FAQ's on Autism

1. What is Autism?

Autism is considered a spectrum disorder because symptoms and severity vary from individual to individual. Autistic children express differently from each other. Autism is characterized by failure of the child to develop communicative language or form proper social communication. But they show motor and other skills far beyond that of a mentally retarded child.

Autism is characterized by varying degrees of impairment to develop communicative language or form proper social communication. Some of them are obsessively pre occupied with inanimate objects such as lights, running water or spinning objects, and also by repetitive behaviors. Symptoms range from mild to severe. Some of them gradually develop extreme talents such as in mathematics and these are retained mostly throughout the life. Studies of people with autism have found abnormalities in several regions of the brain which suggest that autism results from a disruption of early fetal brain development

There is a milder form of the disorder known as Asperger's Syndrome. Other developmental disorders that fall under the Autism Spectrum Disorders are Rett's Syndrome, PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified), and Childhood Disintegrative Disorder. If you have concerns about your child's development, don't wait: speak to your doctor about getting your child screened for autism.

2. What is meant by "On the spectrum"?

Autism is considered a spectrum disorder because symptoms and severity vary from individual to individual. Though the Autistic children show similar traits they are individual and express differently from each other. one child may have not developed speech and have difficulty in learning how to read and write, where as another child can easily read and write and can be attending normal school. Some children may display hypersensitivity to touch noise and other may have no sensory issues at all.

3. How common is autism?

According to the survey by Centers for Disease Control, autism affects as many as 1 in every 100 children and it is rising by 10-15% every year. It is the most prevalent developmental disorder in today's time. Boys are more susceptible than girls to develop Autism but it is seen that girls manifest a more severe form of the disorder that the boys.

4. How do I know my child is Autistic?

No two children with autism are alike, each one managing a different set of symptoms. But there are some signs and symptoms that are common and may be recognized as early as the toddler years, or even sooner. They usually do not have or do not sustain eye contact and have trouble communicating with other people or they may communicate in ways that others cannot easily understand. They may hardly speak and even if they speak it's just babbling and not coherent. They're also prone to repetitive behaviors like flapping their hands constantly or uttering the same phrase over and over again. They may also be over sensitive to sights, sounds and touch.

Criteria for Autism

A total Of 6 or more items of the following with at least 2 from [1], and one each from [2] and [3] are satisfied by the patient: [1] Qualitative impairment in social interaction: Marked impairment in facial expression Failure to develop peer relationships A lack of spontaneity in sharing interests Lack of social or emotional reciprocity [2] Qualitative impairment in communication: Marked inability to initiate or sustain conversation with others. [3] Restricted, repetitive and stereotyped pattern of behavior Encompassing preoccupation with one stereotyped and restricted pattern.

5. How did my child develop autism?

No one is yet able to point to a probable cause. Though a disorder as common as autism would have a known cause, in many ways it's still quite mysteriously not known. Recent studies have suggested a strong genetic basis for autism. There are about 20 sets of genes that may play a part in the development of autism. Genes are not the only one responsible for all the cases; there are other triggers which are yet not discovered.

6. Does vaccination cause autism ?

Many studies have been conducted to determine if a link exists between vaccination and increased prevalence of autism, with particular attention to the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and those containing thimerosal. These studies have not found a link between vaccines and autism It remains possible that, in cases, immunization might trigger the onset of autism symptoms in a child with an underlying medical or genetic condition.

As this is a sensitive topic it is best to discuss it with your healthcare provider who will guide you and ensure the optimal well-being of the child. Establishing open communication and trust with a physician who understands each child and his or her family is the best strategy for keeping a child healthy.

7. What help my child needs if He/She is Autistic?

Do not Panic first understand and learn about Autism from the right source that can be your doctor. You will need a good team of doctors, therapists, psychologists and teachers who understand and have experience with autism and can respond to his needs appropriately. Your healthcare provider can guide you toward various intervention programs and suggest complementary therapies. It also helps to associate with the existing network of parents facing the same challenges as you.

8. How to I deal with the diagnosis of Autism?

It is difficult to come to terms with the diagnosis that your child is having Autism but there is always a brighter side to every adversity. As we know the Autistic children have some special capabilities which the normal kids may not pocess.For e.g. some of the children we saw one was having a extraordinary power to memorize things only after reading once, one of them was brilliant in drawing and another in playing musical instrument. So do not blame your self or feel sad or hopeless. Take the right steps understand the disorder and if take care from your healthcare provider who will guide you with the exact nature of the disorder and how to deal with it. Keep the faith.

9. What therapies do I need for my child with Autism?

There are various therapies that are useful some of them are :

Speech Language Therapy (SLT) Occupational Therapy (OT) Sensory Integration Physical Therapy (PT) Social Skills Picture Exchange Communication system Auditory Integration Therapy

10. What role Homeopathy plays in Autism?

Homeopathy is a holistic treatment and it plays a vital role in treatment of Autistic children. With the Constitutional Homeopathic treatment we can achieve increased level of concentration, decrease in hyperactivity and channeling of the energy in a constructive method. Homeopathic remedies act at the level of the Psycho Neuro endocrinal axis. Homeopathic treatment is safe and without side effects.

11. Can Autistic children become independent?

Yes Autistic children can become independent with the right intervention programs, therapy and proper care from the early stages once the child is detected with Autism. A sustained effort is needed to achieve the desired outcome from therapy and treatment. As Autistic children are having special capabilities which when nurtured properly can be a great asset in making the individual independent.

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