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Autism Spectrum Disorder is a developmental disorder that affects communication and behaviour. This can be diagnosed at any age. While people stop responding or reciprocating to social environment, they also excel in a few things like ability to learn things in detail and remembrance for long periods, become strong visual and auditory learners and may also excel in Maths, Science, Music or Art.
Difficulty in communication and interaction with other people (like making little eye contact; tending not to look at or listen to people; rarely sharing enjoyment of objects or activities; failing to respond; having difficulties in conversation; having facial gestures or expressions)
Restricted interest and repetitive behaviors (repeating words or phrases; echolalia)
Symptoms that hurt the person’s ability to function properly in school, work and other areas of life.
CAUSES& RISK FACTORS
Research suggests that genes act together with the environment to affect development that leads to ASD.
Family history: Families who have one child with autism spectrum disorder have an increased risk of having another child with the disorder.
Very low birth weight.
General developmental screening during checkups. Additional evaluation with developmental pediatrician; child psychologists; child psychiatrists; neuropsychologists; speech-language pathologist.
Diagnosing Adults with ASD, required clinician to go through a series of in-person observations and interactions, also taking into consideration any symptoms the person reports experiencing.
EVALUATION: Patients with ASD can be evaluated based on their
Age-appropriate skills like eating; dressing; toileting
Blood tests to rule out other associated disorders.
TREATMENT, THERAPIES & MEDICATIONS
Treatment should begin as early as possible after diagnosis.
Early treatment is key
Proper care reduces the individual difficulty and helps learn new skills
No single best treatment for ASD.
Right treatment program needed.
Medication should be taken as advised by doctors which can help reduce irritability, aggression, repetitive behavior, hyperactivity, anxiety and depression.
Behavioural; psychological and educational therapy is also required for skill-building interventions.