Autism is a multidimensional term. The term autism doesn't refer to a specific condition but a wide range of conditions. Autism is also called autism spectrum disorder or ASD. The condition refers to a large number of abnormalities that are characterized by the challenges that the patient faces concerning social skills, non-verbal and speech communication, repetitive behaviors and so on.
Symptoms of Autism
Autism can be detected as early as the time when a child is 2-3 years old. Sometimes, the children exhibit signs of autism during their infancy. Some of the common symptoms include reduced eye contact, indifference to the caregivers and lack of response to the names. Sometimes, it may happen that a child's normal growth is suddenly interrupted by the sudden withdrawal of the skills that they have already acquired. However, there is no uniformity in the pattern of the symptoms. Some of the children face difficulty in learning and some have a lower level of intelligence. In some other cases, a child may have a normal level of intelligence but may face trouble in communicating and implying the knowledge they acquire in their everyday lives.
What Are the Causes of Autism?
No particular factor has been found responsible for causing Autism. There are a number of factors which may lead to the development of autism. It may either be caused due to genetics or due to environmental factors:
- There are a number of genes which are found to be responsible for causing ASD in an individual. Sometimes the genetic mutations may be inherited and sometimes, they may be spontaneous.
- Researchers have also come to conclude that a number of environmental factors may also be responsible for the occurrence of ASD. Some of the factors that are suspected to be responsible are complications during pregnancy, air pollutants, and viral infections and so on.
When to Seek the Assistance of A Doctor
Although all babies do not follow the exact timelines of growth which are found in the parenting books, the children who are suspected to have autism show abnormal delay before they are 2 years old. If the development of your child is not normal, or you suspect your child to have autism, you need to get in touch with a doctor as soon as possible. You know that your child has autism when there is an obvious delay in language skills and the ability to interact or your child is showing any of the symptoms stated above. Given below are some of the conditions in which you should try consulting a doctor for autism:
- If your child doesn't exhibit a happy expression of even smile by 6 months.
- If there is no facial expression or if your child doesn't mimic sounds by 9 months of age.
- If your child doesn't coo or babble by the time he is 12 months old.
- If the child doesn't show some gestures like waving or pointing by the time he is 14 months old.
- If the child doesn't start uttering single words by the time he is 16 months old or utter two-word phrases by the time he is 24 months old.
- If you see that your child is losing social skills or language skills.
There is one thing that has to be understood is that the earlier the condition is detected, the easier it becomes to improve the condition. Apart from that, make sure that you treat them gently and never make them realize about their abnormality.
Studies have shown that this disease is quite common most countries. Autism is influenced by an amalgamation of environmental and genetic factors. As the issues are varied, different people with autism face different kinds of challenges and have different kinds of strengths. It might also happen that some people suffering from ASD require constant support throughout their life, while some can perform most of their task without any help from others.