What is autism?

Autism is a mental disorder affecting brain development. It has the following three main defining characteristics:

  • Impaired verbal and non-verbal communication;
  • Problems interacting with other people;
  • A pattern of behavior in which those affected by this mental disorder have narrow, limited interests.

Although a definitive diagnosis cannot be made until the child reaches school and preschool age, signs and symptoms can be noticed when the child is 12-18 months of age.< /p>

Behavioral symptoms are always visible when the child is 3 years old. Delay in language development in preschool age is one of the characteristic manifestations of the disease. It continues throughout a person’s life, although many people manage to learn to control and modify their behavior to some extent.

Boys are more often affected by the disease. Early diagnosis is essential for applying appropriate treatment and for adapting educational models to the specific needs of the autistic child.

What are the symptoms of autism?

The list of symptoms and behavior patterns associated with this mental disorder is long and each affected person expresses their own set or combination of them. None of the clinical features are common to all autistics. Also, many of the manifestations of the mental disorder appear in people who are not autistic.

Possibly exemplary symptoms are:

  • Slack use of body language and other means of non-verbal communication, such as eye movements, facial expressions and gestures;
  • Lack of awareness of others’ feelings and expression of emotions such as pleasure – laughter or distress – crying for reasons that are not explainable to other people.
  • They stand aside from other people and prefer to be alone;
  • Encounter difficulties in their interactions with other people and fail when trying to form friendships;
  • Do not respond to verbal cues – that is, as a deaf condition.

Treatment for Autism

There is no standard treatment for this mental disorder. Different specialists share different philosophies and apply different methodologies in caring for their patients. When looking for a specialist, if possible, they should be available at all times so that you can ask them questions and discuss possible treatment options.

You need to be aware of all the options to be able to make an informed decision. A good specialist will explain to you all types of therapies that are applied and their possible benefits and harms.

The traditional approach is to choose the best educational model for the child and therapy to manage behavioral manifestations. There is evidence that the earlier behavioral, educational and speech therapies are started, the better the long-term outcome.

These are treatment methods that often require a long-term commitment and are not a guarantee of achieving a result. When deciding which therapy to use, you should also consider the results of scientific research that has been conducted in connection with your chosen treatment method.

Medicine treatment

Medications do not treat the underlying neurological problems associated with the mental disorder. Medications are prescribed to manage the behavioral manifestations of the disorder such as hyperactivity, impulsivity, difficulty concentrating and anxiety. In most cases, drug therapy aims to limit the symptoms so that the sufferer can get the most out of behavioral and educational treatment methods.

The drugs that are prescribed are psychoactive. This means they affect the brain. Antipsychotic drugs are most commonly used. These drugs have been found to help suppress hyperactivity, repetitive behavior patterns, and aggression in some autistic people. Examples of such drugs are: risperidone, olanzapine and aripiprazole.

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