Medical

Autism: Symptoms, Cause, and Treatment of Autism

Autism is a complex neurobehavioral disorder that includes impairments in social interaction, speech and communication skills, and dry, repetitive behaviors. This disease is called Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) because of the wide range of symptoms. This range includes symptoms, skills, and levels of disability. The severity of ASD can range from a defect that causes minor limitations in everyday life to devastating disabilities that require primary care.

Children with Autism have difficulty communicating. They have difficulty understanding others’ thoughts and feelings and cannot express their feelings through words or gestures, facial expressions, and touch. A child with ASD who is very sensitive may have difficulty or even pain in hearing sounds, touching, smelling, or seeing scenes that seem familiar to others. Children with Autism may have repetitive and imitative body movements such as constant shaking, walking, or repetitive hand movements. They may have abnormal reactions to others, cling to objects, resist changing behaviors, or engage in aggressive or self-harming behavior. Sometimes it may seem that they do not pay attention to the people, objects, or activities around them. Some children with Autism may have seizures, and sometimes these seizures do not occur until adolescence.

Some people with Autism have some cognitive problems. Unlike the more typical cognitive impairment, which is characterized by equal relative retardation in all development areas, people with Autism develop an inequality skill development. They may have problems in certain areas, especially in communicating with others. However, they may have unusually developed skills in other areas such as painting, making music, solving math problems, or memorizing subjects. They may score average or even above average on non-verbal intelligence tests.

Symptoms of Autism usually manifest during the first three years of life. Some babies have symptoms from birth. Some seem familiar at first but suddenly develop these symptoms when they reach 18-36 months. However, some people do not show signs of communication disorders until the environmental demand exceeds their capabilities. The prevalence of Autism among boys is four times that of girls, and it does not appear to have racial, ethnic, or social boundaries. Family income, lifestyle, or parental education do not affect a child’s likelihood of developing Autism.

The prevalence of Autism is increasing, although it is not clear whether this increase is related to diagnosing the disease or a real increase in the prevalence. Autism is a disorder that is affecting more and more people. Previous disorders that are currently classified as ASD or a social communication disorder include:

  • Autistic Disorder: This is what most people think of when they hear the name Autism. This condition refers to social interaction, communication, and imaginative play in children under three years of age.
  • Asperger syndrome: These children do not have speech problems. They score average or higher on IQ tests but have some social problems and limited interests, such as children with Autism. Asperger syndrome is the mild end of the autism spectrum. A person with Asperger syndrome may be brilliant and can handle life. He may focus on topics of interest to him and discuss them thoroughly. But he has social problems.
  • Pervasive growth disorder or PDD: This condition is also known as atypical Autism. This type of problem affects children who have some autistic behaviors but are not classified into other groups.
  • Childhood disruption disorder: These children develop naturally for at least two years and then lose some of their communication and social skills. This is a sporadic disorder that is highly questionable as a separate disorder among many mental health professionals.
  • Rat Syndrome: This syndrome used to be classified as an autism spectrum disorder, but it has now been confirmed that the cause of Rat Syndrome is genetic. Children with rat syndrome, mostly girls, usually develop at first but lose their communication and social skills. At 1 to 4 years of age, repetitive hand movements are replaced by the hand’s purposeful use. Children with rat syndrome often have severe cognitive problems.

History of Autism:

Since the early 1900s, the term autism has been used to refer to a wide range of neuropsychological problems. But where did the term come from, and how did the knowledge about autism change?

The term autism is derived from the Greek word autos, which means. The term describes a situation in which a person is excluded from social interactions; in other words, they have become an isolated self. Swiss psychiatrist Eugene Buller was the first to use the term. He used the word in 1911 to refer to some of the symptoms associated with schizophrenia. In the 1940s, American researchers used the term autism to describe children with emotional or social problems. Leo Connor, a physician at Johns Hopkins University, used the term autism to describe several children’s behavior with isolationist behavior. Simultaneously, the German scientist Hans Asperger identified a similar condition and called it Asperger syndrome.

Until the 1960s, Autism and schizophrenia were related diseases in the minds of many researchers. It was then that medical professionals gradually gained a different understanding of Autism in children. From the 1960s to the 1970s, research into the treatment of Autism focused on drugs such as LSD, electric shock, and behavioral modification techniques. The latter relied on pain and punishment. During the 1980s and 1990s, behavioral therapy and highly controlled learning environments became the leading therapies for many forms of autism and related problems. At present, the basis of autism treatment is behavioral therapy and speech therapy.

What causes Autism?

