As a developmental disorder, autism can occur at different moments of a child’s life. Sometimes, it can be accompanied by diseases. In such cases, it is possible to recognize some of the symptoms faster. However, there are also cases where the child develops properly according to parents but either inhibition or regress occur at some point in the child. This unexplainable downtime can alarm the parents just as other symptoms, such as avoidance of eye contact or rapid responses to touch, sounds etc. There is also a group of autists in whom developmental disorders appear slowly and build up irregularly. Thus, it is more difficult to recognize it and conduct preventive measures.
What is autism?
Autism is a developmental disorder manifested mainly by avoidance of eye contact with other persons as well as significantly distorted interaction and communication with the surroundings. People suffering from autism prefer repeatability and learned behavior. Often, due to literal interpretation of words and gestures, they can have problems with decoding others’ emotions and understanding speeches, especially when the utterance is laced with ambiguity (for example, irony, cynicism, humor).
Each autistic disorder has different characteristics. Therefore, it cannot be surely assumed which child will have particular problems either now or in the future. Notwithstanding, there is a large number of autists who cope well in their lives – some due to mild forms of their disorders, but in most cases this results from an effective therapy.
There have been numerous types of therapies developed for treating autistic children. The two most popular techniques include behavioral and development techniques. The therapy allows to correct deficits, restore appropriate development and, as a consequence, improve the quality of life of autistic persons. Permanent work and rehabilitation, especially when launched during the early stages of development, can be highly successful. However, one needs to remember that in many cases autism is accompanied by other conditions – neurological diseases, mental illness and other diseases. Hence, the therapy can be more complicated and more difficult.
What are the symptoms of autism?
Autism has no single appearance. Therefore, it is best to have it diagnosed by several specialists (doctors, therapists and educators). In order to able to unanimously assert that a person suffers from autism, it is mandatory to dedicate long time to observation. Child’s behavior is evaluated based on in-house situations, pre-school activities as well as behavior in school, during trips and visits in new places etc.
Autism is manifested rather quickly – already at the age of 3. The child might start limiting contact with its surroundings, avoid eye contact and hugging as well as stop speaking. In addition, child’s speeches can be taken out of context. A large part of autistic children prefer repeatable activities and fixed rituals. Furthermore, autists often establish a fixed order for themselves. They perform their activities according to this order and follow it strictly.
Autistic children can be extremely quiet and introvert. They seldom express emotions, show neither joy nor anger. They often do not see persons close to them. Parents, especially during the child’s first phase of life, can perceive such behavior as something good thinking that their child is well-disciplined.
Concern can be raised due to child’s impulsive behavior resulting from loud sounds, touch (including clothes and clothing labels), smell as well as other external stimuli. What might also be alarming is the child’s anxiety occurring during unusual situations, for example a walk taken during an unusual time, a new route to either kindergarten or school, a longer trip or departure to a unknown place etc.