Autism, or autism spectrum disorder, refers to a range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication, as well as by unique strengths and differences.
There are several ways autism can be detected. When language begins to develop, the person with autism may use speech in unusual ways. Some have difficulty combining words into meaningful sentences. They may speak only single words or repeat the same phrase over and over. Some go through a stage where they repeat what they hear verbatim (echolalia).
Few, mildly affected children exhibit only slight delays in language or even develop precocious language and unusually large vocabularies – yet have difficulty sustaining a conversation. Another common difficulty is the inability to understand body language, tone of voice and expressions. Children with autism tend to be delayed in babbling and speaking and learning to use gestures. Some don’t begin to speak until much later. Some children with autism have an identifiable genetic condition that affects brain development.Seizure disorders, like epilepsy, occur in as many as 39 percent of those affected by autism. Sleep problems are common among children and adolescents. Some children and adults with autism and other developmental disabilities continue to eat items such as dirt, clay or chalk.
congenial viral infection has been considered the main non-genetic cause of autism.
Prenatal exposure to rubella or cytomegalovirus activates the mother’s immune response and greatly increases the risk for autism.
Teratogens are environmental agents that cause birth defects. Some agents that are theorised to cause birth defects have also been suggested as potential autism risk factors. Thyroid problems that lead to thyroxine deficiency in the mother in weeks 8–12 of pregnancy have been postulated to produce changes in the brain leading to autism. This can be caused by inadequate iodine in the diet.
Diabetes in the mother during pregnancy is a significant risk factor for autism; a twofold increased risk for autism.
Autism is a disease that is still being researched on. Although there has been great advancement in the symptoms of the disorder, much hasn’t been written about its cure due to the personal and unique nature of autism in every individual that is affected by it. Hence parents are often advised to tailor the cure according to their children. Each child or adult with autism is unique and, so, each autism intervention plan should be tailored to address specific needs. However, these steps cater to every child with autism:
The child receives structured therapeutic activities for at least 25 hours per week.
Trained therapists and teachers deliver the intervention.
Well-trained paraprofessionals may assist with the intervention under the supervision of an experienced professional with expertise in autism therapy
In the process certain specific and well-defined learning objectives, and the child’s progress in meeting these objectives is regularly evaluated and recorded.
The program involves a multidisciplinary team that includes a physician, speech-language pathologist and occupational therapist.
The intervention focuses on the core areas affected by autism. These include social skills, language and communication, imitation, play skills, daily living and motor skills.
The program actively engages parents in the intervention, both in decision making and the delivery of treatment.
The program provides the child with opportunities to interact with typically developing peers.
While the Internet is full of fraudulent and dangerous claims of treating autism, the fact is that as of today, there is actually no cure of this disease. One can only hope and pray that with the current progress rate of medical technology, there will be a definitive remedy and procedure for the same.