Because Autism is more common in some families, most researchers believe that certain combinations of genes affect a child’s susceptibility to the disease. But other risk factors increase the chances of having a child with Autism; For example, increasing the age of a parent when having children increases the chances of having a child with Autism. When a pregnant woman is exposed to certain medications or chemicals, her baby is more likely to develop this illness. These risk factors include alcohol, maternal metabolic problems such as diabetes and obesity, and anticonvulsants during pregnancy. In some cases, this illness has also been linked to untreated phenylketonuria (PKU) and rubella (German measles). There has been much controversy over the relationship between Autism and vaccination in children, but there is no evidence that vaccination causes this illness. Researchers also do not have strong evidence that a child’s psychological environment, such as how a child is cared for, can cause Autism. Some research suggests that the disease may result from brain abnormalities that process sensory inputs and are involved in language processing.

Do vaccines cause Autism?

Research shows that vaccines do not cause Autism. Many studies have been conducted to find a connection in this field, but none of them have confirmed the existence of such a connection.

The association between measles-mumps-rubella vaccine (MMR) and Autism:

The suspicion began when, in 1998, British researchers published an article claiming that the measles-mumps-rubella triple vaccine (MMR) causes Autism. In this study, only 12 children were studied, but it attracted a lot of attention. At the same time, there was a significant increase in the number of children diagnosed with this illness. This article’s findings led other physicians to study the possible link between the triple vaccine and Autism. At least 12 studies were performed, none of which confirmed such a correlation.

A study of a 1998 study revealed some of the problems with conducting this study. The journal that published this article eventually returned it so that other research would not be affected by the results. There were other problems. For example, the researchers found that a lawyer looking for a link between vaccines and Autism had paid about half a million dollars to the lead researcher.

The Relationship between Thimerosal and Autism:

One year after studying English, concerns about the link between the vaccine and Autism shifted to the substance used in children’s vaccines. This substance, called Thimerosal, contains mercury. Mercury is a metal that is harmful to the brain and kidneys at high levels. Doctors used Thimerosal to prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi in vaccines. There was no evidence that low doses of the drug could be harmful. By 2001, however, the substance had been removed from most pediatric vaccines.

To determine if Thimerosal was linked to Autism, researchers looked at children who had been vaccinated with the substance. They compared children who received the vaccine with those who did not. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States supported nine different studies to investigate the possible association between Thimerosal and Autism. The results of these studies did not confirm such an association. Also, diagnoses of Autism continued to increase after the vaccine manufacturers removed the Thimerosal vaccine from most pediatric vaccines (small amounts of the substance are now available in diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis vaccines known as DTaP and DTaP-Hib). Are, there are).

The researchers also looked at whether all of the vaccines needed for children under two together trigger Autism. Children receive 25 vaccinations in the first 15 months of life. Some people were worried that getting them all early in life might lead to the development of Autism in them. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention compared groups of children who received the vaccines on a recommended schedule with those who received the vaccines late or did not receive the vaccines at all. There was no difference in the prevalence of Autism between the two groups.

In 2004, the Immunization Health Inspection Committee of the Medical Institute published a report on the subject. The researchers reviewed all published or unpublished studies on the link between vaccines and Autism. A 200-page report stated that there was no evidence to support a link between vaccines and Autism.

Types of Autism:

Over time, psychiatrists have developed a systematic approach to describing Autism and related conditions. All of these disorders are known as autism spectrum disorders. These disorders are classified into four levels based on the severity of the symptoms. The term pervasive growth disorder used to be used but is no longer used. If a child was previously read PDD, under the new diagnostic criteria, it should be ASD.

What are the symptoms of Autism?

One of the common symptoms in all types of Autism is the inability to communicate and interact with others. Some people with Autism are unable to communicate at all. Others may have difficulty interpreting body language or memorizing a conversation. Symptoms associated with Autism may include abnormal behaviors in the following areas:

  • Interest in specific objects or information
  • React to emotions
  • Physical coordination

These symptoms are usually seen early in the disease. Most children with severe Autism are diagnosed by the age of three.

Autism spectrum disorder can take many forms in different people. It is a developmental disability that affects people’s communication, behavior, and interactions with the disease. There is no single cause for it, and its symptoms can range from very mild to very severe. Some children with the onset develop the first symptoms when they are only a few months old. Others seem to develop naturally in the first few months of life, after which they develop symptoms.

