Autism spectrum Disorder

Autism or Autism spectrum Disorder (ASD) refers to a group of disorders that may cause significant challenges in language, communication and social interaction and by restricted repetitive activities and interests. These Challenges occur in a wide range of situations.

Autism spectrum Disorder encompasses autistic disorder, Asperger syndrome, Childhood disintegrative disorder, and pervasive development disorder.

Autism spectrum Disorder is characterized by

1) Deficits in social communication and social interaction

2) Restricted repetitive behaviors, interests and activities

Autism spectrum Disorder is a neurodevelopmental disorder that arises from atypical brain development. So core features usually appear by the age of 2 or 3 years in early childhood, although they may or may not be always apparent in early years of child’s development. Autism Spectrum disorder can be diagnosed as early as 18 months of child life.

The Core features of Autism spectrum Disorder are –

  • Impaired Social interactions
  • Delayed or disordered language
  • Repetitive Behaviors
  • Restricted Range of interests and behavior

Impaired Social interactions

Children with Autism are usually unable to form emotional relationships with people. They appear to dislike being kissed or picked up. A characteristic sign is gaze avoidance i.e. the absence of eye to eye contact.

Delayed or disordered language –

Speech may develop late or may never appear. This lack of speech is a manifestation of a severe cognitive defect. Some children are talkative, but their speech can be a repetitive monologue rather than a conversation with another person.

The cognitive deficit also affects non verbal communication and play.

Restricted Range of interest and behavior –

Obsessive desire for sameness is a term often applied to children with ASD stereotyped behavior, and to distress if there is a change in environment. For example, they insist on eating the same food repeatedly, on wearing the same clothes, or on engaging in repetitive games. Some are fascinated by spinning toys. Odd behavior and mannerisms are common in kids with autism.

Intelligence level –

Cognitive difficulties are very common and some form of intellectual disability is identified in 25-30% of number individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Among high functioning individuals, the opposite pattern may occur.

PREVALANCE RATE OF AUTISM

Children who are under the high risk to be diagnosed for Autism spectrum Disorder are:-

  • 1. The CDC survey determine approx. 1 in 59 children is diagnose with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
  • 2. Autism Spectrum Disorder is Four or Five times prevalent in boys than in girls
  • 3. More than half of children Autism Spectrum Disorder have one or more chronic sleep disorder.
  • 4. One-third of people with autism are nonverbal.
  • 5. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity disorder symptoms are seen in 30 to 61% of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • 6. There is no medical detection for Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • 7. Early Intervention programs can improve communication, language & social communication skills.

How to suspect Autism in kids?

Children who are under the high risk to be diagnosed for Autism spectrum Disorder are:-

  • Limited or No eye contact
  • Repetitive behaviors (flapping, Spinning, bouncing)
  • Repetitive words or phrases
  • No response of name calling
  • No common interest
  • No meaningful communication
  • Limited vocabulary
  • No pointing or indexing to objects.
  • No socializing, no waving.
  • No pretend play
  • Over or under reactions to smell, touch, sound,
  • Loss of language or social skills at any age.
  • Difficulty understanding other’s feeling
  • Staring a light or objects

DIFFERENTIAL DIAGNOSIS

Autism Spectrum Disorder represents a broad phenotype, but it should be distinguished from the following-

  • Neurodevelopmental disorders (e.g. language disorders)
  • Communication disorders
  • Intellectual disability
  • Conditions in which there is developmental regression
  • Deafness

How Autism Spectrum Disorder are Diagnosed?

Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder can usually be diagnosed by the age of 2 years. Early intervention can reduce or prevent the impact severity associated with Autism Spectrum disorder.

