Autism

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What is Autism?

Autism is a colloquial name for several possible disorders included in the autism spectrum. Individual diseases that make up the autism spectrum differ in the symptoms they cause and their severity or time of onset. Unfortunately, the causes of many cases on the autism spectrum remain unexplained.

What is Autism Spectrum?

The autism spectrum is a range of neurodevelopmental traits generally characterized by difficulties initiating and maintaining relationships and social communication, repetitive and inflexible behavior, intense interests, and unusual responses to sensory stimuli. 

The onset of the disorder is usually in early childhood, although symptoms may become apparent later under the influence of increasing social demands. Some people with ASD may also have intellectual functioning or language skills deficits.

In psychiatry, there are various classifications of diseases, like ICD 10. According to it, autism is included in the group of pervasive developmental disorders.

The autism spectrum includes cases with various symptoms and degrees of severity.

Autism – Symptoms

Symptoms most often concern three main aspects of behavior: communication skills, interaction with others, and specific behaviors. The symptoms of an autistic person can include each of these aspects to varying degrees. Autism symptoms vary among individuals, resulting in unique characteristics for each person.

In terms of communicationTrusted Source, the following specific symptoms are distinguished:

When considering social interactionTrusted Source, the symptoms include:

The list of behavioral symptomsTrusted Source includes:

Autism spectrum disorders can be diagnosed in some cases as early as late infancy (around 11-12 months of age). A complete diagnosis often requires waiting until the child is several years old. One of the first symptoms is a disturbed reaction of the child to the main caregiver – no smile, no eye contact, and no response to their voice.

How to Help Kids on the Autism Spectrum?

Childhood autism is a disorder affecting many areas of a child’s functioning. Apart from affecting psychological and educational development, there are also issues with sensory processing and medical concerns such as food intolerances, immune system dysfunction, and digestive problems.

Children with autism often struggle to understand their surroundings, as they may have difficulty communicating and may be overwhelmed by sensory stimuli. This can make it challenging for them to feel comfortable or safe. It’s significant to learn about this disorder to support those with it.

Therapy of a Child With Autism

TherapyTrusted Source should take place in several areas:

Discover the items, activities, and places that the child enjoys the most. These can serve as a reward for them after enduring the challenges of therapy and daily life.

Autism: What Is, Symptoms, Causes, and Effective Treatment

The Room of a Child With Autism 

It’s significant to limit the amount of unnecessary sensory stimuli:

If possible, implement these rules throughout your home. A small amount of stimuli increases the chances of your child’s concentration and allows them to rest.

Daily Life at Home

Establish the most transparent structure of the day and even the week. Give your child a chance to find themself in this incomprehensible world.

To prevent overstimulation, it’s a good practice to limit your child’s TV and radio time and only have one appliance on at a time.

Eat at the table. Introduce clear rules when food is food and when fun is fun.

Take care of time for pleasure so that the child has the opportunity to relieve the difficulties of the day.

Involve all family members to follow the established rules.

It’s best to avoid taking your child to loud events like parties and weddings, as they can make their condition worse. Instead, try taking them to peaceful places, like a quiet park or forest, where they feel calm and comfortable. Please pay attention to what environments make your child feel at ease and avoid those that make them feel agitated.

Communication

Try to get the child’s attention before you start talking to them.

Adapt your language to the child’s level. Speak clearlyTrusted Source show what you mean, and use gestures. If possible, refer your statements to specific objects in the child’s environment, pointing to them, touching them, and showing examples. Remember about communication channels other than speech. If a child cannot express themself, they can show what they mean, and there is nothing wrong with that.

To effectively communicateTrusted Source with a child, it’s significant to avoid rambling and focus on discussing meaningful topics. Demonstrate to the child that you are attentive and receptive to their attempts at communication and never brush them off.

Whisper in the child’s ear what to say to another person when you see that they feel lost. Teach the correct statements to initiate and hold a conversation.

Autism: What Is, Symptoms, Causes, and Effective Treatment

Functioning in Society

Teach your child to observe the behavior of other children and show an example of what and how to do. Encourage play involving cooperation with others. Reinforce appropriate behavior in various social situations with praise. This will help them improve their social skillsTrusted Source.

Suggest fun activities for the child during free time, such as during breaks between lessons. Encourage them to make friends and integrate with others. 

Additionally, provide examples of expressing emotions through illustrations. Teach how to pay attention to dangers, how to anticipate them, and how to avoid them (remember that the reaction of a child with autism may be inappropriate to a dangerous situation).

