Autism is a neural developmental disorder affecting social interaction, communication (both verbal and non-verbal), and also characterized by restricted and repetitive actions. It affects the ability of the individual to interact with the outside world.
The cause of autism is not clear. It alters the connection and organization of nerve cells and their synapses thereby affecting the information processing in the brain. It is one of the three recognized disorders in the autism spectrum (ASDs), with Asperger syndrome and pervasive developmental disorder ( PDD-NOS) being the other two. The autistic symptoms should be apparent by the time the child is three years old.
No medical tests can diagnose a kid of autism. It can only be made by careful observation as well as information provided by parents and other caregivers on the child's behavior, communication, social interaction, and developmental levels.
It's particularly difficult for the parents to deal with the autistic kid because no two affected kids have the same symptoms. This confuses the parents who are trying to understand their autistic child as the symptoms vary greatly. The biggest challenge for the parents is to reach their kids, because they are comfortable in their own private mind world.
Autism is found to be on the increase with 1 among 500 US kids having it compared to the previous 1 out of 5000 in the past. Some believe that this large discrepancy is the result of increased awareness and foolproof diagnostic methods. Another interesting fact is that it is found to affect four times as many boys as girls. Sadly no definite cure is there, only treatment options for better living.
There is no perfect cure for the disease. Occasionally children recover which means they stop to show the disease symptoms. This may be a result of intensive treatment or not. Affected children can acquire language by age 5 or younger, though rare exceptions are found. Most children with autism suffer from lack of social support and meaningful relationships. They have no future employment opportunities or self-determination. Symptoms often lose its severity with age, although core difficulties tend to persist.
Treatment of autism begins with the complete knowledge of the disease and what to expect from it. Parent and family education can lessen family stress and improve a child's functioning. Thorough understanding of the condition plays an important part in helping your child develop independence. When grown, some people will be able to live independently, whereas others need continued support.
Another method is working together with other people who care for your child. Team approach and a consistent structured program is the best treatment for autism. They should work together for
2. Identification and the management of symptoms of autism and any related conditions.
3. Behavior and interactions with family and peers, adjustment to different environments, and social and
4. communication skills.
Working closely with the health professionals is also very important. Last but not the least you should take care of yourself.
Parents should learn ways to handle the normal range of emotions, fears, and concerns that go along with raising a autistic child. The challenges faced daily and long-term put you and the sibilings at an increased risk for depression or stress-related illnesses. And your handling of these pressures influences other family members. Some of the ways by which you can cope is to
1. Start some hobby, visit friends, and learn ways to relax.
2. Seek and accept support from others. The participants in support groups can benefit from others' experiences.
3. Talk with a doctor about the need for counseling if you or one of your children is troubled in having a family member with autism.