movements such as pointing or waving
  • Not saying a word at 16 months
  • Does not play “pretend” for 18 months
  • Unable to say “two-word” sentences by 24 months
  • lacks language or social skills at any age

 

Causes of Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism spectrum disorders have no known cause. However, due to the complexity of the disease and the variety and severity of symptoms, many factors have been linked to autism such as Genetics and environmental factors.

  • Genetics. Many different genes appear to play a role in autism spectrum disorders. In some children, autism spectrum disorders may be associated with genetic disorders such as Rett syndrome or Fragile X syndrome. In other children, genetic changes (mutations) can increase the risk of developing autism spectrum disorders.

There are other genes that affect brain development or brain cell communication or may determine the severity of symptoms. Some genetic mutations appear to be inherited, while others appear to occur spontaneously.

  • Environmental factor. Researchers are now investigating whether factors such as viral infections, medications, complications during pregnancy or air pollutants play a role in causing autism spectrum disorders.

 

Risk factors

Autism spectrum disorders are on the rise among children. It is not clear whether this is due to better testing and reporting, an actual increase in the number of cases, or both.

Autism spectrum disorders affect children of all races and ethnicities, but certain factors increase a child’s risk. These may include:

  • The gender of your child. Boys are about four times more likely to develop an autism spectrum disorder than girls.
  • Family history. Families with a child with an autism spectrum disorder have a higher risk of having another child with an autism spectrum disorder. It is also not uncommon for parents or relatives of children with autism to have milder problems with social or communication skills, or to engage in certain behaviours characteristic of the disorder.
  • Other diseases. Children with certain medical conditions have a higher than normal risk of developing autism spectrum disorders or autism-like symptoms. An example is fragile X syndrome, a genetic disorder that causes intellectual problems. Tuber sclerosis complex, a disease in which benign tumours develop in the brain; Rett syndrome, a genetic disorder that occurs almost exclusively in girls, causing slow head growth, intellectual disability, and loss of meaningful use of the hands.
  • Children born very prematurely. Babies born before 26 weeks of pregnancy may be more likely to develop autism spectrum disorders.
  • Age of parents. There may be a link between children born to older parents and autism spectrum disorders, but more research is needed to prove the link.

 

Complications

Problems with social interaction, communication and behaviour can be caused by:

  • School problems and successful learning
  • Employment matters
  • Inability to live independently
  • social distance
  • family stress
  • Violence and bullying

                                                    Related: Mental Health Myths and facts you should know

Treatment and Prevention

There is no cure for autism spectrum disorder, but there are treatment options. Early diagnosis and intervention are very helpful and can improve behaviour, skills, and language development. However, interventions can be useful at any age. Although children do not usually grow up with autism.

 

It should also be noted that autism cannot be prevented. One of the biggest debates about autism spectrum disorders concerns whether there is a link between autism and childhood vaccinations.

Despite extensive research, there is no reliable result linking autism spectrum disorders and any vaccines. In fact, original works that sparked controversy years ago have been retracted due to poor design and questionable research methods.

Avoiding childhood vaccinations puts your child and others at risk of contracting and spreading serious diseases such as whooping cough (whooping cough), measles or mumps.

Haven gone through this post, I believe you now have  a better understanding of Autism Spectrum Disorder: Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment and Prevention. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section.

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