The Autism is a neuropsychiatric disorder that typically appears during the first three years of life and it is characterized by:
- Social isolation.
- Difficulty in communicating (language, mime …).
- Stereotyped patterns of behavior, i.e., gestures or expressions that are repeated without variation.
Causes of autism in children
The causes are not known exactly, but it is likely that both genetic and environmental factors play a role in this disease.
It has been discovered that certain genes which are related to the development of autism. In addition, studies to show that people with autism have irregularities in several brain regions.
This disorder can submit individuals of every race and culture, and different socioeconomic levels. However, the incidence in children is four times higher than in girls.
Globally it is estimated that 5 out of 10,000 people have classic autism. The prevalence increases if one takes into account children who have milder symptoms, then increase the amount to 21 in every 10,000 people.
Symptoms of autism in children
There are several symptoms that may help to know whether a child has autism:
- He does not indicate anything up to 12 months.
- Not responding to his name.
- No pronounces words until 16 months or phrases of two or more words until about two years.
- He does not establish a proper visual contact.
- Excessively aligns the toys or other objects.
- Does not smile or show social responsiveness.
- He has no interest in making friends.
- He is unable to start or maintain a conversation.
- He is slightly imaginative at the time of playing.
- Uses a repetitive language.
- He has routines and any attempt to modify generates great anxiety.
- Shows an excessive attachment to certain objects.
Diagnosis of autism in children
The doctor will make a questionnaire to parents to gather all possible information on the conduct and development of the child. If there are suspicions that the child could suffer this disorder will undergo a comprehensive assessment, in which a psychologist, a neurologist, a psychiatrist, a speech therapist, and other specialists trained to diagnose children with autism.
The best thing is early diagnosis, and already has the means to detect the disorder before 24 months of age.
Treatment of autism in children
Early intervention, intensive, appropriate, improve the prognosis of children with autism. Currently, there are different educational and behavioral programs to treat the autistic child, which include constructive activities and visual aids that are useful.
Behavioral therapy: Consists of the training behavior using behavioral psychology; the desirable actions are stimulated, and the undesirable are limited. Both parents and teachers should be trained previously to perform this therapy with children.
Special Education Program: Aimed at favoring the development of language communication and interaction with others. The schools that go the minor must have appropriate materials and qualified staff to help the child develop language skills and facilitate their social integration.
Pharmacotherapy: In cases where the child does not respond to other treatment, the doctor may prescribe a drug.
The evolution of the disease depends on each person; some will need assistance when they are adults, while others manage to live independently.
The prognosis is worse in children whose IQ is low, and those who are unable to speak understandably before 5 years.