AUTISM: TIPS TO COPE WITH AN AUTIST CHILD
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurological and developmental disorder caused by discrepancies in the brain. That affects how people communicate, react with others, learn, and behave.
Scientists think there are various causes of ASD that act together to change the most common ways people develop.
ASD is found in people regardless of their gender, ethnicity, culture, or economic background.
According to a study conducted by the American Psychiatric Association that psychiatrists use to diagnose mental disorders, people with ASD often have:
- Problem to communicate and interact with other people
- Restricted interests and repetitious manners
- Symptoms that affect their ability to function in school, work, and other areas of life
Furthermore, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), ASD is founded more frequently in boys than in girls.
Signs and Symptoms:
- Seeming not to look at or listen to the people they are talking to.
- Inconsistent eye contact.
- Unresponsiveness or slowness in responding to an individual’s name or another verbal bid to attract attention.
- A problem in a back-and-forth conversation.
- Show facial expressions, movements, and gestures that do not correspond to what is being said or done.
- unusual sleep patterns
- An unusual tone of voice that may sound robot-like.
- Having trouble understanding another person’s point of view or being unable to predict or understand the actions of others.
- Difficulty changing behaviors in social situations.
- excessive worry or stress
- Problem participating in imaginative play or making friends.
What Are Causes and Risk Factors of ASD?
Researchers do not understand enough about the causes of ASD.
But studies and examinations suggest that a person’s genes can function together with aspects of their environment to impact development in ways that lead to ASD.
Furthermore, some factors that are associated with a raised likelihood of developing ASD include:
- Having older parents
- Having a sibling with ASD
- Metabolic imbalances
- Having certain genetic conditions (such as Down syndrome or Fragile X syndrome)
- Exposure to heavy metals and environmental toxins
- Maternal history of viral infections
- Having low birth weight
According to a study conducted by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), genetics and environment may determine whether a person develops ASD.
Are there tests to diagnose ASD?
- several screenings
- genetic tests
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises that all children undergo ASD screening at ages 18 and 24 months.
The Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (M-CHAT) is a standard screening tool many pediatric offices utilize.
Parents fill out the 23-question survey. Pediatricians can then utilize the answers to help recognize children who may have a raised probability of developing ASD.
It’s necessary to note that screening is not a diagnosis. Besides, screenings do not always recognize every child who’s autistic.
Other screenings and tests
Your child’s doctor may advise a variety of tests for autism, including:
- DNA test
- visual and audio tests to rule out any issues with vision and hearing that aren’t related to ASD
- occupational therapy screening
- behavioral evaluation
- developmental questionnaires, such as the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, Second Edition (ADOS-2)
A team of physicians conducts the diagnosis. This team may include:
- child psychologists
- occupational therapists
Recent treatments for ASD aim to diminish symptoms that take a part in day-to-day functioning and rate of life.
ASD impacts each person differently, meaning that people with ASD have unique strengths and challenges and different treatment needs. Treatment plans usually concern numerous experts and specialists who are catered to the individual.
Tips for parents who cope with an autist child:
- Provide structure and safety
- Be consistent
- Stick to a schedule
- Reward good behavior
- Create a home safety zone
- Look for nonverbal cues
- Figure out the motivation behind the tantrum
- Make time for fun
- Pay attention to your child’s sensory sensitivities.