Autism is a neurological developmental disorder. In the most basic terms, it is a disorder that stems from damage to the nervous system. This damage causes abnormal brain functions which may affect a person’s learning ability, self-control, memory, and emotions.
Autism creates many challenges for an individual. There are different levels of autism but they do generally affect the same three functions; social interaction, communication, and behavior. If you suspect your child has autism (or any other type of behavioral problem), I would speak to his/her primary doctor.
If you’d like some guidance on what the warning sign for developmental/behavioral issues are click the link below: “When do you start seeing symptoms of Behavioral/developmental problems?”
Symptoms of Autism
May include, but are not limited to;
- Does not point at objects to show they are interested.
- Has trouble relating to others
- Has no interest in other people
- Avoids eye contact
- Has trouble understanding feelings (their own and others)
- Avoids being held or cuddled
- Unaware when someone is talking to them.
- Interested in people but doesn’t know how to interact (play, talk, relate)
- Has trouble expressing their needs
- Loses skills they have learned
- Unusual reaction to certain smells, taste, feeling, or sound
- Repeated actions
- Has trouble adapting to change
Treatment does not mean cure. As of right now, there is no known cure for autism; but there are treatments that can better a child’s lifestyle. Early intervention is important for children who showcase symptoms. It provides them with the opportunity to learn and integrate important skills.
Treatments include but are not limited to;
- Behavioral Therapy (link): The focused treatment of unhealthy/disruptive behaviors. Includes Training for parents.
- Medication: There is no medication that can treat the core symptoms of Autism, but they can help with some; such as depression, self-injury, seizures, anxiety, etc.
- Alternative Medicine: includes treatments such as dietary supplements and mind-body medicine
Lifestyle with Autism
Living with some with Autism can be difficult (depending on the severity of their condition). Finding the right resources to helping create a better quality of life for all individuals in a family is important. Early diagnosis is essential. It betters the outcome of intervention techniques. Life skills can be taught early-on when they are still able to retain learning/intervention techniques.
Life for someone who has autism can be very hard. The environment and everything inside of it cause reactions that we perceive as abnormal, but to them, these reactions are all they know. Once diagnosis and treatment are applied, the child can better deal with the environmental situations they are bound to face. Objective is independence
There are opportunities available to help your child lead a ‘normal’ life. Depending on your state there are different programs or living option, including;
- Governmental Institutions (jobs)
- Assisted living facilities
- Group Homes
- Family Care Homes
- Speech therapy: Assessment and Treatment that helps individuals overcome speech or language impairments.
- Physical therapy: Treatment focuses on improving motor skills, balance, coordination, strength, endurance, and cognitive processing.
- Occupational Therapy: Help individuals develop and improve daily living skills.
- Apply for ADA and SSD