Autism, also known as autism spectrum disorder is a developmental disability that affects the wiring of the brain. This developmental disability harbours groups of mental conditions that hinder an individual social interaction and communication.
It is worth noting that autism is not a mental disorder. That is to say, people are born with autism. Parents without traces of autism in their lineage can give birth to an autistic child. Autism can start from the formation of a baby inside the womb.
Also, autism cannot be separated from a person: this means that if an individual is autistic from childbirth, it follows through adulthood. Autism affects the daily activity of an individual, their behavior, and their thoughts, personality, actions, senses, and even speech.
Autistic patients experience episodes known as meltdowns. Meltdown is a trigger response to uncomfortable situations. Meltdown could be informed by screaming, crying, throwing fits, or biting.
Another way people with autism express themselves in an uncomfortable situation is by not socializing, avoiding challenges, and secluding themselves from gatherings.
People living with autism are said to engage in repetitive and restrictive pattern behaviour. For example, we all know that babies are attracted to colourful toys and will likely want to play with them. But autistic babies can be attracted to non-colourful playthings and also can be engrossed in playing with unusual things. Different people have different experiences with autism. Hence, the need for different therapy treatments.
Autism signs can be seen in babies that are around eight months old. In most cases, an autistic child is diagnosed between the ages of one to two years: this is the period when children are supposed to be playing, interacting with other children, and learning how to communicate.
Symptoms Of Autism in Adults
Some adults do not know that they have autism. There are various autism symptoms in adults, and a lack of knowledge will hinder management styles. Autism can only be diagnosed by a mental health professional, but here are some common symptoms that occur during adulthood:
Finding it hard to communicate or speak
Always anxious about social activity
Looks rude by being disinterested in people.
Cannot express themselves through words
Throw fits when it comes to slight issues
Cannot make friends
Cannot adapt to social etiquette
Cannot make eye contact
If, as an adult, you are experiencing three or more of these symptoms, then it is better to see a professional for a proper diagnosis.
Early Signs of Autism in Babies
In most cases, autism signs are noticed during childhood. It is due to a lack of knowledge and attention that autism is later diagnosed in adulthood. Early signs of autism in children become clear because, there are specific ways a child is supposed to behave, and at some stage during childhood, there has to be a developmental activity happening.
Here are some common signs of autism you can see in children:
Spinning in a circle most of the time
Gets upset when arranged toys scatter
Have an interest in weird things
Lots of unnecessary tantrums
Fearlessness or greater dread than expected
Inattentive, impulsive, or hyperactive behavior
Slow movement abilities
Cognitive or learning abilities that are delayed
Avoids or fails to maintain eye contact
Do not respond to name calls
There are other signs of autism, but these are very common. As early as ten months, the signs of autism start showing in children. Please know that the sign changes as they grow up. Your child needs to be experiencing three or more of these signs before they are diagnosed with autism.
Medications And Treatment Plans Suitable for Autism
Autism cannot be treated but can be managed so that people living with it can live properly. Therapy helps people with autism cope better. Autistic people will need professionals who are skilled in understanding autism to help with a treatment plan.
The autistic patient responds best to well-structured therapy that will help reduce symptoms and make them take part fully in daily activities.
Here are some treatment plans suitable for autistic patients:
Speech therapy: this form of therapy helps improve the speech of people living with autism. Help them identify persons and things correctly, improve the explanation of feelings and emotions, etc.
Parent-mediated therapy: parents get to learn therapy techniques that will help them understand their children's autistic behavior. This will improve communication between parent and child.
Social skill therapy: autistic patients learn how to interact and socialize with their peers properly. They also get to learn social etiquette.
Music therapy: this will help them become in tune with their emotions.
Play therapy: autistic children learn how to play and understand the rudiments of play.
Behavioral management therapy: it helps autistic patients reduce problematic behavior. It will also help them develop skills that will help them solve challenges themselves.
Cognitive behavioral therapy: autistic patients learn how to change and identify their thought pattern that causes unwanted behavior.
Animal-assisted therapy: this therapy helps them with their social skills and emotional challenges. it will also help adults with autism with stress.
Other treatment plans will help both adults and children living with autism. In some cases, two or three of the treatment plans can be used for someone experiencing symptoms like communication and social skills. Medications such as anti-anxiety, anticonvulsants, and Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors are recommended in extreme cases or together with therapy plans.
Interesting Facts About Autism
There are common misconceptions about autism and some real facts. So here are some real facts about autism.
Autistic patient does not have the same kind of difficulties. Instead, they have different skills, different abilities, and interests.
Some illnesses can co-occur with autism like anxiety or epilepsy.
No everyone with autism does not speak, some do not have speech deficiency.
No one knows the cause of autism
There is no cure for autism
Adults can be diagnosed with autism
You can’t grow out of autism
More men than women have autism
Autism happens to all races, gender, and ethnic group.
Autism should be detected early so that it can be an early treatment plan. Governments and NGOs should create more awareness of autism, as there is little to no awareness on the subject matter. Parents, caregivers, and friends of autistic patients should also be aware of these signs and show support in all ramifications.