Lack of Flexibility and Incomprehensible Behavior

It’s significant to help children manage their stress levels. One way to do this is by understanding their behaviorTrusted Source, which can often be a form of communication. For example, if a child throws a toy or game, it could mean that it’s too easy or difficult for them. If they push something away, it might be because they can’t say “no”. If they become aggressive, they might need a break because they’re tired, and if they seem scared or nervous in a crowded place, they may need reassurance.

Another helpful tip is to teach kids how to plan their time and create schedules with them so they always know what to expect. And lastly, it’s significant to give them notice about any changes that might disrupt their routine.

Work on the child’s behavioral flexibility, avoiding your schematic actions (remember that the child is watching you). 

Sensory Functioning

Discover what things calm your child and what things disturb them. Stay away from overwhelming stimuli such as bright lights and certain noises. Instead, use stimuli tailored to your child’s needs, like a gentle massage or a small object that they can play with to help them concentrate. Sensory integration therapyTrusted Source may also be helpful.

sensory therapy autism

Cognitive Functioning

Discover and use the child’s cognitiveTrusted Source strengths, for example, good memory or interest in a specific topic. Find out what can be a reward for a child. Always look for external and internal motivations for playing, learning, and working.

Autism in Adults

Autism is often identified as a childhood disease. When talking about autistic people, many people immediately imagine a child who is extremely intelligent, socially withdrawn and has very narrow interests to which they devote all their time. Adults who are affected by this disorder are rarely thought of. 

However, adults with autismTrusted Source do exist – they try to cope with life in society with varying degrees of success. The disorder can manifest itself in many different ways. Some people affected by this problem can lead an almost ordinary life.

Diagnosis of Autism in Adults

Diagnosing autism in adults is not an easy task. Autism is a vast spectrum – there are no two identical cases of autism, so it is better to approach each case individually. Moreover, since it was not diagnosed in childhood, it probably takes a lighter form in adults, which allows them to function in society. Adults with autism, throughout their years of living with the disorder, also learn to mask it to better fit into society and its expectations.

Still, unfortunately, there is no single, universal pattern according to which a more precise and faster diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders in adults would be possible. However, the constantly developing research indicates that this state of affairs may change.

Diagnosis for adults can start with many things – from a self-assessment test to a frank conversation with a doctor. The doctor can make a diagnosisTrusted Source based on several factors:

After excluding other diseases and determining that the symptoms of autism appear from an early age, that person can be referred to a psychologist and a psychiatrist to confirm or exclude the actual presence of autism. Therefore, if symptoms indicating the possibility of autism did not appear, for example, until adolescence, the diagnosed person most likely suffers from other disorders.

Autism cannot be acquired during life – a child is born and grows with it.

It is not easy to properly diagnose autism, but it is worth the effort. A proper diagnosis can answer many questions, allow you to understand why a person affected by the disorder behaves in this particular way, and also allow you to start the right therapy aimed at the most life-threatening aspects of the disorder. Also, people whose loved ones are on the autism spectrum will have enough knowledge to understand where certain behaviors come from, and thanks to this, they will gain more understanding and know how to act.

Diagnosing autism.

Symptoms of Autism in Adults

Autism in adults can manifest itself in many ways. Some people can lead a life that, at least at first glance, is not much different from the life of a person without the autism spectrum. Adults with autism can still start families, work, and be successful in their careers. However, there are adults with autism who have severe problems with functioning in society – no pattern would define it. 

Some of the symptomsTrusted Source are:

This list is not closed – people with autism may also experience several other unusual symptoms. The above list does not mean that people with autism have them all – each person with autism manifests it entirely differently. 

Gender plays a role in autism, as women with autism tend to handle social situations and emotions better than men with the same condition. This makes it more challenging to diagnose autism spectrum disorders in women.

Adult Autism – Treatment

People with autism can learn to function in society in adulthood – especially regarding high-functioning autism. However, every adult with autism can learn to function better with professional help. Diagnosis is the first step to understanding yourself. But how do we treat autism in adults? Healing is the wrong word. Autism is not a disease – it is a broad spectrum of disorders. They are not subject to treatment but therapyTrusted Source.

Autism therapy for adults is very diverse – it all depends on how autism manifests itself in a particular case. This allows you to focus on the most important aspects of autism.

Autism can be treated effectively through cognitive-behavioral therapy. This therapy helps individuals with autism to understand how their behaviors work and develop healthier patterns that align with social expectations. 

People with autism often face challenges with social skills, but they can improve these abilities through social skills training. Group therapy, particularly with others who share similar challenges, offers a supportive environment where individuals can connect with others who understand their experiences.

Sources

May 31, 2023
12 minutes read
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