April 25, 2018, 9:54 pm IST
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Autism Spectrum Disorders

Autism Spectrum Disorders

Ms. Archana Mariam Varghese, Apr 07, 2018

Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by impaired social interaction, impaired verbal and non-verbal communication and restricted and repetitive behaviour. Parents usually notice signs in the first two years of their child’s life. These signs often develop gradually, though some children with autism reach their developmental milestones at a normal pace and then regress. People with autism may be severely impaired in some aspects but normal, or even superior in other. It is distinguished not by a single symptom, but by a characteristic triad of symptoms. Unusual social development becomes apparent early in childhood. Autistic infants show less attention to social stimuli, smile and look at others less often, and respond less to their own name. They have less eye contact and turn taking and do not have the ability to use simple movements to express themselves, such as pointing at things. Three to five-year-old children with autism are less likely to exhibit social understanding, approach others spontaneously, imitate and respond to emotions, communicate non verbally and take turns with others.

Autistic individuals can display many forms of repetitive behaviours. Most commonly seen stereotyped behaviour are repetitive movements such as hand flapping, head rolling or body rocking. Compulsive behaviour like time consuming behaviour intended to reduce anxiety that an individual feels compelled to perform repeatedly such as placing objects in a specific order, checking things, or hand washing. The main goals when treating children with autism are to lessen associated deficits and family distress and to increase quality of life and functional independence. No single treatment is best and treatment is typically tailored to the child’s needs. Intensive sustained special education programes and behaviour therapy early in life can help children acquire self-care, social and job skills and often improve functioning and decrease symptom severity and maladaptive behaviours. Picture exchange communication system, Oral placement Therapy, Relationship Development Intervention and Applied behaviour Analysis are the recent advances in the area of Autism Spectrum Disorders.

At AIMS, we do the detailed assessment and specially designed Intervention for Autistic children at our department of Speech Pathology and Audiology and also our team of Speech Language pathologists are working on setting up a Multi-disciplinary clinic exclusively for children with Autism.

Ms. Archana Mariam Varghese

Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology

Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi

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