Autism: How much do you know about this disorder?

By Gabriel Blessing on 25/04/2015

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Autism is a complex neuro development disorder that causes a lifelong developmental disability in children. Children with autism can display a wide range of symptoms, which varies in severity from mild to disabling. Below are defining features of Autism

1. Impaired verbal communication, including problems using and understanding languageInability to participate in a conversation, even when the child has the ability to speak2. Impaired non-verbal communication, such as gestures and facial expressions3. Problem with social interaction, including relating to people and to his or her surroundings4. Difficulty making friends and preferring to play alone5. Unusual ways of playing with toys and other objects, such as only lining them up a certain way6. Difficulty adjusting to changes in routine or familiar surroundings, or an unreasonable insistence on following routines in detail7. A pattern of repetitive behaviour with narrow, restricted interests.

A number of other associated symptoms frequently co-exist with Autism. Autism begins in early childhood, although the diagnosis of autism may not be noticed until a child reaches pre-school or school age, the signs and symptoms of autism maybe apparent by the time the child is aged 12-18 months and the behavioural characteristics of autism are almost always evident by the time the child is aged 3 years. Language delay in the pre-school age ( younger than 5 years) is typically the presenting problem for more severally affected children with autism. Higher functioning children with autism are generally identified with behavioural problems when they are aged approximately 4-5 years or with social problems later in childhood. 
Autism persists throughout the person's life,  although many people are able to learn to control and modify their behaviour to an extent. 
Autism has no single cause. No research has been conclusive into what the underlying cause is. One research identified a number of genes that play a role in the disorder whereas another research found abnormalities in several regions of the brain. These abnormalities suggest that autism results from disruption of normal brain development in early foetal development.  

Tips on how to help children with Autism
1. Learn about the disorder, study research works on Autism. Of course you can only help someone when you have adequate information about the problem. So, as a parent, arm yourself with such information. 
2.  Study your child's behavioral pattern, pay attention to the kind of sounds they make, their facial expressions, and the gestures they use when they’re tired, hungry, or want something. With such knowledge, you can develop methods of having fun with your child as you build on his interest. This requires your consistency while ensuring that you don't spank or scold him as that will push the child back to his shell.
3.Positive reinforcement can go a long way with children with autism, so make an effort to “catch them doing something good.” Praise them when they act appropriately or learn a new skill, being very specific about what behavior they’re being praised for. Also look for other ways to reward them for good behavior, such as giving them a sticker or letting them play with a favorite.
4. Actively engage your child's attention in highly structured activities.
As a parent, you owe your child the best care ever. It is your responsibility to ensure that a child suffering from Autism is helped. As was clearly stated, it is a neurodevelopment disorder, hence, no child who manifest symptoms should be  condemned. But rather, we should show them love and understanding.


Posted on April, 25 2015

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