The disease’s symptoms are visible in half of the affected children up to 12 months, and approximately 90-80% of the cases develop symptoms by the age of two. Children with ASD will have symptoms throughout their lives, but it is also possible that they will get better with age.

social skills:

A child with ASD has difficulty communicating with others. Problems with social skills are one of the most common symptoms. The sufferer may want to have a close relationship but may not know how to do it. If children have this problem, they may show some social symptoms when they are 8-10 months old. These symptoms include any of the following:

  • Unable to react to hearing his name at the age of one
  • Has no interest in playing, sharing, or talking to other people
  • He prefers to be alone
  • Avoids physical contact
  • Avoids eye contact
  • When he is upset, he does not like to comfort others
  • Does not understand the feelings of others
  • When others want to lift him off the ground or teach him to walk, he does not open his arms.
  •  Verbal communication

About 40% of children with autism spectrum disorders do not speak at all, and between 25% and 25% learn some speech skills during childhood but later lose them. Some children with ASD start talking later. Most of these people have speech problems, such as:

  • Delay in speaking and speaking skills
  • Uniform and robotic sound
  • Echo (repetition of words)
  • Having trouble using pronouns (for example, I say instead of you)
  • Do not use or use sign language infrequently and do not react to the gestures of others
  • Inability to stay on topic while speaking or answering questions
  • Lack of recognition of irony and jokes
  • behavior patterns
  • Children with ASD have abnormal behaviors or unusual interests. Examples of this are:
  • Repetitive behaviors such as shaking hands, shaking, jumping, or spinning
  • Constant movements (walking) and excessive behavior
  • Sticking to specific activities or objects
  • Being tied to certain routines (and getting upset when a routine changes even slightly)
  • Very sensitive to touch, light, and sound
  • Do not participate in pretend games or imitate the behavior of others
  • Food-making habits
  • Lack of coordination, sloppiness
  • Impulsive behavior (action without thinking)
  • Aggressive behavior both with oneself and with others
  • Short attention span

Discovering the signs and symptoms of autism spectrum disorder:

The sooner treatment for Autism is started, the more likely it is to be effective. Therefore, it is essential to be aware of the signs and symptoms of this disease. If the following developmental stages are not seen or delayed in a child, it is necessary to see a pediatrician.

  • Smiling at six months
  • Imitation of facial expressions or sounds at nine months
  • Making sounds at 12 months
  • Movements (pointing or shaking hands) at 14 months
  • Speak one word at 16 months and use two or more words at 24 months
  • Performing pretend games at 18 months

How do doctors diagnose Autism?

Early detection can make a massive difference in the lives of children with autism spectrum disorder and their families. However, diagnosing ASD is not always easy. There is no laboratory test for it, so the doctor relies on observing the children’s behavior and hearing their parents’ concerns. ASD has a wide range of symptoms. Some people in this spectrum have severe mental disorders. Others may be knowledgeable and able to live independently. Whether or not a child has the condition is determined during the two-stage diagnosis of Autism, which begins with a pediatrician.

Examination of the child: Pediatricians are the first step in the process of diagnosing Autism. Every child is screened at 18 and 24 months, even if they do not appear to have symptoms of Autism. In these examinations, the pediatrician observes and talks to the child. She will also ask her parents questions about her family history of Autism and its development and behavior.

  • Did the baby smile at six months?
  • Did he imitate the sounds and facial expressions at the age of 9 months?
  • Has he tried to make sounds since he was 12 months old?
  • Does he have abnormal and repetitive behaviors?
  • Is it difficult to make eye contact?
  • Does he interact with others and share his experiences?
  • Does he react when something tries to get his attention?
  • Is the tone of his voice uniform?
  • Does he understand the reaction of others?
  • Is he sensitive to light, sound, or temperature?
  • Are there any problems with his sleep or digestion?
  • Is there a tendency to annoyance or anger in him?

The answers to these questions are critical in screening a child. If all else fails, get ideas from others. But if the child has developmental problems or the doctor has concerns about him, it is necessary to see a specialist for further tests.

Other tests to Diagnose Autism

If the child needs more tests, they will probably need a team of ASD specialists, including a pediatrician, speech, and language pathologist, an occupational therapist. You may also need the help of a developmental pediatrician and a neurologist. This assessment is usually done to look at things like the child’s cognitive level, speech skills, and other life skills such as eating, dressing, and going to the toilet. To formally diagnose a child’s illness, they must meet the standards for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) published by the American Psychiatric Association. For a child to be diagnosed with Autism, he or she must have problems in the following areas:

First: The Challenge of Communicating and Social Interaction: Children with ASD have difficulty communicating with others or predicting the reaction of others, understanding social symptoms, making eye contact, or having a conversation. They may start speaking later than typical children. They may also have difficulty with muscle skills for activities such as exercise, drawing, or writing.

