Autism: signs, diagnosis, treatment, living with

In UK, one in 150 people would be affected by autism spectrum disorders (ASD), according to the results of the National Institute for Health and Medical Research (Inserm) and the Secretary of State for the Prime Minister for People with Disabilities. What is autism really? What are the signs of this neurodevelopmental disorder and how to detect it? What is the most suitable education? And if not, what can accommodate it?  Everything you should need to know to understand autism and learn more to live with it. Read the entire article for further more details below;  

Definition: what is autism?

Autism or “autism spectrum disorder” is not an intellectual disability and even less a disease, it is a neurodevelopmental disorder that interferes with both sensory and motor skills. People with autism may suffer from problems in their communication and social interactions and may exhibit restricted interests and stereotypical behaviors.

Signs of autism

Autism is characterized by impaired development in mainly three areas: social interactions, communication, and behavior, which is often restricted, repetitive and stereotypical. A child with autism will therefore have difficulty recognizing and managing emotions, a tendency to repeat and stereotypical behaviors (he may want to brush his teeth several times in a row or pour himself a glass of orange juice 4 or 5 times), a need for routine or even difficulty adapting to changes or unforeseen events. His sensory perceptions are, for their part, often exacerbated: he can be hypersensitive or on the contrary hypersensitive to noises, smells, or too strong light. His gestures can be clumsy, imprecise; he can adopt a particular posture, sluggish facial expressions, motor tics, or little quirks.

The autistic has difficulty looking in the eyes, can hardly read the facial expressions of his interlocutor, and perceive the rules of life in society. And depending on their degree of disability, autistic people may feel very uncomfortable in a group. Autism also interferes with communication: the autistic person may have a way of speaking that appears to be “disorganized” and “incoherent”, have difficulty understanding abstract notions, and may repeat a word or phrase in a stereotypical manner. like an echo (this is called ” echolalia Finally, the child suffering from autism may have sleep or eating disorders, be seized with anger, have anxiety attacks, or have aggressive attitudes, particularly towards himself.

Test: how to diagnose autism?

Despite the obvious disturbances in communication, behavior, and social relationships, autism is not always easy to detect, especially if the child is very young. 

However, if the child shows small signs of atypicity (difficulty smiling, absence of babbling, distance pointing or other social gestures to communicate, language difficulties: all this information is listed in the health record), You should consult the attending physician or the maternal and child protection doctor (PMI) who can direct you if necessary to the Autism Resource Center (ARC) closest to you. In these centers, autism specialists able to diagnose this neuro-developmental disorder will be able to guide you according to the profile and the level of severity of your child. 

During this consultation, a thorough clinical examination of the child’s development will be carried out, in the event of warning signs detected by any professional, or a concern on the part of the parents. But know that from the first suspicions or concerns, it is important to go and talk to a doctor: because the earlier the diagnosis is made, the more the care will allow the development of communication skills and interactions with others.

What is the management of autism (Treatment, schooling?)

While there are many ways to manage the symptoms of autism today, people with this neurodevelopmental disorder cannot be cured. In short, no scientifically-based treatment has been found. However, with early detection, care, schooling, and re-education (visual, auditory, psychomotor …) adapted, the symptoms inherent in autism can be reduced, sometimes even almost disappearing. And some autistic children can become “neurotypical” people in adulthood. But, how do you find the most suitable psycho-educational method for your child? How to participate in its development while respecting its centers of interest? Where can I find the (right) information?

If the risk of ASD is confirmed during a consultation specializing in neurodevelopmental disorders, the team of professionals specifically trained in autism spectrum disorders will refer you to an ENT for a hearing test, then to an ophthalmologist for a vision test. He may also prescribe to your child a speech therapy assessment of communication and oral language or even a motor development assessment with a psychomotor therapist, a masseur-physiotherapist, or an occupational therapist if operating difficulties in gross or fine motor skills are observed.  

The doctor will also offer him an orientation (or a reorientation if the child is already enrolled in the regular school curriculum) for guiding about their special needs. In the event that the child is already in the crèche or in a reception of the young child, the doctor will ask for an increased observation by the nursery and/or the educators of the child and ensure a follow-up. If the parents do not immediately agree to undertake the much care, they can have recourse to a “graduated approach” consisting of a follow-up of their general practitioner accompanied by assessments carried out by liberal paramedical professionals. The goal is facilitate gradual acceptance by parents, especially if signs of autism persist or worsen during development.

Related Articles

Back to top button