What is autism?
Autism or autism spectrum disorder is referred to a range of conditions which are characterized by the challenges with repetitive behavior, social skills, nonverbal communication, speech and other unique strengths or differences a child or individual has. It is of many types caused due to different combinations of environmental and genetic impacts.
The most obvious signs of autism can be recognized in a child at the age between 2 and 3. However, in some cases, it can be identified around 18 months as well. Identifying the symptoms urges parents to seek evaluation immediately. Remember, early intervention can certainly improve the outcomes.
Possible signs of Autism in Toddlers:
As suggested by some researches, the main causes of autism are the differences in the development of central nervous system and brain. However, factors that make these differences are not clearly known and probably metabolic, genetic and infections could be the reasons behind the development of autism.
Symptoms for autism among 6-months old baby include no social smiles or joyful expression as directed by parents or elders and limited or no eye contact.
In case of 9-months old baby, no sharing of vocal sounds, nonverbal communication or smiles.
A 12-months old baby with autism may show symptoms like no babbling, no use of gestures to communicate, and no response to name when called.
When the baby is 24-months old with developmental delay, there would be no use of meaningful or two-word phrases. The child would not mingle with anyone and may show tantrums, whining, disconnection with people, and no social interest.
Besides the above-mentioned signs, some of the other autism symptoms include;
- Trouble in understanding what other people talk or feel
- Delayed speech and language skills
- Repeating words / phrases over and over
- Giving unrelated answer to question
- Getting disturbed even with minor changes
- Having obsessive interests
- Spinning in circles, flapping hands or rocking the body
- Unusual reactions to sound, taste, feel, look and smell
- Prefer to play alone
- Interaction only to achieve the desired goal
- Flat / inappropriate facial expressions
- Resisting physical contact
There are various therapies adapted to treat this condition in children. There are also various treatment approaches to treat the condition of individuals of various age groups. The treatment is tailored according to the child’s condition. A combination of medication and behavioural treatments are given.
It is not only that the therapists should give treatment, but the entire family should work closely to achieve faster and better improvement in the child.
Some of the treatment options available for toddlers and preschool children are:
- Early intervention: This helps to improve learning, communication and social skills of the child with autism.
- Structured therapeutic activities by highly trained therapists.
- QST (Qigong Sensory Treatment) massage for autism helps return sense of touch to normal. It helps improve sensory, social, language and behavioral aspects.
- Yoga postures that help children improve overall health and mental condition.
- As a family, parents and other members should try to engage the child in interesting activities to improve his/her communication and language skills.
Autism is nothing to be ashamed of and it is just a mental condition that needs attention and treatment. Timely care, help of support groups, counselling, and therapies can help the child lead a better life. Consulting a neurologist right on time can help design a treatment pathway for the child.