Author : Dr Rakesh Jain
MRCPCH, CCT-Oxford (British Board), FRCPCH.
Senior Consultant Paediatric Neurologist
Fortis Memorial Research Institute (FMRI)
What is autism?
Autism is the most common condition in a group of developmental disorders known as the autism spectrum disorders (ASDs).
Autism is characterized by impaired social interaction, problems with verbal and nonverbal communication, and unusual, repetitive limited activities and interests.
Experts estimate that approximately 1 in 67 children will have autism. Males are four times more likely to have autism than females.
What are some common signs of autism?
There are three distinctive behaviors that characterize autism:
- Difficulties with social interaction
- Problems with verbal and nonverbal communication and delayed speech.
- Repetitive behaviors or narrow, obsessive interests.
Many children with autism engage in repetitive movements such as rocking and twirling, or in self-abusive behavior such as biting or head banging. Many children with autism have a reduced sensitivity to pain, but are abnormally sensitive to sound, touch, or other sensory stimulation.
Do symptoms of autism change over time?
For many children, autism symptoms improve with treatment and with age. Some children with autism grow up to lead normal or near normal lives. During adolescence, some children with autism may become depressed or experience behavioral problems.
There is no cure for autism. However, with early diagnosis and timely intervention with different therapies significant measurable improvement occurs.
Tips for working with children with Autism
- Give step-by-step instructions verbally and visually.
- Individuals with autism often have trouble interpretating facial expressions, body language, and tone of voice. Be as concrete and explicit in your instruction.
- Find out what the individual’s strength are and emphasize them. Tap into those avenues and create opportunities for success.
- Positive feedback and lot of opportunities and practices.
- Have consistent routines and schedules. If you know of change in routine inform the child in advance to prepare him for the change.
- Parents must look after themselves, as good parental relation is extremely important to organize the best quality of care for their child.