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Last Updated: Jun 08, 2020
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Autism: Symptoms, Causes, Tests and Treatment

About Symptoms Causes Precautions Diagnosis Therapy Home Remedies Medicine Diet

What is Autism?

Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder is a developmental disability which affects an individual’s ability to communicate and express themselves, understand the behaviour and expression of others and have impaired social skills. People suffering from this condition have trouble interacting with healthy individuals and the society in general.

They cannot express themselves normally through words or actions, and often develop unusual repetitive behaviours. It is also known as Autism Spectrum Disorder, because it does not denote a single condition but is actually a term for a variety of conditions.

Autism is also defined as a nuero behavioral condition, meaning that it is a behavioural disorder caused by the brain inability to process emotions and understanding.

What are the Symptoms of Autism?

Some patients may showcase only few or all of these behaviours or some may display none of it.

  • Children who do not respond when called by their names
  • Lack of interest in activities that normal children are interested in, such as playing with other children, befriending other kids.
  • Avoiding eye contact while talking with parents or strangers
  • Delay in developing normal speech
  • Speaking in a monotonous or robotic tone
  • Children who don't talk very often and prefer being alone
  • Repeating a behaviour regularly, like a certain motion of hands or rocking the body.
  • Cannot understand and respond to slightly complex question or instructions
  • Getting irritated over minor things
  • Infants who don't show expressions and gestures, do not make sounds and speak in baby-language by 24 months of age.

What Causes Autism?

Scientists and researchers have confirmed that autism is a result of abnormal functioning of the brain and its ability to process thoughts, expression and behaviour. However, the exact causes of autism have not yet been identified. There are some studies that suggest that this condition may be caused by genetic factors. But this has not been fully confirmed. At present, the cause of autism is still a subject of study and research.

What are the Precautions For Autism?

Since the cause of autism is currently unknown, so there are no guidelines for preventing autism. But there are a few factors that parents can follow to try and prevent their autism from affecting their children, such as:

  • Proper care during pregnancy, which means avoiding drugs and medications that are not suitable for pregnant women, not smoking or drinking alcohol during pregnancy.
  • Living a healthy lifestyle and getting proper care and treatment for any disease that is affecting an individual.
  • People who follow these guidelines cannot guarantee that their children will not be affected by autism. Also, if a child is diagnosed with autism, then certain precautions must be taken to ensure their safety. These include:
  • Kids and teenagers with autism must be continuously monitored. It is not safe to leave them alone for long hours.
  • Children and young adults with autism are likely to elope or run away from safe environments. Parents must take care that their children do not get such opportunities.
  • Neighbours, children, and any other people who interact with individuals suffering from autism must be informed about the condition. They should be educated about how to behave with people who are suffering from autism.
  • The symptoms and behaviours caused by autism vary greatly among individuals. Parents need to study and observe the behaviours and thought process of their children to prevent them from putting themselves in harmful situations.

How Autism is Diagnosed?

As the cause of autism is not known, so there aren't any medical tests and examinations that can diagnose autism in individuals. Diagnosis of autism depends on the observation of parents and doctors regarding the development of children.

Most of the times, paediatrician play an important role in diagnosing this condition as the symptoms of autism begin from infancy. Children are usually taken for regular consultation from a very small age. During such consultations, general observation by parents and observations help in determining if the child is suffering from this condition.

If a child is showcasing most of the symptoms mentioned in the above section, then it provides a good foundation for diagnosis. It may be difficult to determine in many cases, because there are instances where children suffering from autism do not develop many symptoms.

Some autistic children even have excellent intellectual abilities. Also, it is common for the symptoms of autism to be misunderstood as symptoms of some other diseases. These factors need to be taken into consideration during diagnosis.

What is the Best Therapy for Autism?

These treatment methods can help people feel betterwith their symptoms, which involve therapies such as:

  1. Speech therapy:

    This therapy includes techniques that help children with autism to express them efficiently. It improves children’s ability to interact with other. Speech therapy is not limited to verbal communication. It also includes teaching individual to express their thoughts through pictures, gestures and writings.

  2. Occupational therapy:

    This therapy includes techniques that help children with autism to express them efficiently. It improves children’s ability to interact with other. Speech therapy is not limited to verbal communication. It also includes teaching individual to express their thoughts through pictures, gestures and writings.

  3. Applied Behaviour Analysis:

    In this therapy, the first step is to analyse the behaviour of individuals with autism. After that, any negative or potentially harmful behaviour is gradually removed and positive behaviour is encouraged through positive reinforcement, i.e., rewarding them for positive behaviour. Anger management is also important if individuals seem to get irritated and agitated frequently.

