Autism or autism spectrum of diseases is an often heard but also often misunderstood term. There is so much information on the internet about it that it leaves you baffled.
I recently had the good fortune of attending a live webinar by Himalaya BabyCare. It was an insightful session with Dr. Anupama Maruvada, who is a practicing child behaviour therapist, an expert in the field of treating autistic children. She gave us plenty of information to help understand autism better and also patiently answered all our questions.
What is Autism?
Autism refers to a neurological condition in which the child faces social, communicational and behavioural difficulties. it is a developmental disability which affects how the child interacts with others and perceives the world.
One of the things that parents must understand that an autistic child is special but not retarded. They need special intervention from experts.
When is the earliest age when autism can be detected?
Autism can be detected as early as under a year by an expert therapist. According to Dr. Maruvada, if at all you have any doubts about your baby’s development, do not wait and watch. According to her, early intervention is the key to reversing behavioural issues caused by autism.
If as a parent, you have any concerns regarding the development of your baby or you notice delays in regular developmental milestones, do mention it to your child’s paediatrician, who can then guide you on the next step by referring you to a therapist.
What are the symptoms that parents should be on the look out for?
There are many early symptoms that might give you an indication of an underlying problem:
- Significant inability to communicate with family verbally and with gestures
- Diminished social interaction
- Does not make eye contact
- Irregularities when playing with toys
- Sitting in isolation when surrounded by the kids.
Are there any assessments for autism?
Autism is a wide spectrum and a child might be mild to severely autistic.
The Childhood Autism Rating Scale or CARS is a diagnostic assessment method that rates children on a scale from one to four for various criteria, ranging from normal to severe, and yields a composite score ranging from non-autistic to mildly autistic, moderately autistic, or severely autistic.
Can autism be cured?
Autism is a lifelong condition and cannot be cured, but it can be treated and reversed with early intervention. Early detection can make a huge difference and can help an autistic child to develop at almost the same pace as a normal child.
In short, autism is a neurological and behavioural disorder, which can be treated and reversed when it is detected early specially before the age of 18 months.