Dr. Murali Chekuri, consultant Neurology, Manipal Hospitals, Vijayawada
Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are developmental disorders caused by differences in the brain. People with ASD often have problems with social communication and interactions, restricted or repetitive behaviours and interests. People with ASD may also have different ways of learning, moving, or paying attention. It is important to note that some people who do not have ASD have some of these symptoms. However, for people with ASD, these characteristics can make life very difficult.
Autism spectrum disorders begin in early childhood and eventually cause problems that function in society. For example, social, school, workplace. Children often show symptoms of autism within the first year of life. A few children develop normally in the first year, then develop symptoms of autism and appear to undergo a stage of regression between the ages of 18 and 24 months.
Signs and symptoms of autism disorder
Each child with autism spectrum disorders may have unique patterns of behaviour and severity, from low to high function. Some children with autism spectrum disorders have learning problems, while others show signs of below-average intelligence. Other children with this disability usually have a high degree of intelligence. They learn quickly but struggle to convey, apply, and adapt to social situations in their daily lives. Severity can be difficult to determine because each child has a unique combination of symptoms. This is usually based on the level of failure and how they affect functionality.
Below are some common signs of Autism autism spectrum disorders.
Avoids (or) does not keep eye contact
Does not respond to name by 9 months of age
Does not show facial expressions like happy, angry and surprised by 9months of age
Babies that do not babble (or) point at the age of 12 months
Do not play some interactive games by 12 months of age
Uses few (or) no gestures by 12 months of age (Ex: does not wave goodbye)
Does not show interest in others by 15months of age
Does not point to showing you something interesting by 18 months of age
Does not notice when others are hurt (or) upset by 24 months of age
Do not notice other children and join them in play by 36 months of age
Does not sing, dance (or) act for you by 5 years
(b) Restricted (or) repetitive behavior (normal) interests
Ex: Lines up toys (or) other objects and
- gets upset when order is changed
- Repeats words (or) phrases over and over (Echolalia)
- Play with toys, in the same way, every time
- Is focused on parts of objects (Ex: wheels)
- Get upset by minor changes
- Unusual reactions to the way things sound, smell, taste, look or feel
- People also have – Delayed language skills & Delayed cognitive and learning skills
- Starting speech, behaviour, occupations and even music therapy at an early age are
proven to help children with autism increase skills.
- Engage and interact whenever possible both during playtime and in everyday
- Create opportunities for your child to interact with you and others (Ex: Store favorite
- Encourage your child to try new things and celebrate even small accomplishments.
As they mature, some children with autism spectrum disorder become more engaged with others and show fewer disturbances in behavior. Some, usually those with the least severe problems, eventually may lead normal or near-normal lives. Others, however, continue to have difficulty with language or social skills, and the teen years can bring worse behavioural and emotional problems.