What, exactly, is Autism?
Autism is a neuro-developmental disorder marked by deficits in social interaction, verbal and non verbal communication and a display of restricted and repetitive behaviors. Parents usually notice these signs in the first two years of their child's life. These signs develop gradually, though some autistic children reach developmental milestones at a normal pace and then regress. Early psycho-therapeutic interventions for speech or behavior modifications can help such children with self-care, social, and communication.
When does it appear first?
Autism first appears during infancy or childhood, and generally follows a steady course. It is caused by an interplay of genetic and environmental factors. Autistic people may be severely impaired in some respects but are absolutely normal in others. Visible symptoms gradually begin after 6 months, get established by 2-3 years and continue in a muted form through adulthood. Autism is distinguished by a typical set of symptoms: impairments in social interaction, communication, and display of restricted interests and repetitive behavior. Some cases also involve atypical eating patterns.
Social and Emotional Costs of Autism
Unusual social development becomes clear in early childhood. Autistic infants pay less attention to social stimuli, smile and look at others less often, and rarely give responses to their own name. Autistic toddlers show striking deviations from social norms - they show less eye contact, and cannot use simple movements to express themselves, such as pointing at things. In contrast, 3-5 year-old autistic children exhibit social understanding, social spontaneity, imitation and emotional responses.
Making and maintaining friendships is often difficult for such children. Deficits in communication may be present from the first year of life itself - delayed babbling, unusual gestures, poor responsiveness, and vocal patterns not in sync with the caregiver. 2-3 year-old autistic children show less frequent babbling, consonants, words, and word combinations; their gestures are not in sync with words. Such children are less likely to make requests or share experiences, and simply repeat others' words or reverse the pronouns.
Stereotyped behaviors like hand flapping, head rolling, or body rocking and compulsive behaviors like placing objects in a specific order, checking things, or hand washing are pretty common here. There is a clear resistance to change, for example, insisting that the furniture not be moved. Besides, one may notice ritualistic behavior – Unchanging daily routines like unchanging menu or dressing ritual and restricted interests - Preoccupation with a single TV programme, toy, or game. Finally, another marker can be self-injurious behaviours - eye-poking, skin-picking, hand-biting and head-banging.
Spotting Autistic Children
A failure to meet any of these milestones "is a clear indication to take the child for further evaluation as any delay here may delay early diagnosis and treatment and affect the long-term outcomes.
A. No babbling by 12 months.
B. No gesturing (pointing, waving, etc.) by 12 months.
C. No single words by 16 months.
D. No two-word (spontaneous, not just copied) phrases by 24 months.
E. Any loss of any language or social skills, at any age.
We provide treatment and therapies for children suffering from autism. Some of the therapies that we provide include:
- Speech Therapy
- Occupational Therapy
- Behavioral Therapy
- Psychomotor Activities
- Play Therapy
- Music Therapy
Our treatment methods have brought relief to many such children, who are now leading better lives.