Understanding the Term Autism on World Autism Awareness Day

What is autism?
Autism is a development disorder that disturbs the social skills of a child and causes deficit in communication, repetitive behaviours and limited interests. It is a neuro birth disorder wherein children learn, think, and experience life differently. Signs of autism start showing in children as young as six months and if the symptoms are mild it is unnoticed till a later age. Therefore, whenever it is noticed, it is advised to consult a doctor as an early intervention will help the child function better. In some cases children require minimal support during their adolescence while others may require it throughout their lifetime. Some autistic children have delayed verbal communication and are greatly impaired in their cognitive thinking.

Symptoms of autism
Children with autism have slower development when compared to normal children and the symptoms may differ at different stages of life. These symtoms are often mistaken for mood swings, hence they need to be monitored closely.

Below are some of the symptoms of autism in children:

  • No eye contant or facial expression
  • No response to your smile or objects that are shown
  • Playing with limited toys
  • Do not respond to sound
  • Delay in speech
  • Kids are always in an imaginary world and do not respond to questions appropriately
  • They prefer to play alone and do not like to share things with others
  • Sensitive to loud sound
  • Fall sick frequently
  • Difficulty in expressing feelings

Treatment and Support
Dealing with an autistic child is very crucial to his/her development. Treatments like speech therapy, behaviourial therapy, play-based therapy and physical therapy can make a difference. But what is vital is the parents’ involvement and awareness on how to deal with the situation.

World Autism Awareness Day was started to address the issues of this disease and in turn improve the quality of life of those with these disabilities.    - Niharika Keerthi