Autism spectrum disorder

Shria Abrol

The most interesting people you’ll find are ones that don’t fit into your average cardboard box. They’ll make what they need, they’ll make their own boxes. Let’s understand the world of children with autism who make their own boxes.
Autism spectrum disorder is also known as ASD. ASD is reported to occur in all racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups and is significantly more common among boys than girls. To make it simple we can call ASD a complex developmental disorder but it can also cause problems with thinking, feeling, language and the ability to relate to others. Autism is usually first diagnosed in childhood. About 1 in 68 children is diagnosed with autism according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Roughly 23 of every 10,000 children in India have autism. Autism has three components to it that is impaired social interaction, communication and repetitive behaviour or restricted behaviour.
Early signs of Autism
Its very important to look out for early signs of autism as early intervention is the key to make children with autism independent. Children with autism fail to respond to his or her name or appears not to hear their name being called. He have poor eye contact and seems to prefer playing alone, retreats into his or her own world.The child may lack facial expressions.The child doesn’t speak or has delayed speech.Doesn’t express emotions or feelings and appears unaware of others’ feelings. The child may repeat words or phrases verbatim but doesn’t understand how to use them. There are a lot of sensory issues as well . For diagnosis of ASD an assessment from a psychologist and child psychiatrist is mandatory.
Patterns of behaviour
Behaviour of children with autism is a little different and therefore you will find the child to Perform repetitive movements, such as rocking, spinning or hand-flapping, or may perform activities that could cause harm, such as head-banging. The child can also develop specific routines or rituals and becomes disturbed at the slightest change.The childmay be fascinated by details of an object, such as the spinning wheels of a toy car.Usually children engage in make believe play but children with autism does not engage in imitative or make-believe play. Children with autism may be unusually sensitive to light, sound and touch, and yet oblivious to pain.
ASD has no single cause
A lot of parents want to know the cause of ASD, well there is no single cause as research is still going on but of course there are genetic and environmental factors behind it as autism is on the rise.
Genetic problems: Several different genes appear to be involved in autism spectrum disorder. For some children, autism spectrum disorder can be associated with a genetic disorder, such as Rett syndrome or fragile X syndrome. For others, genetic changes may make a child more susceptible to autism spectrum disorder or create environmental risk factors.
Environmental factors: Researchers are currently exploring whether such factors as viral infections, complications during pregnancy or air pollutants play a role in triggering autism spectrum disorder.
Being a child counsellor most common question I face is what is the treatment or cure of autism, well children are not typically cured nor do they outgrow autism, studies have shown that symptoms can improve with early diagnosis and treatment. There is no single treatment for autism. Treatments can include intensive skill-building and teaching educational sessions, known as Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA), and many more interactive, child-centered versions of behaviour treatments. Treatment may also involve special training and support for parents, speech and language therapy,occupational therapy etc.
Autism may not be curable but children with autism can learn with right guidance and support and we need to remember what makes a child gifted and talented may not always be good grades in school, but a different way of looking at the world and learning. Negative words carry negative vibration and positive words carry positive vibration. So lets not label children with autism because autism is as much a part of humanity as is the capacity to dream .
(The author is Counsellor for Jodhamal Public School)