5 things about autism you should know

Is your child suffering from autism? Here’s what you should know about the mental ailment and some challenges you could face while taking care of them.
5 things about autism you should know5 things about autism you should know
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A broad range of mental conditions, characterised by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviours, speech and nonverbal communication is known as Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Very few people actually understand the disease and it often remains unidentified in children. If your child is suffering, he or she may experience difficulty in his or her ability to communicate, play, learn, and relate to others.

The main problem that most parents face is that there are no red flags of the disease. Either there are no symptoms in the beginning or they emerge gradually and become prominent only in the second and third year of life. If you’re wondering what could be a straight indication, look for signs of their struggle with abstract language—like understanding humour, or perhaps figurative languages such as metaphors and puns.

Dr Kedar Tilwe, Consultant Psychiatrist, Department of Mental Health & Behavioural Sciences at Fortis Hospital, Mumbai enlists five things about autism that people should be aware of.

1. The Autism Spectrum DSM-5 has introduced the concept of 'Autism Spectrum disorder' bringing the DSM-IV disorders of autistic disorder, Asperger's disorder and Childhood Disintegrative Disorder under the same umbrella.

2. Medical conditions such as epilepsy (seizure disorder) and gastrointestinal disturbances are fairly common among children with autism spectrum and need management.

3. Associated psychiatric conditions can include anxiety disorders, intellectual disability, and these need to be spotted and treated at the earliest.

4. The multidisciplinary approach comprises of behaviour therapy, occupational therapy, medical and psychiatric interventions. Treatments should be individualised and should be specific to the unique requirements of the particular child.

5. The burden of the caregiver is real. Parents who take care of a child suffering from autism have been shown to have increased stress levels and are at a heightened risk of depression, isolation, marital discord, and are known to have feelings of helplessness, etc.

If you know someone suffering from autism or a person taking care of someone autistic, you can help them by lending support and making them aware of these challenges.  

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