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Know the Signs of Autism

Know the Signs of Autism

In order to cure any problem, it is important to first actually know that there is a problem.
Unlike most other mental problems, Autism is not a disease that could be easily treated with medicine. It is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by social impairments, cognitive impairments, communication difficulties and repetitive behaviour.

As a parent, nobody wishes for their little one to have any problem but sometimes, in the rush of our lives we often miss out many important things that could actually mean a lot. Such happens in the case of Autism and catching it ideally by the age of eighteen months can make a huge difference and starting early treatment can reduce the disorder’s effects and help your child learn, grow, and thrive.

Autism appears in infancy or early childhood, but can only be diagnosed by a professional until the child is over twenty four months or two years. However, there are signs that could indicate that the child is on the spectrum as early as six months of age.
Every child is unique, so is their rate of development. Hence, the signs and the severity of the symptoms can vary from child to child.

One important thing that parents should look out for is that autism isn’t recognized by the presence of strange behaviour, but from lack of normal behavior. Also some children with autism may appear normal before age 1 or 2 and suddenly “regress” afterwards losing any language or social skills they had previously gained. This is called the regressive type of autism.

Following are some early signs of Autism you must look out for and if your child exhibits any of the following then do not delay in asking your pediatrician or family doctor for an evaluation—

● No smile or warm joyful expressions by six months or thereafter
● No back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles or other facial expressions by nine months
● No babbling by 12 months
● No back-and-forth gestures such as pointing, showing, reaching or waving by 12 months
● No words by 16 months
● Doesn’t make noises to get your attention
● Never initiates or respond to cuddling or reach out to be picked up
● No meaningful, two-word phrases (not including imitating or repeating) by 24 months
● Loss of speech, babbling or social skills at any age
● No response to their name (the child may appear deaf)
● No demonstration of interest at anything
● Loss of/avoiding eye contact
● Always wants to be alone
● Difficulty in understanding
● Never expresses own feelings or understands other people’s feelings
● Repeats words or phrases over and over (echolalia)
● Gets upset by minor changes
● Has obsessive interests
● Flaps hands, rocks body, or spins in circles
● Has unusual reactions (over or under-sensitivity) to the way things sound, smell, taste, look, or feel
● Has low to no social skills
● Avoids or resists physical contact
● Demonstrates little safety or danger awareness
● Reverses pronouns (e.g., says “you” instead of “I”)
● Gives unrelated answers to questions

Children with autism may also show some other type of signs which may appear normal but come under ASD symptoms.

● Having unusual interests and behaviors
● Extreme anxiety or having unusual phobias
● Playing with toys the same way every time
● Getting upset over minor changes
● Having obsessive tendencies
● Wanting to keep their things at the same place
● Hyperactivity (very active)
● Impulsivity (acting without thinking)
● Short attention span
● Aggression
● Causing self injury
● Meltdowns
● Unusual eating and sleeping habits
● Unusual mood or emotional reactions
● Lack of fear or more fear than expected
● Having unusual sleeping habits

Aditya and Happy: Defeating Autism and Inspiring Life at MBCN

Aditya and Happy: Defeating Autism and Inspiring Life at MBCN

Autism is not a processing error. It is a different operating system.

If you have no clue about Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder, then you must know that these terms are used interchangeably to describe a number of complex disorders. Autism can be considered a spectrum condition which goes back to the issues with brain development. Children with autism display repetitive behaviour, difficulties in non-verbal and verbal communication as well as problems in social interactions, attention and motor coordination.

When we talk about repetitive behaviour, we basically refer to repeating certain actions and over-indulgence in individual interests. A slight deviation from common routine upsets them. They lack social communication, therefore, make little eye contact and rarely look at or listen to other people. They get away with gestures, facial expressions and movements and can’t go with the uttered words.

Sensing the Sensitivity

Autistic people can experience under or over-sensitivity to touch, smell, sound, light, taste and colours. For instance, there are certain background sounds that other people ignore but the autistic people find it quite distracting and unbearably loud. This type of hypersensitivity may lead to anxiety and physical pain. Those who are hypo-sensitive, cannot feel pain and need to spin, flap or rock their hands in order to stimulate sensation, help with balancing and dealing with stress.  Therefore, it is difficult for them to even carry out the fine motor tasks, such as tying shoelaces.

However, it is their different abilities in which their strengths and abilities lie. Children with autism may have above-average intelligence, pay attention to detail and are strong auditory and visual learners. Since, autistic children go through a spectrum condition and not a disease, there is no particular cause behind autism. It is believed to occur due to certain environmental factors and autism risk genes that affect early brain development. These factors affect a child during birth or even before it.

MBCN Making a Difference

Such a child can seek help at a charitable school for special children, Mata Bhagwanti Chadha Niketan (MBCN). Here, a child psychiatrist, a speech-language pathologist and a developmental paediatrician work together in training them to improve their communication, age-appropriate skills and brain development. Just pay attention to the numerous success stories here and you will know what we mean.

Aditya and Happy Fight Autism

Focus on the case of Aditya Mishra. A quite talented boy, Aditya was accepted under the Autistic Wing of MBCN. Teach him anything during an activity class and he catches up quick without delay. As you teach, he tries not to forget or miss out on any part. He remembers stories from the movies he has watched and memorises songs, bhajans, stuti and stotras in one go. He can recite the most difficult of stotras and songs without stuttering or fumbling. He just needs to listen once and is ready to surprise you with his memory and singing ability. This small wonder is a storehouse of energy and is always keen on learning new things.

Did you meet Aditya Anand Raj aka Happy from the Autistic Wing yet? Come to MBCN where you may find him busy sketching. He is brimming with creativity, hence, can draw anything which he can be asked for. Ask him to draw something and he will oblige you with his fingers running fast on paper. He can even get down to sketching with an abstract idea while enjoying his class activities. He also excels in studies and is really good at subjects including English, Maths and Hindi.

These two are stars shining bright every day at MBCN while disparaging the myth that being autistic reduces your mental abilities. Aditya and Happy are living examples who are overcoming all possible challenges and utilising their limitless possibilities. They inspire living to the world in their own unique ways.