Autism is also known as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) which is a collective range of pervasive neurodevelopmental disorder. It’s an umbrella term covering many other neurodevelopmental disorders like Asperger Syndrome, Rett Syndrome and many more. Individuals with this often experience difficulty in Social, Cognitive and Behavioural abnormalities, disturbances in communication along with restricted repetitive patterns of behavior and activities. Developmental delays are common among Indian children under 10.

 About 1 in 100 children in India under age 10 has autism, and nearly 1 in 8 has at least one neurodevelopmental condition. The estimates are based on the first rigorous study of its kind in the country. Roughly 23 of every 10,000 children in India have autism, according to the first rigorous estimate of the country’s autism prevalence.   

 Symptoms can be identified at the earliest of 1-2 years age and the cause is not yet known exactly but perceived to be hereditary and certain gene mutations are responsible. Long term problem for individuals with this disorder is facing difficulty in doing daily tasks, creating a healthy stable lifestyle, forming and sustaining relationships. 

 We tend to observe our loved one behaving in an unexpected and abnormal way, sometimes we decided to wait a little longer mistaking it to be a phase which goes away after a period of time and then the behaviours persisted and tend to not change or sometimes worsen. Seeking support at the right time helps to identify……Prognosis and treatment at right times alleviates and improves quality of life reducing effects of the disorder.  

What are the most common sign and symptoms that we can observe in Autism?

There are two categories of symptoms that we can mainly observe

 1. Communication and interaction related issues 

 2. A certain behavior patterns

1. Social Communication related problems includes

• Maintaining poor eye contact and lack of facial expression while communicating

• Delayed speech or does not talk at all 

• Does not understand questions or directions 

• Gets aggressive or disruptive too soon 

• Does not respond to his or her name 

• Repeats words or phrases 

• Resists touch like cuddling or hugging

2. Patterns of behavior

 • Repetitive moments like hand shaking, spinning or rocking 

• Difficulty in body movement coordination 

• Highly sensitive to light , sound and touch 

• Self-harming and head banging behavior 

• Specific likes and dislikes in food and follows certain pattern  

Where can I get autism screening? 

 Early intervention can make a huge difference in the children with autism and screening, the first 3 years are becoming increasingly common for the standard care. 

 There is no genetic, blood or other laboratory tests that can confirm an autism diagnosis. Instead medical providers use standardized assessment tools and procedures for the identification and evaluation of children at risk of ASD  

Tools used most commonly to identify and evaluate are

• The Ages and stages questionnaire

• ARI’s diagnostic checklist

• Modified checklist for autism in toddlers

• The autism treatment and evaluation checklist (ATEC) 

What’s the importance of early intervention in Autism?  

 With early intervention, some children with autism make so much progress that they are no longer on the autism spectrum when they are older. Many of the children who later go off the spectrum have some things in common: 3 A higher intelligence quotients (IQ, a measure of thinking ability) than the average child with autism. 

 One such program is Applied Behavior Analysis therapy, also known as ABA therapy. ABA therapy is backed by research and proven to be an effective treatment for children with autism if intensive and well-structured.

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