These therapies will produce better results when they are applied in early stages. So children are more likely to benefit from them compared to adults.

What are the Home Remedies For Autism?

Most of the home remedies for autism include providing proper diet, supplements and therapies. It is essential to list out foods to eat and foods to avoid. Generally it is recommended to eat magnesium rich diet, vitamin D rich diet, fish oil , essential oil etc.

It is advised to avoid gluten, sugar, soy etc. Communication therapy, behavioural and speech therapy is to be practices at home so as to make the patient feel safe and positive. Finally Ayurveda and Chinese therapy can also be seeked for as alternative natural home therapies.

What is the Best Medicine For Autism?

Medicine: Autism causes varying symptoms in individuals. Every person suffering from this disorder displays different behaviours and issues. So depending on the symptoms of individual, certain medications are prescribed by doctors following a specific case study. As such, there aren't many medications that can be generally prescribed for all cases of autism. The only category of medications that is approved by the FDA specifically for autism are antipsychotics, namely Risperidone and Aripiprazole. These are used to treat symptoms of psychosis, depression, aggression and irritation is people having autism.

What Foods are Good For Autism?

Studies have suggested that some food and dietary choices can have positive impact in individuals with autism. These include:

  • Omega 3 fatty acids

    Omega 3 fatty acids are known to boost neurological function and brain development in otherwise healthy individuals. That is why they are also recommended for people with autism. However, research has not proven definitely that it can bring improvement in individuals suffering from autism.

  • Magnesium supplements

    Magnesium is known to improve certain conditions like short attention span, problems with concentration and anxiety. Since these symptoms are commonly observed in people who are suffering from autism, so magnesium supplements can help to improve such symptoms.

  • Melatonin supplements

    People with autism often have trouble sleeping and relaxing. Lack of sleep aggravates other symptoms and behaviours caused be autism. Melatonin supplements can help such individuals to get better sleep and relaxation which in turn, improves other behavioural aspects of autism.

  • Gluten free and dairy free diets

    Individuals with autism can be affected negatively by dairy products and foods that are rich in gluten. So a gluten free and dairy free diet is recommended. Since avoiding dairy products can cause calcium deficiency, so other non-dairy foods that are rich in calcium must be consumed by individuals affected by autism.

Overall, it is important to consider that all these treatment and dietary options are not definite guidelines for autism. The effects of this order is different in every individual so it is essential to have a long-term consultation with doctors to figure the best plan of action for the treatment of autism in every individual.

Popular Questions & Answers

Hello doctor, my 8 year kid is autistic, as per the doctor advice we are giving him, night -sizodon -.5 mg tablet - 1,1/2, 5 ml l-carnosine, 5 ml auti max. Day - asprito - 5 mg, 5 ml l-carnosine, 5 ml auti max the problem is still he is hyper and aggressive and he always press his stomach, I think he feel pain and tightness in stomach, can you pls suggest how we can not control this pain because due to pain he not able to do any thing, most of the time he feel pain. Pls advice thanks & regard

MBBS, MRCPsych, Post Graduate Diploma in Geriatric Medicine
Psychiatrist, Bangalore
Sizodon and asprito are used to help with aggression problems associated with autism, but they can cause constipation and stomach upset as a side effect. Asprito is better than sizodon. You could request your psychiatrist to just try asprito, and ...
2 people found this helpful

My son is 3 n half year old n maybe he have autism. Is autism can be cure? N can they leave normal life? please suggest.

Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT), PG Diploma in Hospital Management, Bachelor in Occupational Therapy, CAS - Certified Autism Specialist, Sensory Enrichment Therapy, Early Childhood Special education, Drama Therapy
Occupational Therapist, Bangalore
Very true, you will be able to know the prognosis once you start the therapies. Occupational therapy (SI) is must.

My son is mild autistic, he is currently aged 16 years, going through the adolescence. He recently started complaining about his scary life, he wants to die, he wants to injure himself. I presume - these are due to hormonal changes and depression. Can you suggest a remedy for this?

PGDCA, BA-Psychology, MA-Psychology, Phd Understanding Mental Retardation
Psychologist, Delhi
Autistic children are more energetic than Normal Children Send him to a normal school to keep himself busy and have a regular routine.

My son is diagnosed for autism and he does not speak yet. He is 4 years old. Can you please let me know the treatment options.

MD - Psychiatry
Psychiatrist, Chennai
You have to get the diagnosis confirmed by a psychiatrist and then go for behavior modification techniques from a Occupational therapist. There are many who do not do good job, so you really have to find one who does a good behavior therapy. It wi...
6 people found this helpful

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