Second: limited and repetitive behavioral patterns: Children with ASD may experience fluctuating body movements or repetitive words and feel uncomfortable when routine changes. They are usually very attracted to a particular topic. They also have sensory problems.

Treatment of Autism

The type of treatment a child receives for autism spectrum disorder depends on their individual needs. Because ASD is a spectral disorder (meaning that some children have mild symptoms while others have severe symptoms) and each child with the disease is unique, there are different treatments for the disease. These treatments can include treatments to improve speech and behavior and sometimes medications to manage other autism-related problems. The treatments a child can on their situation and needs, but the goal is to reduce symptoms and improve their learning and development. The approach to treating Autism varies depending on the needs of the individual. In general, these therapies fall into the following groups.

  • Behavioral and communication therapies
  • Dietary and medical treatments
  • Complementary therapies (for example, music or art therapy)
  • Behavioral and communication therapies

The primary treatment for Autism includes programs that address several key areas. These areas include behavior, communication, sensory cohesion, and the development of social skills. Addressing these issues requires close collaboration between parents, teachers, exceptional education professionals, and mental health professionals.

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA): ABA is often used in schools and clinics to help children learn positive behaviors and reduce negative behaviors. This approach can improve a wide range of skills, and there are several types of skills to use in different situations, including:

  • Separate Experimental Training (DTT) that uses simple lessons and positive support
  • Response-Based Training (PRT), which strengthens the motivation to learn and communicate
  • Primary intensive behavioral intervention (EIBI) is best for children under five
  • Oral Behavioral Intervention (VBI), which emphasizes speech skills

Individual and Developmental Relationships and Differences Approach (DIR): This type of treatment is more commonly known as Floortime. In this way, the child is placed on the playground with his parent and engages in activities that he likes. This means supporting the child’s emotional and intellectual development by helping him or her to learn communication and emotional skills.

Treatment and education of children with Autism and children with communication disorders (TEACCH): This treatment method uses visual cues such as picture cards to help learn everyday skills such as dressing. Information is broken down into small sections (small steps) to learn them more easily.

Image Exchange Communication System (PECS): In this therapeutic approach, symbols are used instead of image cards. The child learns to ask questions and communicate through special symbols.

Occupational therapy: This type of therapy helps the child learn life skills such as eating, dressing, and going to the toilet, and how to communicate with others. The purpose of these skills is to help him become independent.

Sensory Cohesion Therapy: If your child is easily disturbed by things like bright lights, unusual sounds, or touch, this type of treatment can help them deal with that kind of sensory information.

Dietary and pharmacological treatments:

The purpose of prescribing medication is to make it easier for the patient to participate in behavioral and speech therapies. Medications used to treat anxiety, attention problems, depression, hyperactivity, and impulsivity may be prescribed. These drugs do not cure Autism (not yet known to cure Autism) but can be useful in improving the symptoms behind a person’s inability to move on the path of learning and growth.

There is evidence that people with Autism may have specific deficiencies in certain vitamins and minerals. These deficiencies do not cause autism spectrum disorders. However, supplements may be recommended to improve nutrition. Vitamin B and magnesium are two of the most commonly recommended supplements for people with Autism. Of course, one should be careful about using these supplements too much. Dietary changes may also help treat some of the symptoms of Autism. For example, eliminating allergens from the diet may improve behavior-related problems.

Drugs used to treat the symptoms of Autism

There is no cure for autism spectrum disorder, and there is currently no cure for it. However, some medications can be prescribed to treat related symptoms such as depression, seizures, insomnia, and concentration problems. Studies have shown that the best results are obtained by using pharmacological therapies in combination with behavioral therapies. Risperidone is the only FDA-approved drug for children with an autism spectrum disorder. It can be prescribed to children aged 5-16 years to help with their irritability. Some doctors may prescribe other medications for certain conditions, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), anxiolytics, or stimulants. Still, the Food and Drug Administration has not approved these medications for Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Complementary therapies:

These therapies may help improve learning and communication skills in some people with Autism. Complementary therapies include music therapy, animal therapy, such as equestrian therapy.

Nutrition:

Experts do not recommend a special diet for children with an autism spectrum disorder, but it is essential to get the right diet. Some children with ASD limit their diet to only certain foods, or their parents try to eliminate substances such as gluten from their diet to help improve their symptoms. However, no evidence eliminating gluten or casein (proteins found in wheat and milk) from their diet can help treat the symptoms of ASD, and restricting foods such as dairy can prevent proper bone development. Children with autism spectrum disorder often have thinner bones than healthy children, so it is essential to eat bone-building foods.

