A child with autism may not show the same behaviour as their peers. These children display behaviours which are not only challenging for them but also for people around them and they simply find other’s behaviour confusing.
Autism also addressed as an Autism spectrum disorder (this name was adopted in 2013), is a neuro-developmental disorder. The distinguishing features are repetitive and restricted patterns of behaviour along with a problem in communication and interaction. Autism is more obvious by the age of 2 years. It is 4 times more common in boys as compared to girls. Having said that girls are many times misdiagnosed.
Symptoms of Autism:
Though the symptoms of autism are clearly visible by the age of 2, there are instances when it can be recognised earlier as well.
In 18 months old:
- The child does not show attachment with the primary caregiver
- Do not smile or this milestone is late
- Do not show an urge to be picked up or being cuddled
- Do not look people in the eye
- Performs repetitive motions such as rocking, spinning in circles or flapping their hands
- Do not like any change in their surroundings or routine
In 18 – 48 months old:
- Like to be alone
- Do not approach their caregiver for comfort even when tired, hurt or ill
- Do not look at people in the eye
- Do not imitate
- Are unaware of people’s presence
- Has delayed milestones
- Has problems in comprehension and communication
- The first words are late and unusual
- Shows repetitive movements like clapping and flapping of hands
- Spins objects in odd ways
- Shows distress even over a slight change in environment
- Shows an unreasonable demand in following the routines
- Difficulty in toilet training
- Has fears and learning disability
What causes Autism:
The main cause of autism is still a mystery. Autism a neurodevelopmental condition is still being investigated for the causes. However, some studies show that autism is caused by various factors like genes and environmental triggers. These affect the way a child’s brain develops.
- Genes: Researchers believe that the genes a child gets from his/her parents could make them prone to autism. This is known as genetic predisposition. Autism is considered to run in families, though scientists are still trying to figure out the genes which are involved. Some signs of autism may be seen in rare genetic syndromes like Wiliams syndrome and Fragile X syndrome.
- Environmental Triggers: The likelihood of having autism may increase in case the baby is premature, lack of oxygen at the time of birth and exposure to alcohol or certain medications like sodium valproate when in the womb.
You should know that if your child has autism you should not feel guilty. Also, the following do not cause autism:
- Diet of the mother
- The way the father and mother have been raised
- Maternal infections during pregnancy
- Mercury compounds which are used as preservatives in vaccines
Theme Reveal, B – Bronchiolitis, C – Celiac Disease, D – Dyslexia, E – Eating Disorders, F – Fever, G – GERD, H – Hand Foot And Mouth Disease (HFMD), I – Imaginary Friends, J – Juvenile Arthritis, K – Kawasaki Disease, L – Leukaemia, M – Meningitis, N – Neuroblastoma, O – Omphalitis, P – Pica, Q – Q Fever, R – Retinoblastoma, S – SIDS, T – Tetanus, U – Urinary Tract Infection, V – Vomiting, W – Wilms’ Tumour, X – Xeroderma Pigmentosum, Y – Year-Round Allergies, Z – Zika Virus