If you are concerned that your child may have an autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) then the first thing to realise is that you are not alone. It is estimated that including people with Asperger syndrome there are around 600,000 people with the condition in the U.K. today.
How a Diagnosis Can Help
Many families have been helped by having the condition officially diagnosed. A positive diagnosis can serve as a starting point for parents. From there they are able to move forward and start to explore the kind of help and support that is available both to them and their child. Once a child has been diagnosed it can also make it so much easier to get the help you need.
Diagnosis Can Be Difficult
Despite the fact that early diagnosis can be such a big help it can be difficult to have the condition diagnosed. During the early years of any child's development it is not always easy to know exactly what is happening. All children develop at different speeds and just because a child is not as advanced as some others it does not mean that there is a serious problem lurking.
Even so the likelihood is that symptoms will start to appear early in a child's life. Statistics show it is a condition that is far more likely to affect boys than girls. This could be from birth and is normally within the first three years.
Behaviours to Look Out For
There are four behaviour areas to look out for, but they are not always easy to detect.
- . To start with you may notice difficulty with early social skills. This could show as preferring to be on their own or not understanding that they have done something wrong.
- . There may also be problems with communication. For example not being able to communicate how they are feeling or using odd combinations of words.
- . A lack of imagination when playing. This could be playing the same games regularly or being interested in games that other children have grown out of.
- . General unusual behaviour. Often this is based around repetitive actions. You may also notice an autistic child becoming angry or frustrated if their routine is changed or disrupted. This frustration may be taken out of themselves and lead to them hurting themselves.
More Signs to Look Out For
Other early signs include later speech development and then problems expressing themselves. This can include using the wrong words, using more words than is necessary and also not using hands to make gestures in support of their speech. You may also notice other tendencies such as tapping parts of the body, rocking, teeth grinding and repetitive grunting.
No Know Reasons for Development
Why autism develops is unclear. It has nothing to do with the way a child is brought up. A typical IQ for someone with the condition is 70. This compares with the average of 100. An IQ of 70 classes someone as having learning difficulties. This is not always the case and some children will have normal and even high intelligence.
Autism and Friendships
While it may appear that autistic children do not want to make friends this is untrue. The problem is that they find it difficult to do so owing to the problem they have with their social skills.
Treatment for Autism
There is no cure for the condition and treatment revolves around helping the child to reach their full potential. Any child with the condition should be assigned to a specialist in the field. Their role is to work with the child and parents to help improve areas such as communication and language skills. They will also work on general behaviour. A change in diet may also be suggested although there is no concrete evidence that this can be beneficial. Very occasionally medication is used to help control extreme cases of aggression.
Early Treatment is Considered Beneficial
It is widely believed that the earlier treatment starts the better chance there is of improvement. Although autism is a condition that continues through adult life there can be a natural improvement in teenage years. This improvement normally shows itself in improved social skills.
Severity Can Vary
The severity of the disorder can vary from child to child. For more difficult cases it may be beneficial to attend a specialist school. Some of these schools also offer boarding.
Outlook for Autism
The outlook is not always bad. Although the condition remains into adulthood many people are able to hold down a job and get through life with a little extra support.
The first place to go if you have any concerns is your doctor's surgery. Help is also just a phone call away. Try calling the National Autistic Society helpline on 0845 070 4004. It is open 10am-4pm Monday to Friday.
The health section of Parenting.co.uk is not to be used as a substitute for your GP; if your child is ill then seek the advice of a qualified doctor or other health professional without delay.
If your child has been detected with autism then you should immediately take medical advice. The sooner it gets detected the better for your child. For any kind of health problem you should consult a good physician, for instance, if someone in your family has to undergo cataract surgery then you should contact www.youreyedoc.com/.
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