Lotus Psychiatry and Wellness Center

LotusWhat is Autism?

What is Autism?

What is autism

Autism is a complex neurological condition that impacts how children communicate and interact with others, often starting early childhood and lasting throughout their lives. Children diagnosed with autism also often struggle with additional health conditions like anxiety or depression.

Autism is a hidden disability and cannot be easily diagnosed simply by looking at someone. But there are signs to look out for when diagnosing autism.

Developmental screening

Doctors can assess children’s development through routine physical exams. Next, the physician may refer them to an appropriate specialist – be it developmental pediatrician or child psychologist – who will then conduct an autism evaluation and provide full autism assessment results.

Autism usually manifests itself before age 2, with symptoms including social-communication problems, repetitive behaviors or interests, or restricted activities. Autism tends to affect boys more than girls. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one out of every 36 eight-year-olds have autism; its prevalence has been rising annually likely due to better screening practices and awareness campaigns.

Autism cannot be accurately diagnosed using one single test; doctors typically refer to a medical book called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders as their reference point, comparing a child’s behavior with that of children their own age, as well as interviewing parents about changes they have witnessed over time in terms of development or behaviour changes.

Vaccines

There is no clear correlation between vaccines and autism. This debate began with a 1998 Lancet article from British researchers speculating that MMR vaccine caused autism; later retracted due to allegations of fraud by lead researcher. Over time, some have also speculated that preservative called thimerosal, used until early 2000 in various childhood vaccines, caused autism due to its mercury-containing components which damage brain cells.

Experts today agree that neither vaccines nor other medical procedures cause autism, though their exact causes remain unknown. It is thought that genes and the environment both play a role. Children born prematurely often exhibit problems in the digestive tract or other health concerns which make life harder, making eye contact difficult and communication challenging compared with typical kids. They usually begin showing symptoms by age 2 or 3 with trouble learning new information and developing differently than typical kids do.

Diagnosis

Children usually undergo screening for autism at their 9-, 18- and 24-month checkups with a pediatrician; if there are concerns, however, they’ll be seen by someone specializing in autism disorders or providing evaluations of children with disabilities.

These doctors will observe your child’s interactions with both themselves and others, including eye contact or smiles towards others. Additionally, they’ll look into your family history, such as whether anyone else in their extended family shows signs of autism.

People with autism tend to develop unique interests. These might range from playing with certain toys, reading about specific topics, or engaging in repetitive behaviors such as rocking their bodies, spinning their hair or humming to themselves – acts often done as self-calming mechanisms or distraction from worries – known as stimming. Although others might find these behaviors hard to comprehend, they don’t always cause issues.

Treatment

Treatment for autism focuses on helping those affected learn, communicate and interact with one another. While there are various therapies, applied behavioral analysis (ABA) remains one of the most frequently employed. ABA works to teach new behaviors while replacing negative ones; some individuals with autism respond well while others may not; it’s best to discuss any possible therapies with your doctor first before making any decisions regarding this matter.

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) patients may suffer from additional medical conditions, including anxiety or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Medication can help alleviate some symptoms associated with ASD while simultaneously treating other problems that arise alongside ASD.

Speech and physical therapy to develop communication or motor skills; occupational therapy for learning daily living skills; cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT); as well as medications used for behavioral issues or sleep disorders can all be treatments.

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