Autistic Children: Everything You Need to Know
Autism is a childhood disorder that affects boys more than girls. The abilities of autistic children can be either high or low. It all depends on their IQ (intellectual quotient) and their ability to communicate.
In fact, some children with this disorder can learn to communicate fairly well, while others may be more closed and introverted.
There are many theories about the origin of autism, and although a specific cause is not yet known, it has been proven that autism is present from the moment of birth. In other words, it doesn’t develop or isn’t acquired over time.
Let’s talk a little about some of the causes of this disorder.
Causes of autism
As we stated earlier, autism doesn’t develop; one is born with it. Some theories have stated that sometimes autism in children can be related to the attitudes and actions of parents, but it is not.
Therefore, what can cause autism in children?
- Cognitive abnormalities and deficiencies. There may be some neurological basis in the development of the disorder, but this hasn’t been found yet.
- Basic biochemical processes. An excess of serotonin has been found in the platelets of autistic children.
Worldwide, one in every 6,000 children can develop autism, so researchers continue to work in search of the factors that cause it.
How do autistic children act?
Autistic children have significant difficulties communicating and socializing with others. There are many symptoms that can help us determine if a child has this disorder.
We must bear in mind that autism can be experienced by any child, regardless of race or culture. However, it is more common in boys than in girls.
- They may not look you directly in the eye.
- As infants, delayed babbling may be noted, and they present difficulties with their environment, as well as with gestural language.
- When they interact with others for the first time, the first thing that can be noticed is that they don’t follow their mother’s attempts to communicate and usually entertain themselves with some object.
- When they start preschool, they may not communicate with others or engage in any kind of conversation. It can be hard for them to identify themselves or to recognize others. They’re unable to socialize or interact with others in any way.
- Sometimes they may exhibit aggressive behavior, even toward themselves.
- They may perform small activities in a repetitive manner, such as spinning or performing rhythmic movements with their body.
- They can reproduce and repeat the advertisements they see on TV or have strange rituals at bedtime.
- In adolescence, experts say that 1/3 of autistic children usually suffer epileptic seizures, which suggests that their cause is of neurological origin.
What should I do if I think my child has autism?
If you think that your child may have autism, immediately go to your pediatrician and ask questions. The faster you have a diagnosis, the faster you can begin to act to help your child.
The diagnosis will be established based on the degree of communication between the child and other people, as well as through observing the child’s behavior in different situations and with different activities.
It’s true that some autistic children can’t go to school with other children their age, since everything depends on the level of the disorder. However, many other autistic children can have the opportunity to learn and grow with others.
Treatment of autism in childhood
Timely intervention and adequate treatment improves the prognosis of children with autism. Currently, there are various educational and behavioral programs to treat autistic children and improve their ability to relate and act.
Some of them include:
- Behavioral therapy: Behavior training is conducted through behavioral psychology. Desirable actions are encouraged and undesirable ones are limited. In order to perform this type of therapy, both the parents and the child’s educators must be trained.
- Special education program: Encourages the development of communicative language and interaction with other people. Schools must have the right materials and have staff trained to help the child improve his or her language skills and communicate with others.
- Pharmacotherapy: If the child doesn’t respond to any type of treatment, a doctor may prescribe a drug.
Although there is no cure for autism, most children improve with treatment. There are even children who have the skills to perform many activities and to develop themselves.
Treatments and support from family will be essential to help autistic children improve their quality of life. This will help them adapt more easily to society so they can find work and live a fulfilling life.
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
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- Assumpção Jr, F. B., & Pimentel, A. C. M. (2000). Autismo infantil. Brazilian Journal of Psychiatry, 22, 37-39. http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?pid=S1516-44462000000600010&script=sci_arttext&tlng=pt
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