Posted On Mar 21, 2023
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Consultant Paediatric Neurologist and Developmental Paediatrician
Manipal Hospitals - Yeshwanthpur - Bengaluru
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The term "autism" refers to a wide variety of conditions marked by difficulties with social skills, repetitive speech, behaviours, and nonverbal communication. According to a report, over 75,000,000 people worldwide, or nearly 1% of the population, have autism spectrum disorder. Despite its large population, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), or autism, is distinguished by a wide range of symptoms and degrees of severity. However, not all speech delays are caused by autism. Hence, it is important that all children be screened for autism between the ages of 18 and 24 months.
Asperger's syndrome, Rett syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, Kanner's syndrome, and pervasive developmental disorder are the five main kinds of autism. Depending on the kind of condition and the intensity of its symptoms, autism is managed differently. In contrast to those with Rett syndrome, milder forms of autism can be controlled through social skills training or behaviour modification. These individuals would benefit more from intensive care, such as physical or occupational therapy.
Autism symptoms are "red flags" for patients, so the earlier autism spectrum disorder treatment begins, the more likely it is to be effective. Because of this, it's crucial to be able to recognize the symptoms and indicators. The signs are as follows:
Performing the same actions repeatedly, such as saying the same words or phrases, or rocking back and forth.
No proper eye contact.
Difficulties with speaking, gestures, facial expressions, or voice tone.
Having difficulty adapting to change.
Too much or too little interest in particular topics or things.
Unable to focus on objects when someone points at them.
Speaking in a monotone, robotic, or flat manner.
When these symptoms appear, they must be recognized and taken care of.
The paediatric neurologists in Yeshwanthpur will conduct a scoring test once autism in a child is detected. Social communication and language delays, as well as repetitive moments and behaviours, are key clinical features that are considered during screening. In addition to their social and communication difficulties, they also exhibit some motor dysfunction, signs of DI, and play-based imitation deficits. Based on these factors, a diagnosis is usually made.
Also, when a child has autism, they may or may not experience additional comorbid conditions. If autism is caused by a genetic mutation, the child may also have an intellectual disability, physical conditions such as seizures or developmental delays, other behavioural conditions such as ADHD, and sleep issues such as sleep awakenings. Along with that, there was interference with their feeding and a delay in the development of self-help abilities like hygiene and toilet training. So it can be said that autism is comorbid with other conditions.
The screening instruments are used to make medical diagnoses, and all autistic children should always undergo hearing and visual testing. Additionally, other prospects, such as cognitive ability, other intellectual disabilities, and other developmental issues, must be evaluated. It is crucial to start early intervention as soon as feasible, and an autism prevention programme should be focused on and suitably designed for each child. It's not the same for everyone; it's a multidisciplinary approach done by the paediatrician, child neurologist or child psychiatrist, psychologist, occupational therapist, nutritionist, and social worker. They have therefore created some intervention models, and these therapies should typically be performed at least once a day for at least three to six months in order to achieve the desired result.
The child is re-evaluated each month using the scoring system to comprehend this score's progression following therapy for a month. Therefore, it helps the expert to understand the gaps in which the child is still not making progress. According to the gap in the domain, such as the domain of language skills, communication skills, etc., they focus more on it after a month.
Despite the fact that the child is receiving medical care, autism cannot be treated. In the case of autism, the medicinal therapy available merely aims to lessen hyperactivity, stress, anxiety, repetitive behaviour, and hand movements. Hence, the only method by which autism can be controlled is behaviour change, and the child must remain in a developmental stage where they can listen to you and seek counselling. Consult a paediatric neurology hospital in Yeshwanthpur in case your child needs care for autism.
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