Autism is a brain disorder that often interferes with the ability to communicate and relate with others.
Signs of autism almost everytime develop before the age of three years, although the disease is sometimes diagnosed much later.
Typically, parents become concerned when they see that your son / daughter does not begin to speak and does not respond or interact like other children of the same age.
Usually, children with autism have normal development of speech and can “look” deaf, although audiometry tests are normal.
Autism affects how a child perceives and processes sensory information.
The severity of autism varies. Some require an attendant in almost all areas of their daily life, while others may be able to operate at a very high level and can even go to a regular school.
Although this condition lasts a lifetime and cause varying degrees of social isolation, treatment can make a significant improvement in the lives of people with autism.
Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment led to increased numbers of people with autism are able to live independently when they reach adulthood.
Autism seems to have a run in families, suggesting a genetic factor. Since people with autism may have a multitidine of events, ranging from individual to individual, scientists believe that multiple genes are involved.
Ongoing research is aimed at identifying those genes.
Some experts also consider that environmental factors may play a role in autism, and although they have studied several such factors, including as vaccines, have not so far found clear cause.
Brain imaging research people with autism have identified abnormalities in certain brain areas, including those responsible for emotion and social networking.
Other studies suggest that people with autism have high levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin, a chemical that sends messages to the brain.
However, these studies are preliminary and research currently being conducted to explain how damage to the brain in autism.
Severity of symptoms varies greatly from person to person. However, all people with autism have some core symptoms in the following areas:
Social interactions and interpersonal relationships.
Symptoms may include:
- Significant problems developing nonverbal communication skills such as eye-to-eye gaze, facial expressions and body postures
- Failure to establish friendships with children the same age
- Lack of interest in sharing enjoyment, interests or achievements with other people
- Lack of empathy. People with autism may have difficulty understanding other people’s feelings, such as pain or sadness.
Verbal and nonverbal communication
Symptoms may include:
- Delay in speech or lack thereof. About 50% of people with autism will never speak.
- Problems in initiating a conversation. Also, people with autism have difficulty maintaining continuity conversation started.
- Sterotip language and repetitive use of words. People with autism repeat a sentence or a phrase heard him recently (ecolalie).
- Difficulty in understanding the point of view of the person who is conversation. For example, a person with autism may not understand that someone jokes.
- May interpret the communication word for word and have the ability to understand the message, the meaning conveyed.
Handicapped interest in activities or games
Symptoms may include:
- Unusual attention to toys. Younger children with autism often focus on parts of toys, such as wheels of a car and do not play with the entire toy.
- Concern for certain issues. Older children and adults are often fascinated by trains schedule or weather reports.
- Requires uniformity / symmetry and routine. For example, a child with autism may always need to eat bread before salad and insist to go the same route every day to school.
- Stereotyped behavior. This involves clapping or ribbed body.
Symptoms of childhood
Symptoms of autism are usually noticed first by parents or others in the first three years of the child’s life. Although autism is present at birth (congenital s), signs of the disorder can be difficult to identify or diagnose during early childhood.
Parents often become concerned when their child does not want to be held, they do not seem to be interested in certain games and you do not start talking.
Also, parents are puzzled about the child’s ability to hear. Often seems that a child with autism does not hear, yet at other times he or she seems to hear distant background noise, like a train whistle.
With early and intensive treatment administered, most children improve their ability to relate to others, to communicate and to self-care as they grow.
In contrast to popular beliefs about children with autism, very few are completely socially isolated from or “living in a world of their own”.
Symptoms during adolescence
During adolescence, the behavior changes. Many teens gain skills but still remains a deficit in the ability to relate and understand others.
Puberty and sexualization can be made with greater difficulty in adolescents with autism than in children of the same age.
Teens have a slightly increased risk of developing depressive disorders, anxiety and epilepsy.
Symptoms in adulthood
Some adults with autism may be able to have a profession and an independent life. The degree to which an adult with autism can lead an autonomous life depends on the intelligence and ability to communicate. Approximately 33% are able to have at least partial independence.
Some adults with autism have a great need to be helped, especially those with low intelligence who can not speak. Partial Supervision (part-time) or complete (full-time) can be assured through therapeutic programs at home.
