Autism, also known as Autism spectrum disorder is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects behavior and communication. Though it can be diagnosed at any age but, as it is a "developmental disorder" it mainly is diagnosed in the first two years of life. From learning differently to exhibiting unique behaviors in a social setting, there are a wide variety of signs your child might have autism.
It is a spectrum disorder as it is a collective of five disorders that can't be reliably diagnosed.
1. Autistic disorder: This is what most people think of when they hear the word "autism." It refers to problems with social interactions, communication, and play in children younger than 3 years.
2. Pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS): A group of disorders characterized by impairment in the development of imaginative activity, learning, and a limited number of interests and activities that tend to be repetitive.
3. Asperger’s syndrome: These children don't have a problem with language; in fact, they tend to score in the average or above-average range on intelligence tests. But they have social problems and a narrow scope of interests.
4. Childhood Disintegrative Disorder: These children have typical development for at least 2 years and then lose some or most of their communication and social skills.
5. Rett’s Syndrome (a rare genetic disorder): Your doctor might use this term if your child has some autistic behavior, like delays in social and communications skills, but doesn’t fit into another category.
SYMPTOMS OF ASD
Intense Focus on one thing
Abnormal Body Posturing
Learning to speak late
Lack of Empathy
Uneasy acceptance of changes
Unusual facial expressions
Uncomfortable two-way conversations
Deficits in Language Comprehension
Repetition of certain words or phrases
Irritable sleep patterns
Loss of interest in social contact
Poor ‘listening’ skills, despite intact hearing.
CAUSES OF ASD
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is typically diagnosed on the basis of behavioral symptoms. Its exact cause is not known, but it generally depends on the factors mentioned below:
Genetic Risk Factors: Several different genes appear to be involved in autism spectrum disorder. For some children, autism spectrum disorder can be associated with a genetic disorder, such as Rett syndrome or fragile X syndrome. For other children, genetic changes (mutations) may increase the risk of autism spectrum disorder. Still, other genes may affect brain development or the way that brain cells communicate, or they may determine the severity of symptoms. Some genetic mutations seem to be inherited, while others occur spontaneously.
Environmental factors. Researchers are currently exploring whether factors such as viral infections, medications or complications during pregnancy, or air pollutants play a role in triggering autism spectrum disorder.
LEVELS OF ASD
Along with diagnosing a child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), doctors now assign a “functional level” — 1, 2, or 3 — that correlates to a particular type and amount of support.
LEVEL 1: Requires support
People during this require support for social communication, as they could have difficulty initiating a talk or responding to social preludes. They'll exhibit decreased interest in social interaction, the inflexibility of behavior, difficulty switching between activities or problems with regulation, and planning that hamper confidence.
LEVEL 2: Requiring substantial support
People with this diagnosis have issues with verbal and nonverbal convivial communication and might struggle even with support in situ. Their initiation of social intercommunications is restricted and that they have reduced or abnormal acknowledgments to social preludes from others. They could have distress and/or difficulty changing focus or action.
LEVEL 3: Requiring very substantial support
People with level 3 diagnosis have severe deficiencies in verbal and nonverbal social communication experiences cause severe impairments in functioning, very limited preliminaries of social interactions, and minimal response to social preludes from others. They need great distress changing focus or action.
TREATMENT OF ASD
There are no cures or exact treatment of Autism. But several therapies might help feeling better and overcome the issues of major social interactions. Early treatment for ASD is important as proper care can reduce one’s difficulties while helping them learn new skills and make the most of their strengths.
Alternative treatments for managing autism may include:
Chelation therapy, which involves flushing metals from the body
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy
Melatonin to address sleep issue
However, treatment results may vary.
Our experiences are all unique. Regardless, I do believe that it is important to find the beautiful. Recognize that there is bad, there is ugly, there is disrespect, there is ignorance and there are meltdowns. Those things are inevitable. But there is also good ~ Erin McKinney