Autism In Children: Symptoms, Causes, And Treatment


What is autism spectrum disorder?

The classifications made are in constant modification, and the information in various sources often indicates classic autism. However, there is a whole host of disorders with different severities that are included in what are called ASDs. Autism is a group of disorders characterized by severe developmental deficiency, which is a permanent and profound deficiency, that affects socialization, communication, imagination and behavior, among others. The incidence is about 60 cases per 10,000 children.

Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are framed within neurodevelopmental disorders and are characterized by changes related to communication and social interaction, as well as by presenting fixed interests and repetitive behaviors. A few years ago a distinction was made between different types of autism, but now we tend to consider it as a whole and differentiate it according to its severity and the skills that affect it.

Internal changes in autism: Asperger’s syndrome and generalized developmental disorder

The Autism Federation of Spain affirms that when we talk about autism and people suffering from it, we are talking about a set of similar adaptations, but the explanation varies greatly in degree and form depending on each individual. Therefore, the idea of ​​taking autism as a continuous spectrum, rather than as a single category, helps us understand that we use common terms to talk about completely different people. We can say that if there are really great differences between different patients, then other disorders occur, and a lot happens in autism. Thus it can be said that there is autism, because each patient is unique. Thus autism is a group of disorders characterized by severe developmental deficits. They affect socialization, planning, and reciprocity, and sometimes cause repetitive or unusual behavior.

Mild and severe cases of autism in children

The degree of severity of autism varies widely. More severe cases are characterized by a lifelong absence of speech and highly repetitive, unusual, self-destructive, and aggressive behaviors. This behavior can persist for a long time and is very difficult to change. It thus becomes a huge challenge for those who must treat and educate these people, and mild forms of autism can be nearly imperceptible and often confused with shyness, inattention and perversion.

Symptoms of autism in children

One of the biggest difficulty’s doctors face is the usual delay in diagnosis. Although there is an increasing awareness among doctors and society in general, there are some factors that impede early diagnosis such as the individual variation of each child, fluctuation in all stages of development and doctors ’fear of making mistakes, as they are children of normal appearance and even some children have abilities Unique, therefore, there are no agreed diagnostic criteria for very young children (less than three years old). Additionally, many pediatricians do not have specialized training in these characteristics and need more knowledge of diagnostic tools. And we have some early signs that can make you doubt the diagnosis.

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In the first months of a child’s life

Babies are born with some skills, as they like to look at their faces and imitate some in synchrony movements and crying that informs what is happening to them. Young children are said to be communicative and social by nature. Babies before nine months can follow their mother’s gaze.

There are actually some early signs of autism that smile is scarce, they don’t respond to their name, and they have no visual follow-up. And they are often calm children, not demanding of anything.

Signs may appear such as not imitating or coding, such as feeding parents and dolls and putting them to sleep …), in addition to a lack of shared interest such as enjoying reading a story with the mother or father, not playing and sharing with other children, or not devoting attention to people.

These are early deficits that persist over time, perhaps because they are related to poor social learning.

Between the ages of 18 and 36 months

  • Signs such as apparent deafness appear, as the child does not respond to calls or directions. He seems to hear some things and not others.
  • Family members do not chase around the house or raise his arms when his family wants to take him out of bed. Where he seems to ignore his family.
  • When taken with children or to a park, he does not smile or be happy to see adults.
  • He is not pointing with his finger and looking at the adult to verify that he is also looking where he is pointing.
  • He does not point with a finger to share experiences or question.
  • He has difficulty making eye contact, he barely does so and when he looks at times he appears to be staring as if there is nothing in front of him.
  • He doesn’t look at people or what they’re doing.
  • When he falls, he does not cry?
  • He is overly independent.
  • It reacts disproportionately to some stimuli (and is very sensitive to some sounds).
  • He does not react when they call him by name.
  • He prefers to play alone.
  • He does not say goodbye to anyone.
  • He cannot play with dolls.

From 36 months and over

  • He tends to ignore children of his age, neither plays with them nor seeks to interact with them.
  • Presenting a repetitive game and using things and games inappropriately, such as constantly rotating things, playing with pieces of paper in front of the eyes, aligning things … etc.
  • He may have stylized or repetitive motions such as clapping with his hands, jumping, swinging, walking on tiptoe … etc.
  • Absence of articulation, which happens frequently, without any clear meaning, and with an inappropriate tone of voice. He does not say things he has said before.
  • He does not like imitation.
  • Avoids form and contact.
  • He seems comfortable when he is alone and has trouble accepting changes in his routine.
  • He has an unusual association with some beings.
  • He has many tantrums.

If any of the following symptoms appear, it is necessary to consult a specialist

  • Doesn’t speak or show any attention or interaction with people at 12 months.
  • Doesn’t say isolated words at 16 months old.
  • Doesn’t say complete sentences at 24 months old.
  • Loss of acquired skills at any age.

Causes of autism

It is not possible to determine a single cause that explains the emergence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), but it is the strong genetic effects that can lead to this disease. As explained by the Autism Federation in Spain, the great variability found in this type of disorder also indicates the importance of the interaction between different genes and different environmental factors in the development of ASD, but at the present time these elements have not been clearly defined, and there is still a need for Lots of research on this topic. It is also not known with certainty (except in very specific cases in which the responsible genes have been identified) to what extent the genetic origin is responsible for transmitting the disease from generation to generation or which is symptomatic as a result of a genetic infection that occurs at the time of fertilization or during pregnancy.

Prevention of autism in children

Because of ignorance of the causes of autism, it became nearly impossible to prevent it. However, early diagnosis and knowledge of the disease can contribute to its prevention.

But above all, a committed family environment must be in place to treat this problem, and with the help of the right professionals, they can make a contribution to treating people with autism.

Can autism be cured?

There is no cure for autism. He accompanies the individual throughout his life. Behavioral therapies have been approved to reduce specific symptoms that can provide a significant improvement in quality of life. It coordinates the ideal treatment plan. In addition to treatments and interventions that cover the specific needs of children at the individual level, the most effective type of intervention is psychological education provided by psychiatrists, educational psychologists, speech therapists, etc.

Thus, early treatment greatly relieves symptoms in many cases, and is essential for children to develop their social skills and adapt their behavior. A late diagnosis is often associated with associated problems such as eating disorders, anxiety or depression.