What is autism?
Autism syndrome is a psychological and mental illness. One of the diagnoses of the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) series. According to the observations of experts, in men it occurs 4-7 times more often than in women. Autistic people are rather closed, rarely make contact, shy and almost unemotional. It is difficult for them to adapt in society.
It happens that doctors make a diagnosis already in adulthood. The patient is usually greatly shocked by the medical conclusion, but after reflection, he understands why his life is somewhat different from the lives of other people.
People with autism are not just uncommunicative. They seem to live in their own world. Reality is bad for them.
Variations of the disease are different, so the degree of development of intelligence in such people varies from serious backwardness to genius.
Among people suffering from autism spectrum disorder, there are indeed many famous personalities: composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, film director Stanley Kubrick, singers Susan Boyle and Courtney Love, actor Anthony Hopkins.
What is autism in children, what are its signs and symptoms?
Autism Symptoms In children
You can observe the first signs of autism in children within a year after the birth of the baby. These include:
- Lack of eye contact with other people;
- Unwillingness to play elementary games;
- Lack of a smile.
They are then joined by:
- Lack of speech;
- Avoiding any communication;
- Tantrums for no reason;
- Inability to play role-playing games;
- Increased anxiety;
- The presence of certain peculiar rituals that the child refuses to get rid of;
- Extremely negative attitude to any changes;
- Monotonous physical activity: rocking, walking in a circle, etc.
Of course, this does not mean that the child has an unequivocal autism spectrum disorder. However, this is a serious reason to show it to the doctor.
Autism Symptoms In Teenagers
The pubertal period is complicated in itself – hormonal changes, mental maturation. It is hard even for a healthy child. What can we say about children with a diagnosis of autism. If autism in adolescents was not particularly noticeable before, now it will intensify:
- More noticeable tendency to loneliness;
- Fatigue even from minimal communication;
- Hypersensitivity to loud sounds, bright light;
- Misunderstanding and non-compliance with generally accepted social norms of behavior;
- Meager facial expressions;
- Possible manifestation of aggression, depression, panic attacks, seizures of epilepsy.
Autism Symptoms In adults
Autism also manifests itself in adults. Symptoms tend to get worse throughout life. If there is no correction, then a person has a hard time.
Autism in adults has the following features:
- Almost complete absence of emotions and facial expressions;
- Inability to communicate with others;
- Occasional severe irritability or outbursts of anger;
- Repeated repetition of certain phrases or movements;
- Do not like to look into the eyes;
- Small circle of interests;
- Lack of reflection of one’s own behavior;
- Difficult adaptation to any rules, often their complete rejection.
Causes of Autism
To date, scientists cannot reliably establish the causes of autism. Moreover, now more and more doctors are inclined to believe that autism is not a disease, but a syndrome, that is, a certain set of psychological and behavioral symptoms. Presumably they are provoked by:
- Failures in the genes;
- Organic lesions of the central nervous system;
- Hormonal disruptions;
- Metabolic disease;
- Viruses and infections;
- Passion for antibiotics;
- Exposure to harmful chemical compounds during pregnancy of the mother;
Doctors also suggest that some psychogenic factors lead to autism.
Autism Diagnosis pathogenesis
Due to the difficulties in finding the causes of autism spectrum disorders, it is also not possible to establish an accurate picture of the pathogenesis. For now, there are only theories. Among them:
- Impaired brain development after shortly after conception;
- An excessive number of neurons, leading to an excess of local connections in key areas of the brain;
- Failure of neuromigration at an early stage of development;
- Imbalance of excitatory-inhibitory neural networks;
- Violation of the formation of synapses and dendritic spines.
RAS syndrome is usually accompanied by a number of other diagnoses.
Forms and classification of autism
Here, autism is better considered in the system of autism spectrum disorders. It includes five types of violations:
|Type of violation||Description|
|Asperger’s Syndrome||has only mild|
|Classic autism (Kanner’s syndrome)||three levels: easy, medium and hard|
|atypical autism||mild and moderate degree|
|Rett syndrome||has moderate to severe|
|childhood disintegrative disorder||medium and severe damage|
If a child with Asperger’s Syndrome receives his diagnosis on time, he has a very good chance of a normal future. Yes, they still have problems with communication, but other symptoms are not so pronounced and can be corrected. They do not have severe speech problems.
