What Is Autism? What Can Parents Do?
Autism and ASD; autism spectrum disorder are general terms for grouping of various complex disorders related to brain development. Such disorders are found in varying degrees characterized by difficulties faced by the children in social interaction, repetitive behaviors and nonverbal and verbal communications.
These include Rett syndrome, pervasive developmental disorder which is not specified otherwise, autistic disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder and Asperger syndrome.
Signs and symptoms related to autism vary on a large scale for a child to child and so also its effects. Some of the children with autism have only mild health impairments while other children have various other obstacles to overcome. However, every child with ASD has problems, to some degree and extent, in three of the following areas:
• Verbal and non verbal communication
• Relating to the world and other people around them
• Behaving and thinking flexibly
Role of parents
Following are few of the signs which parents can keep a closer watch at in order to identify any possible problems related to ASD in their child:
• Look if the baby does not make an eye contact. For instance, when the baby is being fed.
• Watch for a smile back response from the baby when he is being smiled at.
• If the baby does not respond to his or her own name or to a familiar voice or sound.
• If the baby does not follow objects visually.
• If the baby does not wave goodbye or point towards something or use any other gestures for communicating purposes.
• If the baby does not make any noises to get attention.
• If the baby does not initiate or make a response to cuddling.
• If the baby does not imitate the facial expressions and movements of the parents or other people around them.
• If the baby does not play with anybody or does not share interest in playing with others.
What can parents do?
If you suspect that your child’s development is delayed or lacks in certain areas of health, you should fix an appointment with the pediatrician of your child right away. In fact, it never hurts to get your child screened for such problems even if he shows no signs as mentioned above. It has been suggested by various doctors around the world that you should get your child screened for autism at around 9, 18 and 30 months of child’s age. And if any signs are detected during screening by the pediatrician or a developmental specialist, you should seek early age interventions for autism in order to minimize the effects on your child and protect him.
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