What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Autism spectrum disorder is a neurological and developmental disability. It is often characterised by constant struggles in socialisation, difficulties in communication, restricted interests, and repetitive behaviour.

Individuals diagnosed with this particular disorder may have distinct methods of learning, moving, and paying attention. While there are common characteristics of autism, most people with this condition may experience different degrees of functionality impairment.

Autism affects individuals in various methods. Hence, some go through constant meltdowns and extreme anxiety, while others struggle to communicate and show repetitive behaviours.

Autism Spectrum Disorder Symptoms

Since there is a wide variation and type of symptom severity experienced by people with ASD, symptoms may differ from one person to another. But there are early signs that parents and guardians can observe before the child turns one, and these symptoms often become visible as the child grows up.

However, according to the ASD guidelines and criteria exemplars from DSM-5 by the American Psychiatric Association, individuals with autism often have:

  • Persistent difficulty in communicating and interacting with others
  • Limited interests and repetitive actions and behaviours
  • Symptoms that limit and impair their ability to function in daily life

For further understanding, listed below are some of the typical autism spectrum disorder symptoms. But note that not everyone will display the same or all signs.

Social Communication and Interaction Deficits Include:
  • Decreased sharing of interest or emotion with others
  • Seemingly unable to pay attention to a person who is talking
  • Trouble understanding and appreciating others or their own emotions
  • The difficulty of using non-verbal gestures
  • Unusual speaking tone, often sounding flat, sing-song, or robot-like
  • Difficulty making or keeping peers
Restrictive or Repetitive Behaviours Include:
  • Persistent display of specific behaviours or unusual actions, such as hand flapping, spinning, etc.
  • Repeating words or phrases, which is referred to as echolalia
  • Deep-rooted extreme interest in particular topics
  • Feeling upset due to minor changes in routine
  • Hypersensitive to light, sound, taste, or touch
  • Arranging things in a precise method

Autism Spectrum Disorder Treatment

Unfortunately, there is no known cure for autism spectrum disorder, only specific interventions to help improve the functionality of the diagnosed individual. The following ASD treatments are as follows:

  • Applied Behavioural Analysis
  • Cognitive Behaviour Therapy
  • Joint Attention Therapy
  • Social Skills Training
  • Speech and Language Therapy
  • Nutritional Therapy
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Parent Management Training
  • Medication Treatment
  • Special Education Services

Each autism spectrum disorder treatment has different methods of helping individuals with ASD to function better. And medical practitioners are doing constant research to develop these interventions.

So, it is essential to do your part as a parent or guardian to learn more about autism spectrum disorder to understand why they behave in a particular manner. In return, you can also help these individuals function more efficiently and live more comfortably.

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