Explaining Autism to Kids and Adults
Explaining autism to children and adults can be challenging, but it’s essential to remember that autism is a spectrum. Every individual with this condition varies significantly: some might flap their hands or stim publicly while others thrive with high-functioning careers such as Temple Grandin’s.
Researchers believe autism to be caused by unstable genes; however, its risk factors can range widely. They include complications during gestation or delivery; rare genetic disorders; certain medicines; metabolic problems like untreated phenylketonuria; and complications during delivery or pregnancy.
Autism affects many different aspects of everyday life for its sufferers, from difficulty reading facial expressions to body language to understanding tones of voice, difficulty making friends or “fitting in”. Autism symptoms may range from mild to severe and affect people from all ethnicities and socioeconomic groups – four times more likely in males than females.
Many individuals with autism possess high IQs but still struggle with daily activities, often experiencing difficulty with social interactions and being unable to work or live on their own.
Doctors typically diagnose autism in children by performing a developmental evaluation. This process resembles that of an annual physical, but in this instance the doctor will pose questions or administer tests designed to understand how a child interacts with other people and whether there are any repetitive behaviors present. They may also wish to meet with parents or other caregivers in order to gain more information regarding a child’s history.
Autism diagnosis rates have seen a dramatic surge in recent years due to better testing and awareness efforts, though its diagnosis can often prove challenging as those living with autism act so differently from one person to the next.
Doctors use various tests and methodologies to make a diagnosis. They examine an individual’s strengths, differences from others and difficulties before considering other possible causes such as intellectual disability or language delay. It’s crucial that doctors diagnose early as this will increase quality of life.
CDC advises parents who have any doubts or questions regarding the development of their child, including autism. Although some online questionnaires can give an initial indication, if your child may have autism it’s best to meet with a healthcare professional for an official assessment.
Some parents fear vaccines cause autism, but experts don’t support this belief. Vaccinations are safe for everyone – including young children – and protect against serious diseases such as measles and tetanus.
Autism treatment options range from developmental therapies that focus on speech, language and social skills development; cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and social skill training to medication that may help manage symptoms like anxiety or hyperactivity.
Some individuals living with autism utilize complementary and alternative therapies, including special diets, herbal supplements, animal therapy, art therapy or mindfulness practices. Parents or caregivers should discuss these treatments with their physician prior to making decisions based on them.
People living with autism are at a greater risk for co-occurring mental health conditions, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), mood instability or repetitive behaviors that might indicate obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Therapy may help manage these conditions; BetterHelp offers services that connect you to licensed, accredited therapists specialized in treating autism as well as other mental illnesses at reasonable rates covered by insurance plans.
Support services or charities in their community may offer assistance in order to curb negative behaviors and enhance social skills. People seeking assistance can obtain it from their doctor, community services or charities in the area.
People with autism can often have difficulty comprehending the thoughts or emotions of others, making friendship formation and relationships challenging. Daily tasks, such as using the toilet or cooking, may also present difficulties. They may also be highly sensitive to noise or light levels – this could create problems when in noisy or bright places and they may require headphones or masks as protection from such stimuli.
Many individuals with autism also struggle with other health issues, such as excessive stress and anxiety, obsessive behaviors, sensory issues and depression. Some may suffer from multiple disorders at once (known as “comorbidity”) which may impair how they perform at school or work or their relationships with others.