Rain children this is what the kids with autism are called. Many parents believe that their child hasn’t started to speak and communicate with others when he or she is 3-years old because he is an individual. That is why they can’t believe their ears when they hear the diagnosis. At the same time, the kid feels uneasiness because of living together with normal people, whose feelings and emotions he or she can’t completely comprehend.
What is Autism?
The autism-spectrum disorder is a disturbance of psychological development that is characterized by motor and speech disorders and alters the way the person communicates and experiences the world. This disability affects early development and remains with a person for the rest of his/her life. There are no medical tests that could diagnose autism. It can only be achieved by observing the kid’s behavior and communication with others.
Children with autism don’t want to make friends. They prefer to be alone instead of playing with peers. Their speech is developed very slowly, they tend to use signs instead of words, and they don’t react to smiles. Boys are 4 times more often to get this disability than girls. In general, every 5-20 children from 10.000 are with autism.
Signs of Autism
Autism is a spectrum disorder since every patient has their own symptoms. But everyone demonstrates some general features that make it possible to think of this disability.
Signs of autism depend on age. Therefore, there are 4 main groups of signs and symptoms: early autism (kids younger than 2 years old), autism in children from 2 to 11 years old, teens with autism (11–18 years old), and grown-ups with autism.
Some children can develop signs of autism in infancy. But more often it is being revealed around 3d years of life. So what are the behavioral signs of autism spectrum disorder?
Delayed motor and speech development, such as:
- Lack of mimic and gestures, speech absence;
- The child never smiles at his/her interlocutor, doesn’t look in the eyes;
- The speech is normal, but the child can’t chat with others;
- The speech is abnormal in its form and contents, the child may repeat some disjointed phrases that he/she has heard somewhere before but that is not relevant to the situation at all;
- Phonetic problems (incorrect intonation, rhythm, monotonous speech).
Delayed social skills development, such as:
- The children don’t want to communicate and make friends with their peers;
- The children ignore the feelings and sometimes even the existence of people (even parents);
- They don’t share their problems with close ones because they don’t know why should they do it;
- They imitate neither mimic nor gestures of other people or imitate them unconsciously even if it is not connected to the situation.
Imagination development disturbance leads to a limited range of interests, such as:
- Unusual, anxious, estranged behavior;
- The child becomes hysterical when settings change;
- They prefer to be and play alone;
- Lack of imagination and imaginary events;
- Tends to hold one item in the hands constantly;
- Needs to perform one and the same actions again and again;
- Concentrates on one thing at a time.
People with autism are distinguished for the unsteady development that gives them an opportunity to be talented in one sphere, whether it is music, math, or other. But every case of autism is characterized by social, motor, and speech dysfunction.
When children with autism spectrum disorder are 11 years old, they usually acquire social skills, but still prefer to be alone. But they go through puberty with more complications than usual kids. They may become aggressive and depressed.
Some researchers believe that autism can be caused by various delivery pathologies, craniocerebral injuries, and infections. Other scientists claim that autism is a type of childhood schizophrenia. There is also a belief that it is an inherent brain dysfunction.
Apparently, the major role in autism development is played by kids’ sensitivity and emotive nature. In this case, the child is shut down from the whole world under the influence of some unwanted “hostile” factors.
What scientists did discover, is that autism usually affects firstborns. It is not ruled out that one of the causes may be a mother’s viral infection (rubella, measles, and chickenpox) during pregnancy. It is capable of triggering organic changes in the brain of the child, leading to autism.
Is Autism Genetic?
A genetic component takes up about 90% of autism development. It means that almost every child with the disorder has a certain combination of genes, whether they are “nerds’ genes” from your parents or some new mutations that appeared in your generation. Very often hereditary factors can be observed, but not always.
This disability has nothing to do with the vaccines you got or the food you eat.
Read more about genetical deviations: Down Syndrome in Baby
The doctors can’t diagnose this disability immediately because some signs of autism take during normal child development. That is why the diagnosis is often a bit late. Since it is a spectrum disorder the child may have only two-three symptoms, making it hard to diagnose correctly. The major sign of autism is perceptual disorder.
The child who is autistic doesn’t want to communicate with anyone. It may even seem that he/she won’t respond to pain. The speech is delayed, the child is afraid of everything new, repeats monotonous, repeated moves.
If the parents notice any signs of autism, they should visit a child psychiatrist. Nowadays there are lots of Child Development Centers, where that can help to diagnose and treat your baby effectively.
Autism in Children’s Treatment
This is a long, difficult, complex process that exhausts physically and psychologically. The parents of children with autism must prepare for the long and sometimes unsuccessful battle.
There won’t be any meds – they are simply useless. All they can do is terminate accompanied symptomatology. Social adaptation and psychiatry are the major methods of treating autism.
The main rules to follow:
- The treatment should be conducted not only in the specialized institution but also at home, in the kindergarten, and on the street. The parents will also have to visit a psychologist because it is not an easy task and affects their psychics as well.
- Choose an experienced and qualified psychiatrist who will be able to treat your child for a long time. Frequent changes in the doctor will only worsen the child’s condition.
- Repeat the same skills with your child every day, so that he or she would be able to do them on his or her own. But even after your child remembers – you need to come back to it from time to time.
- Since it is hard psychological work, parents should be able to take a rest. Once a year go on a vacation.
- Your child should stick to the daily routine.
- As parents, meet other autistic kids’ parents. This communication will make it easier for you to take care of your baby, and to be strong. There are special groups where parents share their experiences.
- Learn to attract your child’s attention and keep it. For that call his or her name as many times as needed without raising your voice.
- You must change the settings.
A long-term projection of the disorder is individual for every child. You can’t hope that in a week or so your kid will be like others. Treating children with autism is a whole-life job. While many kids start to communicate in two-three months, some may require years for that to happen.
So learn as much as you can, follow the rules above, don’t lose hope, and stay strong!
Born in Belarus, 1985, a pedagogue and family psychologist, mother. Taking part in procedures of social adaptation of the foster children in new families. Since 2015 is a chief editor of the motherhow.com project, selecting the best and up-to-date material for those, who are planning, expecting, and already having babies.