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  • Wednesday, July, 2022| Today's Market | Current Time: 04:22:33
  • Sneha BS, Consultant Neuro Physiotherapist, Pro Physio Healthcare

    Having a child is a life changing experience. There is so much joy, anticipation and eagerness to watch them grow and venture out into the world. To ensure the child’s development is smooth and optimal, parents put the child’s best interest before anything else. Therefore, being informed and vigilant becomes essential. So, in light of World Autism Day, let us shed some light on Autism.

    The first step towards solving any problem is becoming aware:

    Most of the illnesses present with symptoms that are common and specific, like fever, pain, indigestion etc. On the other hand, Autism is something vague and it can be missed easily. The systems affected in autism are several. There are many misconceptions that delays the parents to seek help. For example, Autism is a western disease; the delay in speech is familial; the delay in interaction is because the child is very moody; Autism comes from bad parenting; screen time causes Autism etc.

    Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) falls under Pervasive developmental disorders that affects speech, communication and social behaviour of the child. Basically, their interaction with environment, communication, play and social behaviour is very different from majority of the children their age. The child with autism can have varied degree of cognitive abilities. Tracking your child’s developmental milestones helps you recognise these symptoms early on. Each autistic child is different. The extent and severity of symptoms varies from child to child. Let us look at the signs and symptoms:

    Signs and Symptoms:

    ·        Delay in development of speech

    ·        Having trouble in pointing

    ·        Poor eye contact and facial regard

    ·        Plays with toys differently, like uses the toys differently, repetitive play, inability to pretend play etc

    ·        Unusual responses to certain colours, lights, spinning objects, aversions to certain textures etc

    ·        Difficulty to express in any form

    ·        Problems with attention, learning

    ·        Likes to play/ be alone. Does not attempt to make friends

    ·        Difficulty to cope with changes in day-to-day routine

    ·        A few may have sensory issues like hyperactivity and difficulty to complete activities that require sitting

    Developmental paediatrics is a branch of medicine that deals with the development of the child with respect to physical, cognitive, behavioural and social domains. A Developmental screening is applied to test the basic skills of the child like social interactions, physical health, play behaviour, learning and speech. Based on the results, the management is planned.

    Treatment of ASD:

    No cure has been found for ASD yet. However, it can be effectively managed with therapy. One has to note that not all children need all therapies. The therapy team involves Developmental Paediatrician / Paediatric Neurologist, occupational therapist, physiotherapist, speech and Language Pathologist, nutritionist, clinical psychologist and special educators. The intervention is always holistic and multidimensional. The entire team works together to set realistic goals and collectively work to achieve them.

    A developing brain is constantly forming new neuronal networks rapidly. It can be referred to as plastic or malleable state. It has the ability to learn and receive more information than an adult’s brain. Therefore, intervening at an early stage causes better neuroplastic changes. The child may be able to learn faster and better. Hence, earlier the intervention, better the prognosis. It is seen children below three years responds to therapies much better than older kids.

    Tracking the developmental milestones from time to time becomes crucial. Every parent needs to be vigilant to catch the symptoms earlier and hence providing the child a better chance of improvements, at therapies.

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