Autism: What Everyone Should Know About It
What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a collection of related disorders that impact an individual’s personal behaviour, communication, and social interaction. ASD is referred to as a ‘spectrum disorder’ because it covers a wide range of symptoms of varying severity among patients.
Adults and kids with autism do not share the same symptoms; each individual exhibits a unique combination of symptoms. There are 3 main types of categories when it comes to ASD symptoms namely; signs of limited recurring behaviour, problems with communication, and problems with social interaction. A diagnosis of autism is often considered valid if a patient exhibits symptoms in at least 2 of these 3 categories. People with severe autism might also need mobility equipment such as EPC wheelchairs.
Social Interaction in Autism
Typically, kids with autism will have difficulties with social interactions. Common symptoms include:
- Avoiding eye contact or looking at a person using peripheral vision
- Struggling to keep a conversation going
- Having difficulties predicting or understanding other people’s actions
- Unable to express their feelings, especially when around their peers
- Difficulty relating to or understanding their peers
- A general lack of interest in their peers
Communication in Autism
Difficulties with communication are a common symptom among autism patients. Some common types of communication difficulties that kids with autism face include:
- Struggling with pretend play or imaginative thinking
- Taking things literally; not comprehending idioms, expressions, or jokes
- Struggling to comprehend non-verbal communication such as body language, gestures, and facial expressions
- Talking using an unusual cadence or in a flat voice
- Unresponsiveness to verbal prompts
- Delays in language and speech development
Limited Recurring Behaviour
Limited recurring behaviour, or frequent repetitiveness, can occur in many aspects of a child’s life, not just in social interaction. Common indicators of this behaviour include:
- Exhibiting hypo- or hypersensitivity to sensory input
- Repeating a certain behaviour or motion, such as closing and opening a door or saying specific phrases or words over and over
- Following a routine and becoming upset if there is any disruption in this routine
- Speaking endlessly and excessively about a specific interest, often not allowing anybody else to speak
- Being hyper-focused on particular objects, tasks, or topics, tasks
Facts and Myths about Autism
There are plenty of myths associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Debunking these common misconceptions about autism helps to spread awareness and inform others about the facts.
One of the common misconceptions about autism is that it is an illness and therefore subject to the source and modes of transmission theories that are associated with most illnesses. In fact, ASD is considered a neurodevelopmental condition with a significant genetic link. The condition cannot be treated with special diets or medications (although these interventions can help manage symptoms). Furthermore, autism is not a recent phenomenon that is caused by negative reactions to vaccines or bad parenting. Because ASD can impact an individual’s entire body, affected adults and children suffer from higher rates of gastrointestinal issues, depression, anxiety, ADHD, and sleep disorders.
Although this condition does not yet have a known cure, there are various assistive technologies and therapies that significantly enhance the lives of persons with autism. Early intervention, for instance, helps improve communication, self-care, and life-long communication skills. Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) are two solutions that have proven to be effective in addressing negative behaviours. Smartphones, tablets, and computers have established a conducive environment for skill development software and autism games.
Educating yourself about the truths regarding autism is the first step towards improving the lives of people with ASD. Because the disorder affects so many aspects of life, autism patients are more likely to face financial, employment, social and academic challenges. Autism impacts people from all socioeconomic, ethnic and regional backgrounds.