A neurodegenerative disorder like autism impacts a person’s social and communication abilities. Early diagnosis of autism is imperative as late intervention can cause the symptoms to worsen and take much longer for the therapies and treatment to work effectively.
Inability to communicate
Limited ability to learn
Signs of autism
How can autism be diagnosed?
What factors can lead to ASD?
Autism treatment methods
Neurological conditions can be difficult to diagnose. A delay in diagnosis can make the treatment difficult, especially when signs and symptoms have evolved in severity. In this article, we will learn the early symptoms of ASD, what signs of autism to look out for in your child, and what effective treatment options are available to treat your child’s condition.
Autism, also known as an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), is a complex developmental condition that typically involves behaviors like limited social communication, restricted interests, and repetitive behaviors. The symptoms and severity of ASD vary from individual to individual and may require full-time care or therapy targeting specific behavior. The most common and early signs of autism are:
Inability to communicate
ASD individuals mostly have limited ability to communicate, hence, they are unable to understand and express their feelings, either through words or gestures.
Limited ability to learn: Some ASD patients might encounter problems in learning due to underdeveloped skills. For instance, an ASD individual might lack the skills to understand analytical problems and encounter difficulty in solving these issues.
Signs of Autism: Usually, toddlers start showing autism symptoms up until 3 years, however, some might show symptoms since birth. Here are some of the signs of autism to look out for in your child for early diagnosis and intervention:
Lack of eye contact or difficulty in maintaining one.
Limited interests or overwhelming interest regarding certain topics.
Reiterating the same words or phrases, rocking back and forth, etc.
Inability to appreciate or communicate their emotions via words or facial expressions.
Interpreting abstract ideas in a literal sense.
Struggle with making friends or keeping them.
High sensitivity to sounds, touch, smell, or lights.
Avoiding any kind of touch even from family.
Inability to talk normally or having a robotic or flat tone.
Struggle to adjust to changed surroundings or routine.
Tendency to arrange things in a particular manner.
Some severe symptoms also include seizures, but those mostly start until adolescence. Since each child can have a unique mixture of symptoms, determining the severity of ASD in a child can be very challenging. Normally, the level of impairment and its effect on a child’s functioning determines the severity but detecting signs of autism early on and treating it accordingly can increase the chances of success. That’s why it’s important that the diagnosis is made as early as possible.
How Can Autism Be Diagnosed?
Diagnosing autism can only be conducted through a lack of developmental and behavioral milestones. In some cases, functional impairment related to autism may only become visible when a child starts school.
For children, the diagnosis involves:
Screening: Doctors first screen the child for developmental delays like learning, speaking, behavior, and movement. Experts suggest that children should be screened for developmental delays during their regular pediatric checkups at 9, 18, 24, and 30 months of age. Typically, children undergo their ASD screening at 18 or 24 months check-ups.
Evaluation: Any developmental delay or problem during these screenings calls for a complete evaluation by the pediatrician.
Tests include: Hearing, Vision and Genetic.
To confirm symptoms of ASD, it is necessary to have a specialized evaluation by:
A child & adolescent psychiatrist
Psychologists may also suggest getting your child tested for Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS).
What Factors Can Lead to ASD?
Surprisingly there’s a significant increase in the number of cases of Autism. Experts are wondering if the reason is increased diagnosis and reporting or the actual increase in cases. What causes autism is still unknown and is not bound by race or nationality. Still, certain factors have been found to be associated with the increase in the chances of the child having this health condition. These include:
Child’s gender: Researchers have found that the chances of boys who have ASD are four times more than girls.
Family history: Families having at least one ASD child are at greater risk of having more children with the same disorder. Most parents or relatives of an ASD child have minor issues with social and communication skills themselves or exhibit certain behaviors that are most typical of the disorder.
Genetic disorders: Children suffering from other disorders are at greater risk of developing ASD or autism-like symptoms. For instance, other diseases like fragile X syndrome, an inherited disorder that causes intellectual disability; Tuberous sclerosis, a condition resulting in benign tumors within the brain; and Rett syndrome, involving a genetic condition that exists in girls exclusively, causing slow head growth, intellectual disability and loss of intentional hand use. Disorders such as them make these individuals more susceptible to developing ASD.
The use of certain medications: Supported by research, some specific medications, like valproic acid and thalidomide, can increase the risk of ASD if consumed during pregnancy.
Premature babies: Babies that are extremely premature or the ones born between 22- 27 weeks of gestation are more vulnerable to the risk of autism spectrum disorder.
Parent`s age: Some research suggests the connection between parents’ older age and their children having ASD, but more concrete evidence is required to support the claim.
Environmental factors: Currently, researchers are investigating other environmental factors like infection, medications, complications during pregnancy, or if certain air pollutants lead to triggering this condition.
Vaccines and factors like race, ethnicity, and social and economic status, have nothing to do with the child’s ability to develop ASD over time. Despite extensive research, no vaccine is associated with ASD. On the contrary, avoiding vaccines can make your child susceptible to serious diseases like measles, pertussis, etc.
Autism Treatment Methods
There are a variety of treatments and therapies for autism, like:
Cognitive behavioral therapy
Educational and school-based therapies
Stem cell therapy
Stem cell treatment as a new method that helps restore neuronal connection and reduce inflammation within the nerve tissue is able to support other therapies and interventions, ensuring enduring and promising results. Stem cell therapy helps cell regeneration and increased blood flow to the brain, especially to the areas responsible for intellectual developments. This leads to the formation of new neural connections and the restoration of damaged cells in autism patients.
You can find clinical evidence that supports stem cell treatment as an effective intervention to treat any neurological disorder like ASD. However, as symptoms vary from patient to patient, the outcome of cell-based treatment may also vary. To know what to expect from stem cell treatment, you can visit the stem cell therapy center and get a free online consultation for your child’s better future.