At the other end of the autistic spectrum disorder, high-functioning adults with autism are often successful in their profession and live independently, although they typically continue to have some difficulty in relating with other people. These people are usually average or above average intelligence.
About 10% of people with autism have some form of savant skills, talents, special, but limited, such as memorizing lists, calculating dates, drawing or musical talent.
Many people with autism have unusual sensory perceptions. For example, they may describe a light touch as painful and deep pressing can charge as a soothing sensation. Others may not feel no pain. Some may have strong preferences or dislikes for certain foods and concerns from unnatural.
Autism is one of several types of pervasive developmental disorders, called autism spectrum disorders. Is not unusual for autism to be confused with other pervasive developmental disorders such as Asperger syndrome or disorder have symptoms of other disorders.
A similar condition is called pervasive developmental disorders – without further specification. It is diagnosed when children have similar behaviors but do not meet criteria for autism. In addition, other conditions with similar symptoms may be associated with autism.
All professionals who work in the medical field and who see children of all ages when they make regular checkups, you should follow if there are early signs of developmental disorders. Developmental screening tests such as questionnaire on age and developmental stage of the child, may be helpful in evaluating behavior.
Where are discovered these obvious signs of developmental delay, the child should be evaluated immediately by a specialist:
- No babbles, not pointing fingers or making other gestures by the age of 12 months
- Does not say single words by 16 months
- Does not say 2 words phrases spontaneously by the age of 24 months, except that once again were spoken by others (ecolalie)
- Any loss of language or social skills acquisition at any age.
- If not obvious signs of developmental delay or are not abnormal screening tests, most children do not require further evaluation until the next consultation.
However, children who have a close relative with autism should be monitored closely because they are at increased risk of having autism and other developmental problems.
In addition to evaluating during regular health checkups, these children may be subjected to testing for developmental delays, learning disorders, deficits in social skills and any other symptoms that might suggest the presence of anxiety or depression.
If they develop social disorders, learning and behavioral to a person, no matter what time or at what age occur, the person should be evaluated by a specialist – a psychiatrist or psiholg.
It is recommended that screening children to identify autism during regular consultations conducted as monitoring children’s health programs. This policy helps doctors identify signs of autism in an early stage of evolution.
Early diagnosis and treatment can help your child achieve their maximum potential.
If it recognizes the presence of developmental delays in a child, subsequent tests can help the psychiatrist to determine if the problem is related to autism, other pervasive developmental disorder or a disease with similar symptoms, such as delayed in language development or avoidant personality disorder.
Health professionals in recognizing developmental problems (child development) are:
- Psychiatrist (physician specializing in child and adolescent psychiatry)
- Speech therapist
They can do additional testing.
Professionals can use a number of guides and questionnaires to determine the specific type of developmental delay in the child.
- Medical history. During the interview about your medical history, general psychiatrist asks questions about child development, for example, if he or she blames parents objects.
- Young children with autism often point to the items you want, but it clearly shows parents specific object and then check to see if parents do not look at the object they have shown.
- Guidelines for autism diagnosis. These guides contain primary endpoint of autism and were determined by specialists. They are designed for children aged 3 years or more.
- Other questionnaires about behavior. Additional diagnostic tests may apply to children under 3 years.
- Clinical observations. Psychiatrist may wish to observe the child with developmental delay in different situations. Parents may be asked whether certain behaviors are common to their child in these circumstances.
- Development and evaluation tests of intelligence
- Assessment tests are recommended delay in child development and how it affects his or her ability to think and make decisions
- Assessment of somatic
- Laboratory tests. Other tests may be used to determine if it could be a physical cause that might give these symptoms.
These tests include:
- – Physical examination, including measurement of head circumference, height and weight, to determine if the child has a normal growth
- – Audiometry tests to determine whether respiratory diseases (hearing problems) can cause developmental delay, especially if there are impaired social skills and use of language.
- – Tests to identify a lead poisoning, especially if present pica (a person not consume edible substances such as dirt or old paint splashes). Children with developmental delay continues to put objects in their mouths, while this point is exceeded the normally developing children. This habit can lead to lead poisoning, which must be identified and treated as soon as possible.
In some circumstances can be made more laboratory tests.
