Autism: Some Essential Details
Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder which impedes the ability to interact socially and hinders speech and nonverbal communication. Restricted and repetitive behaviour are also common with autism. The symptoms become visible before the age of 3. In some cases, children go through developmental stages normally before regressing.
Autism affects information processing in the brain by altering how nerve cells and their synapses connect and organize. The exact cause for this is yet to be understood.
The estimated global occurrence of autism is about 1–2 per 1,000 people. Boys tend to be more vulnerable than girls in a ratio of about 4-5:1. As per the data collected as of 2013, autism affects about 21 million people worldwide.
What should parents look out for
According to the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, parents should look out for the following developmental milestones in their children. The missed developmental stages could be an indicator of the autistic condition.
- If the child does not start to babble before 12 months. Babbling is the usual baby talk made up of incomprehensible words and sounds.
- The child does not make gestures like pointing and waving before 12 months.
- If the child has not begun to utter single words by 16 months.
- No spontaneous two-word phrases by 24 months.
- Any loss of any language or social skills, at any age.
Early intervention can make a difference to the overall management of children with autism. National Institute of Mental Health recommends an autism treatment plan that involves:
- Seeing what interests your child and building on it.
- Planning a predictable schedule for the child.
- Breaking down tasks into a series of simple steps.
- Parents’ active involvement.
- Participation in highly structured activities.
The aim of the article is to be informative in a general way. Always seek expert medical advice.