APRIL IS AUTISM AWARENESS MONTH: The earlier the intervention, the better.
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APRIL IS AUTISM AWARENESS MONTH: The earlier the intervention, the better.

Autism is a complex mental condition and developmental disability, characterized by difficulties in the way a person communicates and interacts with other people.  (ASD stands for Autism Spectrum Disorder and can sometimes be referred to as Autistic Spectrum Disorder. In this text Autism and ASD mean the same.) 

Autism can be be present from birth or form during early childhood (typically within the first three years).·Scientists aren't certain about what causes ASD, but it’s likely that both genetics and environment play a role.  Researchers have identified a number of genes associated with the disorder.

People with autism have set of symptoms unique to themselves; no two people are the same. However there are  some common characteristics among people with the Disorder.
Briefly, these characteristics include:        

  • Failing to respond to their names and often avoid eye contact with other people. 

  • Having difficulty interpreting what others are thinking or feeling becausethey can’t understand social cues,such as tone of voice or facial expressions, and they don’t watch other people’s faces for clues about appropriate behavior.  They may lack empathy.

  • Many children with an ASD engage in repetitive movements such as rocking and twirling, or in self-abusive behavior such as biting or head-banging.

  • Children with Autism tend to start speaking later than other children. Some speak in a sing-song voice about a narrow range of favorite topics, with little regard for the interests of the person to whom they are speaking and may refer to themselves by name instead of “I” or “me.”.  

  • People with autism have problems interacting with others; autistic children do not have adequate playing and talking skills.

  • People with autism find it harder to show empathy to others although they can be taught to acknowledge the others feelings.

  • In some cases, autistic people do not like physical contact such as hugs, tickling or physical play with others.

  • Speech  can be affected in people with autism. 'Echolalia' is a typical speech symptom in which the person repeats words and phrases that they hear. The speech tone of an autistic person may be monotonous. Where symptoms are more extreme the person may not speak.

Unfortunately, There is no cure for ASDs. However, For many children, symptoms improve with treatment and with ageTherapies and behavioral interventions are designed to remedy specific symptoms and can bring about substantial improvement. 

 The ideal treatment plan coordinates therapies and interventions that meet the specific needs of individual children.  Doctors may prescribe medications for treatment of specific autism-related symptoms, such as anxiety, depression, or obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Therapists use highly structured and intensive skill-oriented training sessions to help children develop social and language skills, such as Applied Behavioral Analysis.  Family counseling for the parents and siblings of children with an ASD often helps families cope with the particular challenges of living with a child with an ASD. The earlier the intervention, the better.

 People with an ASD usually continue to need services and supports as they get older, but many are able to work successfully and live independently or within a supportive environment.

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