Special diets:

There is no substantial evidence that specific diets can help children with Autism. Autism is a complex brain disorder. While it may seem that skipping certain foods can help improve a child’s symptoms, it can do more harm. For example, children with Autism often have thinner bones. Dairy products contain nutrients that can help strengthen bones. The child’s diet should meet his nutritional needs and help improve his symptoms. It is best to consult a doctor and nutritionist. They help to design a proper diet for the child. Some children with Autism have digestive problems such as constipation, abdominal pain, or nausea and vomiting. Your doctor can prevent these symptoms from getting worse by recommending a proper diet. It should be borne in mind that nutritional needs change over time. Consulting a nutritionist will help your baby’s diet meet his or her needs as he or she grows.

Are Supplements Useful?

Many studies show that supplements can enhance nutrition and relieve some of the symptoms of ASD., for example:

  • Fatty acids: Essential fatty acids (EFAs) help develop the brain and immune system. Omega 3 and omega 6 are essential compounds in this regard. The body does not make these compounds, so they need to be supplied from foods or supplements. Omega 3 is found in seafood. Omega-6 is also found in meat, eggs, dairy, and vegetable oils.
  • Probiotics: The body needs good bacteria to digest. These bacteria live in the digestive tract. Probiotic supplements contain these beneficial microbes. They also help control swelling and inflammation, both of which are closely linked to autism.
  • Vitamins and minerals: It is common for children with autism not to get enough of these nutrients. The cause is the strict eating habits of the affected child. Mineral and vitamin supplements can help balance your baby’s system and ensure they get all the nutrients your body needs.
  • A healthy diet is essential for a child, but it is only a critical piece of the puzzle. The pediatrician helps to balance nutrition and medical and psychological therapies. A proper diet can be useful in reducing the symptoms of autism and the effectiveness of other treatments.

Can autism be prevented?

Doctors do not know what causes autism, but they believe that genes play a significant role in developing autism. In rare cases, doctors say that if the mother is exposed to certain chemicals during pregnancy, the baby may be born with congenital disabilities. Still, it is impossible to diagnose autism in the unborn baby.

Although having a child with autism cannot be prevented, the risk can be reduced by making lifestyle changes:

  • Healthy living: Perform regular checkups, balanced diets, exercise, prenatal care, and all recommended vitamins and supplements.
  • Do not take medicine during pregnancy: Before taking any medicine, you should consult a doctor. This is especially true for some anticonvulsants.
  • Avoid alcohol: Any alcohol should be avoided during pregnancy.
  • Treatment of existing health problems: If a person has celiac disease or phenylketonuria, it is necessary to follow the doctor’s advice to control these conditions.
  • Vaccination: The rubella vaccine (German measles) should be given before pregnancy. This can help prevent rubella-related autism.

Could adults be diagnosed with autism?

Autism spectrum disorder is commonly diagnosed in young children. Parents of children are aware of classic symptoms from the beginning, such as lack of eye contact, repetitive movements, and sensory issues. Also, all children are examined by a pediatrician for signs associated with the disease. Therefore, most cases of autism spectrum disorder are diagnosed by the age of two.

Of course, it is not long since some children were labeled mentally disabled without proper diagnosis and autism spectrum disorders. Yesterday’s children maybe today’s adults whose disease has not been correctly diagnosed.

If a person thinks they may have the disorder, they may have had relatively mild symptoms at first that were not diagnosed simultaneously. But if a person has more severe symptoms, a diagnostic error may have occurred. In the past, autism spectrum disorder was often confused with attention deficit disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or other mental health problems.

Some adults seek to diagnose autism spectrum disorder when they see that their child or a family member has been diagnosed with autism. Some may find this condition when they are being treated for another illness.

Some people take action themselves to see if their symptoms and habits may be due to ASD. The problem is that there is no specific approach to diagnosing ASD in adults. It is difficult to find an adult autism specialist. There are also several self-assessment tests for adults, which, of course, are not well approved and can not be diagnosed on their own, but can be a good starting point for a discussion with your doctor.

One of the reasons adults find it difficult to diagnose ASD is to manage and even hide their symptoms. It is also difficult to obtain information about childhood and development. The child is involved in diagnosing the child’s disease, but this may not be the adult’s case. If her parents can participate and respond, the doctor may want to talk to them. The path to diagnosing autism in an adult is not easy, but no matter which path one takes, it is essential that one can find the skills needed to deal with one’s weaknesses.

Prevalence of Autism:

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the prevalence of autism among American children in 2018 was one in 59 births, and the prevalence has been rising. The World Health Organization estimates the prevalence of the disease worldwide at one in every 160 births.

 

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