Here the diagnosis has a mandatory link in the form:
- Repetitive movements;
- Problems with socialization;
- Lack of emotion.
At different stages – a different degree of severity.
As a rule, it manifests itself well after three years. Until that time, adults can write off the condition on the characteristics of character and temperament. Unlike the classical version of the disease, it has partial symptoms, when it is not all clearly expressed.
Often accompanied by mental retardation and affects mainly girls. The first months of a child’s life, the diagnosis does not manifest itself in any way. After six months, the baby’s muscle tone decreases, he begins to grow slowly, lose his usual skills. Epilepsy attacks, anxiety, breathing problems make themselves felt. After ten years, children are usually immobilized.
Childhood disintegrative disorder
Usually occurs in the third year of life. The child gradually loses speech, control over the work of his body, communication skills. All this eventually leads to deep mental retardation.
Complications in autism
ASD often occurs in conjunction with other diagnoses, which give their own complications. In general, the following consequences can be distinguished:
- Violation of behavior, sometimes the child cannot control himself;
- Decline in intelligence. Depending on the degree of damage, a person can lead a fairly normal life or become disabled;
- Sleep problems, comorbid mental disorders;
- Disruption of the gastrointestinal tract;
- Inability to recognize other diagnoses;
- Social maladjustment.
The final diagnosis can only be made by a psychiatrist. He will do this based on a series of diagnostic tests, observation of the child, parent interviews and examination. At home, it is problematic for a non-specialist to do this even on the basis of testing, which is easy to find on the Internet. The only thing that should definitely alert adults is the classic triad: the child’s avoidance of communication, frequent monotonous movements and speech delay.
All this is formed in the baby gradually, so the bulk of diagnoses are made at the age of 2-3 years.
There is no cure for autism, and it cannot be completely cured. You can only adjust throughout life.
Treatment of autism in children
The sooner a correct diagnosis is made, the better the outcome can be. Today, a lot of recommendations and methods have been developed to maximally adapt the child to life in society. Basically, such therapy is designed to teach children how to act in certain situations. Here it is important to understand one point: working with a small autistic child will give a positive result only with the combined efforts of parents, doctors and teachers.
Treatment of autism in adults
If the diagnosis of ASD is made already in an adult, then the treatment is based on the psychotherapy that corrects this or that symptom. Drug therapy is aimed at suppressing anxiety and eliminating depression.
How to live with an autistic child
A baby with such a diagnosis requires increased attention and care. Often one of the parents is forced to leave work in order to engage in the development of a son or daughter. There are a number of general recommendations for moms and dads raising a special child:
- A strict daily routine is required, which should not be violated;
- When accustoming a child to different skills, repeat the necessary actions as often as possible;
- Abrupt change of scenery – taboo;
- Try to communicate with the child as often as possible;
- If the baby allows, establish close bodily contact with him: hug, kiss, swing, touch him.
- It is forbidden to raise your voice and punish, especially physically;
- Allow the child to be alone for some time;
- Do not let him overwork;
- Support the baby’s initiatives;
- Do not rush the child;
- Try to promote the physical development of the child.
If the doctor prescribes any medications, it is important not to skip them. However, in no case do not prescribe medication yourself!
It is up to each family to decide whether a child has a disability or not. The main thing is that it is given for a period of either five years or more, or indefinitely until adulthood.
The decision to issue the status of a disabled person is made by a special commission. It looks at things like:
- Ability to live independently in society
- Opportunity to learn and earn
- Control yourself
Important! Before the question of disability registration arises, you need to undergo a course of treatment. Only in the case when its uselessness is clear, the doctor can offer such an option.
It is impossible to prevent autism. This is because the exact reason for its appearance is unknown. There is a chance to prevent complications and minimize the consequences of the development of the disease.
The diagnosis of autism has recently been heard more and more often, and modern medicine is not yet able to rid mankind of it. The autism spectrum is extensive both in terms of types and severity of the disease. However, with good therapy and proper correction, significant results can be achieved.