Autism is a medical disorder that affects the development of the neural system. It is often diagnosed in early childhood usually before three years of age (Brill 2007). It affects social and communication skills, leading to impaired social interaction and communication. The condition also makes a child to exhibit restricted interests and repetitive behavior.
Diagnosis of autism is done through observation of the behavior of the child. There is no mechanism to detect autism since the disorder exhibits behavioral symptoms whereas the victim possesses perfect body health. Worth noting is the point that the disorder affects just the neurons. This is the reason why there is no biological test for autism. Diagnosis requires an experience healthcare provider to carry out the actual diagnosis. The diagnosis involves a physical and neurologic examination, and may involve the use of specific tools such as Autism Diagnostic interview, Autism Diagnostic observation schedule, childhood Autism rating scale, Gilliam autism rating scale and Pervasive developments disorders screening test. Genetic and metabolic testing can also be used to diagnose.
Several symptoms are associated with this disorder as mentioned above. These all have to do with communication, language, motor skills, speech, success in school and thinking ability. The victim will portray poor communication skills, lack of social and emotional interest and repetitive use of language. These symptoms much show up before the child attains three years of age and persist throughout the life of the child.
In communicating, the child will often be poor to maintain social conversations. He may opt to communicate by using gestures instead of words. Additionally, it takes too long for the child to develop language skills, or in worse cases, the child may not learn to speak at all. The child not being able to make friends, being poor in interactive games, and not responding to eye contact or smile, may signify social interactions effects.
There are some complications and disorders affecting the brain, which can be associated to or linked with autism. These are Fragile X syndrome, mental retardation, and Tuberous sclerosis. Having autism does not necessarily mean that these complications will occur, but one needs to be careful and watch out for any of these. Some people may at times develop seizures. There are also cases of stress associated with taking care of the autistic person.
The methods of treatment that are to be employed can vary from child to a child, but generally, they should be geared towards meeting the child’s particular needs. This can be done through applied behavior analysis, where emphasis is placing on teaching the child specific skills. Another treatment approach is Treatment and Education of Autistic and Related Communication Handicapped Children. This uses pictures and other visual cues to help the child develop some skills. In addition to these treatment approaches, medicine can be used to treat autism. This is used to deal with behavior or emotional problems exhibited by people with Autism.
The medical approach deals with problems such as tantrums, anxiety, hyperactivity, attention problems, irritability and mood swings (Boode and Bock 2003). However, there is no single medicine so far discovered that can treat the underlying problem of autism. Other common approaches to the treatment of autism are through diet regulation. This happens in cases where the patient responds to gluten or casein free diet. However, this has not been scientifically proved. There is no known method of prevention for autism.
There is no known treatment for Autism to date. However, various research programs are being conducted in order to unveil ways of dealing with various problems associated with this disorder. However, research still goes on and probably, we shall find a way of dealing with the disorder (Collier 2010).
Brill, M.T. Autism, Singapore: Marshall Cavendish, 2007.
Collier, S. Autism. Inventors' Digest, 2010, 26(2), 21
Goode, J and Bock G. Autism: neural basis and treatment possibilities. New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons, 2003.
Patricia, J. “Understanding autism”. Science World, 2009; 64(5) 13