These tests are:
- Chromosome analysis that can be done if the child has mental retardation or if there are cases of mental retardation in the family. For example, fragile X syndrome, which causes a number of problems related to intelligence than normal and autistic-like behaviors can be identified by this analysis.
- An electroencephalogram (EEG), which is recommended if there are manifestations of epilepsy / seizures, and a history of episodes in which the child remains with his eyes fixed or if the child is less evolved behavior that had previously (regression in development ).
As early diagnosis and treatment can help your autistic child to develop to their full potential. The main goal of treatment is to improve the child’s overall ability to function.
Autism symptoms and behaviors can be combined in many ways and vary in terms of severity. In addition, symptoms and behaviors people may change over time.
For these reasons, treatment strategies are tailored to each individual and family resources. However, in general, children with autism respond best to highly structured and specialized treatment.
A program that is structured to support parents and improving communication, social, behavioral, adaptive and learning of the child’s life is the most effective.
We recommend the following strategies to help a child in order to improve overall functioning and achieve their full potential.
Training and behavior management. Use strengthening positive self-help and social skills training, with the objective to improve behavior and communication.
Currently there are several types of these treatments, such as:
- ABA – Applied Behavioral Analysis
- TEACCH – Treatment and Education of Autistic and Related Communication Handicapped Children
- And sensory integration
- Occupational Therapy
Most commonly, drugs are used to treat diseases associated, such as:
- Obsessive-compulsive type behaviors
Specialist in child and adolescent psychiatry may issue guidelines in this regard.
In the media and other sources of information circulated articles on alternative therapies such as treatment with secretin and auditory integration training. When you take into account any type of treatment, it is important to know the source of information and certify that the studies are based on scientifically. Stories of individual success are not sufficient evidence to support the widespread use of that treatment. Attention should be given more extensive studies, well controlled, which may be valid.
Parents who have a child with autism should have a proactive approach to learn about the disease and about her treatment, while scenario and will work with those involved in child care. It is also necessary for parents to take care of themselves so they can cope undergo testing that having a child with autism.
Self-education parents about autism
Parents should ask to contact the psychiatrist or associations that deal with children with autism learn to treat autism and learn how to deal with child events. To show that this type of workout reduces stress and improves family functioning child.
Understanding the disease and its knowledge of the possible expectations is an important part in helping children to become independent.
It is advisable to inform parents about the child’s educational rights. The laws provide certain rights for children with disabilities, including those with autism.
In addition, there are certain associations that provide support to children with autism and their families. Parents are advised to inquire and child protection services.
Learning about autism, parents are also ready for when their child reaches adulthood. Some adults with autism can live “on their feet” can work and can be as independent as others their age. Others need a permanent companion.
Parents are advised to collaborate with others to help them in caring for their child.
Close communication with others involved in education and child care is of great help for family members. The best treatment for children with autism is a team approach and applying a structured program consistently.
Every person who is involved must work together with others in the team to pursue these objectives:
- Identify symptoms of autism and related disorders and learning ways to cope
- Behavior and interactions with other families and peers
- Adaptation to different environments
- Learning social and communication skills
It is important to collaborate closely with those involved in child care. It is also important that the therapist make time to talk with their parents about any concerns.
It is important for parents to take care of themselves. Parents are advised to learn different ways to deal with all the emotions, fears and concerns that arise when they have to watch a child with autism.
Daily challenges and long-term increases faced by much risk parents and other children in the family for depression or other stress-related disorders. The way in which parents cope with these problems affect the other members of her family.
It’s okay to have a hobby to visit other friends and learn ways to relax. Seek and accept support from others.
In addition, therapy support groups for parents and other close relatives are often very useful, those who participate in these groups often benefit from the experience that others share.
Also, pediatric psychiatric doctor may advise parents or other children in the family, in case of problems in life, with children with autism.
Until now, experts have not yet found a way to prevent autism.
Assumptions persisted long supported the idea of an association between autism and vaccines made during childhood. However, numerous studies have failed to demonstrate clearly that there is a link between autism and vaccine rubella, mumps and measles (measles). If you avoid immunization of children, they and others in the community in which they live will be at risk of disease is severe, can lead to serious problems and even death.