It takes a lot of time and resources to take care of autistic children or relatives.
It is therefore paramount to understand what Autism is, what causes the condition and if there is any cure or treatment for the same.
Autism whose full name is Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a condition that develops when one is very young.
People with ASD usually perceive the world in a different way.
Their brain is affected and they have a problem socializing with other people.
Another symptom is that people with the condition also develop a limited, repetitive pattern in their behavior.
Since the condition has a wide range of symptoms and severity, it is referred to as Autism spectrum’ Disorder.
Usually, children with the condition will start to show the symptoms in their first year. Other children will develop the symptoms after 18 to 24 months.
What Causes Autism?
Unfortunately, the condition does not have any specific known cause.
Since the condition has a very wide range of severity and symptoms, there might be more than one cause of the diseases.
However, genetic and environmental factors might play a role.
Genes can be responsible for the condition in children.
Some genetic disorders like Rett syndrome as well as weak X syndrome might be responsible for the condition.
Additionally, genetic mutations or changes might be responsible for the condition.
Genes might also be responsible for disruption in brain cell communication or affect the development of the brain cell thus causing ASD.Some gene mutation are inherited while others occur on their own accord.
Some of the environmental factors that are thought to cause autism are complications during pregnancy, viral infections, or air pollution.
Treatment for Autism
Due to the wide spectrum of the severity and symptoms of the condition, there are different treatments to ASD.
A combination of therapies is used to treat ASDto improve fine motor skills, speech and behavior.
In addition to therapy, medication can also be used to treat the symptoms that accompany the disease.
Although treatments can vary, the goal is the same- to help the child learn and relative as best as they can to the people and environment around them.
Types of Treatments (Behavioral and Communication)
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)
This treatment is very common in people especially children with autism and is administered mainly in schools and clinics. The main goal of the treatment is to help the child learn positive behavior and shun negative tendencies.Applied Behavior Analysis involves the following treatments.
- Discrete Trial Training-in this case, simple lessons and positive reinforcement is used.
- Pivotal Response Training- very important in helping the patient to learn and communicate.
- Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention- this is a treatment that is well suited for children under the age of 5 years.
- Verbal Behavioral Intervention- it is a treatment that deals mainly with language skills.
Developmental, Individual Differences, Relationship-Based Approach (DIR)
DIR is also known as the floortime treatment.
It is so called because the treatment involves getting to the floor with the autistic child to engage in the activities they like.
The purpose of this treatment is to help the child grow intellectually and emotionally.
It also helps them learn how to communicate and also develop and express their emotions.
Treatment and Education of Autistic and Related Communication- Handicapped Children (TEACCH)
The treatment uses visual representations like picture cards to teach the child activities like getting dressed.
The trick of the treatment is to use small chunks of information to teach the child the skills you want them to learn.
Although children with autism play differently from other children, they none the less play and as such it is important to understand their play behavior.
They basically focus on specific parts of a toy instead on the whole toy itself.Additionally, they might not want to play with other children and they do not also like pretend play.
Apart from all this, children with ASD will usually express themselves through play.
They use their toys and actions to pass on a message.
Through play treatment, children with autism learn how to connect with other children and adults as well.
Additionally, play therapy is used by therapists to help autistic children develop their social interaction and communication skills.
Occupational Therapy Treatments
This is therapy that helps an autistic child to develop skills in various areas.
It involves activities like buttoning up or holding the fork.
It is also helpful in teaching the child other activities and skills like school work or play.
As earlier stated, each autistic child is unique and occupational therapy depends on the condition of a specific child.
As the name suggests, speech therapy is used to help the child with their communicative and interaction skills.
Speech therapy does not necessarily mean speaking, non-verbal skills,such as making eye contact, are also taught in this treatment.
The child is also taught how to be engaged in a conversation by responding when they are required to respond.
The therapy also involves teaching the child to recognize and respond to gestures.
The child is also taught how to express themselves through picture cues, computers and sign language.
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)
ABA is one of the most widely used treatment for ASD.
It works very well when it is used on children below the age of 5 years.
It also works equally well with children above the age of 5 years.
The treatment is used to teach children how to socialize, improve fine motor skills and speech.
The child is also taught how to increase their reasoning skills.
The treatment works best with positive reinforcement and observation.
However, ABA treatment has several drawbacks. First, it requires a one-on-one session between the therapist and the autistic child. Secondly, it is an expensive therapy.
For best results, it is best for a parent to learn this therapy so that they can continuously reinforce positive behavior in the autistic child.
Despite these drawbacks, the treatment is one of the best since it ensures that your child is suited better to interact with autistic and non-autistic people in the best way possible.
Autism is a disorder that mainly affects the brain causing a person to have a problem while interacting with other people and the surrounding environment.
Although the condition is incurable, there are different types of treatments available to help the person lead a better life.