Autism is a serious and complex developmental disability of a child detectable typically in the first 3 years of life. Autism is characterized by social impairment, communication difficulties, repetitive and stereotyped types of behavior. There is no cure for autism but early intensive support may make a significant difference in the life of the child with the disorder.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) refers to the range of complex neuro-developmental disorders. The hallmark feature in Autism is the impaired social interaction which may be detectable during infancy, exhibited by an infant’s unresponsiveness to people and failure to focus on an item for long periods of time. At an early age, the following signs may be observable in children with autism:
- Absence of babbling and pointing by 1 year old
- Inability to make two word phrase by 2 years old
- Unresponsive to their names
- Lack of language and social skills
- Poor eye contact
- No or limited smiling
- No or limited social responsiveness
Diagnosis of autism lies heavily on the evidence of different types of skill impairment, such as , Social Skills, Communication Skills, and Behavioral Skills. Pediatric Developmental Specialists are tasked to make the definitive diagnosis after the physicians detect early signs of the disorder.
Treatment Options for Autism
The goal of Autism treatment is to maximize the child’s ability to function by reducing autism symptoms and supporting development and learning. Treatment options may include the following.
Behavior and Communication Therapy – Programs focus on the range of social, language and behavioral difficulties associated with Autism. Some programs focus on reducing problems relating to behavior and teaching new skills.
Educational Therapy – A highly structured educational program with a team of specialists may greatly improve daily life for individuals with autism, even during pre-school.
Medications – There are no medications that are indicated for the treatment of autism as a disorder, but medications may be given for anxiety attacks. Anti-psychotics may be given for cases involving severe behavioral disorders.
Outcome of Autism
Autism is a disorder that cannot be cured. Researchers in behavioral science have shown that 83% of autistic children with early intervention before 4 years old achieve a better cognitive response when compared to those who have not gone through intensive intervention. It has also been shown that individuals with mild autism may “keep up” with the normal children within the same age group, given the adequate supportive therapies.
It is important to recognize that medications and medical procedures are associated with benefits and risks that should be discussed with your physician. It is important to recognize that all information contained on this website cannot be considered to be specific medical diagnosis, medical treatment, or medical advice. As always, you should consult with a physician regarding any medical condition. Your Health Access disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.