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Autism Spectrum Disorder - Signs, Symptoms, & Treatment for kids & old-age

18 hours ago 236 Reads 7 min read
Nisha Ravishankar Autism 06 Feb 2021

Autism is a complex neurobehavioral condition that includes impairments in social interaction and developmental language and communication skills combined with rigid, repetitive behavior. Because of the range of the symptoms, this condition is now called autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

People usually call it autism (say aw-tiz-um), but officially it is an autism spectrum disorder because these problems happen when the brain develops differently and has trouble making sense of the world and helping someone communicate.

Children suffering from autism have trouble communicating. They have problems in understanding what other people think and feel. This situation makes it very hard to express their words, gesture s, facial expressions, and touch. A child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) who is very sensitive may be greatly troubled, sometimes even pained by sounds, touches, smells, or sights that seem normal to others.

Children who are autistic may have repetitive stereotyped body movements such as rocking, pacing, or hand flapping. They are very much responsive to the change in their routines or aggressive or self-injurious behavior. Some children with autism may also develop seizures that may not occur until adolescence.

It is possible to say how you might feel when the suspicion starts to creep up that your son or daughter might have a disability. For some parents, it's absolutely heartbreaking.

Signs and Symptoms of Autism

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can look different in different people. It is a developmental disability that affects the way people communicate, behave or interact with others. There is no single cause for it, and symptoms can be very mild or very serve. The main features of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are problems with social communication and interaction.

Signs of ASD in pre-school children:

Spoken Language:

  1. Delayed speech development (for example, speaking less than 50 different words by age of 2), or not speaking at all.
  2. Frequent repetition of set words and phrases.
  3. Speech that sounds very monotonous or flat.
  4. Preferring to communicate using a single word, despite being able to speak a sentence.

Responding to others:

  1. Not responding to their names being called, despite having normal hearing.
  2. Rejecting cuddles initiated by a parent or career (although they may initiate cuddles themselves).
  3. Reacting unusually negatively when asked to do something by someone else.

Interacting with others:

  1. Not being aware of other people's personal space, or being unusually intolerant of people entering their own personal space.
  2. Little interest in interacting with other people, including children of similar age.
  3. Not enjoying situations that most children of their age like, such as birthday parties.
  4. Preferring to play alone, rather than asking others to play with them.
  5. Rarely using gestures or facial expressions when communicating.
  6. Avoid eye contact.


  1. Having repetitive movements such as flapping their hands rocking back and forth, or flicking their fingers.
  2. Playing with toys in a repetitive and unimaginative way, such as lining blocks up in order of size or color rather than using them to build something.
  3. Preferring to have a familiar routine and getting very upset if there are changes to this routine.
  4. Having a strong like or dislike of certain food based on the texture or color of the food as much as the taste.
  5. Unusual sensory interest. For example, children with ASD may sniff toys, or objects, or people inappropriately.

Signs and Symptoms of ASD in school-age children:

Spoken Language:

  1. Preferring to avoid using spoken language.
  2. Speech that sounds very flat.
  3. Speaking in pre-learned phrases, rather than putting together individual words to form new sentences.
  4. Seeming to talk at people, rather than sharing a two-way conversation.

Responding to others:

  1. Talking about people's speech literally and being unable to understand sarcasm or figures of speech.
  2. Reacting unusually negatively when asked to do something by someone else.

Interacting with others:

  1. Not being aware of other people's personal space or being unusually intolerant of people entering their own personal space.
  2. Little interest in interacting with other people, including children of a similar age, or having few close friends, despite attempts to form a friendship.
  3. Not understanding how people normally interact socially, such as greeting people or wishing them farewell.
  4. Being unable to adapt the tone and content of their speech to different social situations. For example, speaking very formally at a party and then speaking to total strangers in familiar ways.
  5. Not enjoying situations and activities that most children of their age enjoy.
  6. Rarely using gestures or facial expression when communicating.
  7. Avoiding eye contact.


  1. Repetitive movements, such as flapping their hands, rocking back and forth, or flicking their fingers.
  2. Playing in a repetitive and unimaginative manner, often preferring to play with objects rather than people.
  3. Developing a highly specific interest in a particular subject or activity.
  4. Preferring to have a familiar routine and getting very upset if there are any changes to their normal routine.
  5. Having strong likes or dislikes of certain food based on the texture or color of food as much as the taste.
  6. Unusual sensory interests, for example, children with ASD may sniff toys, objects, or people inappropriate.

Other conditions associated with ASD:

People with ASD often have symptoms or aspects of other conditions, such as;

  1. Learning disability.
  2. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ASD).
  3. Tourette's Syndromes
  4. Epilepsy
  5. Dyspraxia
  6. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
  7. Generalized Anxiety Disorder.
  8. Depression.
  9. Bipolar Disorder.
  10. Sleep Problems.
  11. Sensory Difficulties.

Treatment of Autism

Even if your child hasn't officially diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). He/She may still benefit from certain treatments. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) makes those treatments possible for children under age 3 who may be at risk for developmental problems. The type of treatment a child receives for an ASD depends on his individual needs. They can include different kinds of therapies, to improve speech and behavior, and sometimes meditations to manage any condition related to autism.

The treatment of your child can benefit from most depends on his situation and needs, but goals are the same; to reduce his symptoms and improve his learning and development.

Behavior and Communication Treatment:

  1. Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA):  ABA is often used in schools and clinics to help a child learn positive behavior and reduces the negative ones. This approach can be used to improve a wide range of skills, and there are different situations including.

  2. Discrete Trial Training (DTT) uses simple lessons and positive reinforcement.

  3. Pivotal Response Training (PRT) helps to develop the motivation to learn and communicate.

  4. Early Intensive Behavioural Intervention (EIBI) is the best for children under age 5.

  5. Verbal Behaviour Intervention (VBI) focuses on language skills.

Developmental, Individual Differences, Relationship-Based Approach (DIR):

This kind of treatment is better than Floortime. That's because it involves you getting on the floor with your child to play and do the activities he likes. It's meant to support emotional and intellectual growth by helping him learn skills around communication and emotions.

Treatment and Education of Autistic and Related Communication Handicapped Children (TEACCH):

This treatment uses visual clues such as picture cards to help your child learn everyday skills like getting dressed. Information is broken down into small steps so he can learn it more easily.

Pictures Exchange Communication System (PECS):

This is another visual-based treatment, but it uses symbols instead of picture cards. Your child learns to ask questions and communicate through special symbols.

Occupational Therapy:

This kind of treatment helps your child learn life skills like feeding and dressing him, bathing, and understand how to relate to other peoples. The skills he learns are meant to help him live as independently as he can.

Sensory Integration Therapy:

If your child is easily upset by things like bright lights, certain sounds, or the feeling of being touched, this therapy can help him learn to deal with that kind of sensory information.

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