To diagnose autism, developmental history, ASD observational assessments, and standardized individual assessments should be undertaken. Certain factors need to be considered while assessing-

  • Cognitive (Thinking, Learning & problem-solving)
  • Communication (talking, listening & understanding)
  • Social/Emotional skills (peer group interaction, feeding, happy, sad)
  • Self-Help (Eating, dressing)
  • Associated medical conditions (epilepsy, sleep disorder)

Early Identification leads to best Intervention

Early diagnosis is the key to successful early intervention. Babies who are detected early can access further testing quickly and parents can access support and information. Children whose problems are identified early & begins with early intervention strategies before six months of age, have the best chance of developing age appropriate speech and language.

As Babies begin to learn things right from the time they are in the womb of their mother. It is advised not to waste critical time. Critical Period for developing the ability for spoken language is from 0-3 years. At that stage, the brain has the maximum neural Plasticity. The child too must learn early to grow up with the hearing aids/cochlear implant (CI) and accept them easily. Most importantly, children learn to make use of their residual hearing and acquire speech and language faster if they start earlier. Starting at an older age, not only slows down the ability to learn and speak, it can severely jeopardise.

The programmes are especially designed for Babies/ Infants / Toddlers diagnosed with any developmental delays. It provides them early training to identify and understand the sounds around them.

MANAGEMENT

The management of Autism Spectrum Disorder often needs to consider a number of key areas, which include reducing the symptoms and behaviors, enabling individuals to achieve their potential, treating co-occurring problems, and supporting the family through education and specific evidence based approaches.

Management of abnormal behavior-

Early intensive behavioral intervention include strategies for parents, teachers and care givers to improve joint attention skills and reciprocal communication, often through interactive play and action routines. Other interventions include Occupational Therapy, Sensory Integration Therapy, Audio Integration Therapy, Visual Therapy, and restricted diets and diet supplementation.

Identification and treatment of co-occurring mental health problems-

Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder have other mental health problems like ADHD, obsessive compulsive disorder, anxiety disorders and mood disorders.

Cognitive behavior therapy for children with anxiety disorders can help.

Management of psychological problems focuses on reducing the factors that increase the risk of developing problems, which includes understanding sensory sensitivities, changing circumstances, physical or mental illness, exploitations, and bullying at school.

Educational issues-

Depending on the cognitive and verbal level of child, children with Autism Spectrum Disorder are included within mainstream schools. For children with better functioning, education includes the development of culturally valued skills along with specific skills and social understanding.

Treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder:

While Scientifically proven, there is no cure for Autism Spectrum disorder, treating Autism Spectrum disorder early, using early intervention plans/ programs along with medical care, can greatly reduce the effects of Autism Spectrum disorder & can increase the child’s potential to learn & grown new skills.

While there is no one treatment plan that fits for all kids with autism spectrum disorder. Every Child is unique, so treatment plan for every child Is unique. Each autism intervention plan is customized as per the specific need of the child. At Listening Ears, Early Intervention Program for kids with autism Spectrum Disorder includes:

  • ABA Therapy
  • Language Therapy
  • Speech Therapy
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Sensory Integration Therapy
  • Cognitive behavior Therapy
  • Special Education

Other conditions associated with Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)

  • Attention Deficits Hyperactivity disorder(ADHD)
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Feeding
  • Sensory Integration
  • Sleep Disorder
  • Intellectual disability
  • Seizures
  • Obsessive Compulsive disorder

Parent's Empowerment

At Listening Ears, work with parents at every level. We establish a strong relationship with parents for the purpose of development and success of the child. However, the most important teacher in your child’s life isn’t the specialist – it is you. The way parent model language and interact with their child on a daily basis is crucial to their ultimate success in the speaking world.

Don’t worry, you’re not alone. The professional staff at Listening Ears are here to help you.

Have fun and join in your child’s learning journey – it’s the most rewarding job you will ever do.

If you have concerns, get your child screened at Listening Ears, India’s Best Early Intervention Center in India.

Our early intervention program is a multi-disciplinary approach with emphasis on assisting the child to reach their full potential. The services are individualized to each child’s need and integrate many disciplines such as Audiologist, Speech Pathologists, Special Educator, Psychologists, Occupational Therapists, ABA Therapist & Early childhood Specialist.

Schedule an appointment for your child today!