Autism Definition

Autism Definition


What Is Autism?

Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder which emerges during the first three years of a child’s life. Its most significant symptoms are: impairments in communication and social interaction, along with limited, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, and activities. Typically, Symptoms of autism spectrum disorder can be diagnosed during the first three years of life; nevertheless, if the child was in a higher level and much more similar to his/her neurologically typical (neurotypical) friends, then the symptoms may not be identified until later in time. It must be noted that if a child is affected by severe developmental delays, this disorder will be diagnosable prior to 18 months old. Soon after birth, an autistic infant will appear different from other infants. Usually parents are the first ones to notice the differences between their child and other children. At first, parents may associate their child’s lack of response to environment with hearing disability; however, sometime they discover that their child’s hearing is perfectly fine, yet he is not responsive to social stimuli like his peers. At this point, parents should consult with a pediatrician or a clinical specialist whom has a background in childhood disorders. It must be noted that up until now, there hasn’t been a specific treatment for autism and any family belonging to any of the social and economic class could have an autistic child.


Autism Symptoms

Some behaviors that could arouse parents’ suspicions during the first three years are as follows:

  • No attachment to parents particularly to mother
  • No babbling
  • Stereotyped behaviors (such as; spinning, hand flapping, and waving hands in front of the eyes, etc.)
  • Meaningless playing with toys
  • Inability to engage in social games at a certain age
  • Toe walking
  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Showing interest in spinning devices (such as; washing machines, fans, and ventilators, etc.)
  • Inability to speak

It must be taken into consideration that having the abovementioned symptoms, does not necessarily point to autism disorder. However, if parents noticed some of these behaviors in their child, they should consult a related specialist.


Autism Outbreak

Autism Spectrum Disorder could emerge in any social and economic classes and ethnicities from all over the world. According to a survey conducted by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the U.S. in 2014, the outbreak of autism spectrum disorder has had a growth of 1.5 percent. Usually, this disorder appears in boys four times more than girls (1 in every 42 boys and 1 in every 189 girls).


Autism Causes

According to the existing notions on the etiology of autism spectrum disorder, it can be said that scientists haven’t been able to discover the exact cause of this disorder yet. However, they have incongruously agreed upon on several factors such as genetic factors, heredity, environmental problems, and life style which could have a rule in the occurrence of this disorder. The only thing that can be said with absolute certainty on this subject is that this disorder is accompanied with a deviation in the natural transformation of the nervous system (neural communication) during the early stages of growth (childhood).



 Autism Diagnosis

If parents are suspicious of their children’s behavior, they should promptly take their children to see a pediatric psychologist or psychiatrist. Obviously, psychologists or psychiatrists who have certain specialties but no prior experience in autism spectrum disorder, won’t be able to properly diagnose the disorder and make proper prescriptions for it. Therefore, in such cases, the child should be observed and evaluated carefully by an expert psychologist or an experienced psychiatrist. Ideally, to diagnose a child on autism spectrum disorder, he or she should be evaluated by a pediatric psychiatrist or a psychiatrist who has experience in this field.


Autism Treatment

Parents should know that “there’s no known cure for treating autism spectrum disorder” and medications only reduce the side effects of this disorder. “How autism disorder should be treated?” to answer this question, we must say that any measure which could result in the rehabilitation of the child or could prevent his or her symptoms from worsening, is considered a treatment. Accordingly, following a thorough evaluation, the child with autism spectrum disorder should receive a number of educational services and rehabilitations. These children are in need of essential trainings in the fields of behavior therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, social skills training, and also training and counseling along with parents. Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), Pivotal Response Treatment (PVT) and Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) are some of the existing medical approaches which could improve the conditions of autism spectrum disorder and reduce its syndrome. Nevertheless, the important matter is that interventions must be done for the child, parents, peers, educational centers, etc. Team training and comprehensive evaluations bear a significant importance as well.


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