Autism in children & adults often faces discrimination and stigma leading to many other issues such as mental health problems, education opportunities, healthcare issues, and many other opportunities needed to participate in different activities and everyday life. It is an observation that almost two-thirds of children (between 6-15 years of age) with Autism Spectrum Disorder have been persecuted many times in their lives.
World Autism Awareness Day is celebrated every year on 2 April to spread the awareness of individuals living with autism. All the renowned Autism organizations join hands to increase awareness and extend support and acceptance for the adults and children living with Autism Spectrum Disorder. These organizations also conduct research, diagnostics, and treatment for this disorder.
It is always suggestible to seek advice from a renowned organization that deals with autism treatment and guides you in the right direction. TruHap has dedicated and experienced therapists who provide the best autism treatment in Hyderabad, India. They also take care of other mental health concerns such as stress, anxiety, ADHD, depression, and more.
What is Autism?
Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complex neurodevelopmental condition, found in adults and children around the people, regardless of culture, ethnicity, race, economic condition, or gender. Adults and children with complex disorders are characterized by differences in social and communication interaction. They face constant challenges in social interaction, monotonous behaviours, speech and nonverbal communication. The effects of ASD can be severe and can differ from one autistic person to another.
More than 30 percent of autistic children have an intellectual disability and, one-third of autistic children are nonverbal.
TruHap, a mental health organization provides the best autistic treatment for children in Hyderabad. They can give you a clear understanding of the importance of diagnostic, research, and treatment on Autism Spectrum Disorder.
What Are the Different Types of Autism?
American Psychiatric Association published “The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, and the therapists follow it to diagnose the different types of psychiatric disorders.
In the year 2013, DSM released its fifth edition, which divides ASD into five different subtypes. These are:
- With or without partnering with language impairment;
- With or without partnering with intellectual impairment;
- The person associated with any known genetic condition or environmental factor or medical condition;
- Associated catatonia;
- Associated with mental, neurodevelopment, or behavioural disorder;
Before the publication of DSM-5, autistic people used to receive a diagnosis of:
- autistic disorder
- pervasive development disorder;
- childhood disintegrative disorder;
- Asperger’s syndrome;
Let us have a detailed understanding of types of autism:
1. Autistic Disorder
Autistic disorder is considered the severe type of autistic spectrum. The earlier and noticeable symptoms involve:
- Communication problems;
- Faces difficulty with social interaction;
- Monotonous behaviours;
Other issues can be:
- Disturbed sleeping patterns;
- Odd eating habits;
Children on the severity end of the spectrum tend to play alone and face difficulty communicating with peers. Parents and therapists should support them at a high level.
2. Pervasive Development Disorder
It happened once when the developmental brain disorder did not meet the requirements for autism, Rett syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, or Asperger’s syndrome, and the doctor diagnosed PDD, also known as ‘atypical autism.’
The initial signs of PDD are:
- Repetitive body movements;
- Change in behavioural patterns;
- Oddly responses to senses like sight, sound, smell, touch, or taste;
- Change in language and speech;
- No focus or least interest in matters;
- Development of socialization;
- Difficulty in accepting any changes;
3. Childhood Disintegrative Disorder
Childhood disintegrative disorder is the severe endpoint of the spectrum. The children with this type of disorder start to lose mental, social, and language skills. They also start experiencing sensory processing disorders. It happens between 2 years to 4years of age. These children start developing a seizure disorder.
The initial symptoms can be:
- Change in speech and language;
- Development delay;
- Changes in play skill, social skill, and self-care skills;
4. Asperger’s syndrome
Asperger’s syndrome is on the moderate line of the spectrum. People with this syndrome can handle day-to-day life activities and are also intelligent, also considered as “high-functioning”, they are focused on their work, without speech delays but, they are not socially active.
The signs and symptoms for this syndrome are:
- Loss of social interaction;
- Faces difficulty in understanding body language, social cues, and facial expressions;
- Faces difficulty in understanding humour, metaphor, or irony;
- Repetitive behavioural patterns;
- Talks too loudly or stands too close shows strange body language;
- Non-verbal communications;
The therapies used to treat Asperger’s syndrome are cognitive behavioural therapy, speech therapy, language therapy, physical therapy, social skills therapy, and social skills training.
What are the main causes of Autism
The exact cause of Autism is undetermined. There is no single cause for ASD.
The risk factors associated with AASD are:
- Metabolic imbalances;
- Genetic mutations;
- Any closed family member is autistic;
- If the parents are older;
- Low birth weight;
- Viral infections for a longer period;
- Exposure to heavy metals and environmental toxins;
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke conducted research and analysed that environmental and genetic factors strongly determine whether the person can develop ASD or not.
What are the Symptoms of Autism
An autism diagnosis can be difficult. A child starts showing symptoms by the time they are 8-10 months old. They face social communication difficulties, sensory behaviours, different behavioural issues, and communication skills issues. For a diagnosis, children must have started facing the below-listed autism symptoms and signs from childhood.
The autism symptoms are:
- No response when called by their name;
- Tries to avoid eye contact;
- Does not look at the objects shown to them;
- Not understanding taking turns or sharing;
- Not understanding facial expressions;
- Faces difficulty in expressing needs;
- Like to be alone;
- Repeating phrases or words and repetitive movements;
- Difficult in reading facial expressions, low communication skills and changes in body language;
- Hypersensitivity towards senses- smell, sound, taste, touch, or sight;
- Faces difficulty in adapting to changes;
- Issues with communication like delayed speech, Echolalia, difficulty in understanding joke or sarcasm, flat or singsong voice;
How is Autism diagnosed?
Diagnosis for autism spectrum disorder is difficult. There is no blood test or any other medical test to diagnose this type of disorder. A child psychologist analysis the same by looking at the child’s behaviour and development history.
A doctor can get an idea of ASD at the age of 18 months and below. Consult an experienced doctor for diagnosis when the child is 2-3 years of age. A team of specialist therapists generally carries out the diagnosis. This team includes:
- Child psychologists;
- Speech and language therapists;
- Occupational therapists;
It is important to monitor, screen, evaluate, and diagnose children with ASD at the earliest. It ensures the child receives the required services and support. The steps in this process are:
- Developmental Monitoring
- Developmental Screening
- Developmental Evaluation
- Genetic Testing
- Neuroimaging (Like MRI)
- Blood Lead Testing
- Electroencephalography (EEG)
- Testing for Metabolic Disorders
Let us go into a detailed diagnosis process:
1. Developmental Monitoring
With the help of developmental monitoring, the doctor observes the growth of your child, the changes the child undergoes, and whether your child meets the typical developmental milestones while learning, speaking, playing, moving, and behaving. The doctor also asks the parents necessary questions about the child’s development and will play & talk with the child to monitor the child’s growth. If any milestones are missed, it could be a sign of ASD and a specialist examines the case closely through an exam or test.
2. Developmental Screening
With the help of developmental screening, the therapists examine the child’s development closely. The child gives a brief test, or the parents complete the questionnaire on behalf of their child. The tools used for developmental screening tests are checklists asking questions about the child’s development, including movement, language, behaviour, thinking, and emotions.
3. Developmental Evaluation
Monitoring and screening do not provide a proper diagnosis, but it indicates whether the child’s development is on the right track or if the child requires the help of a child psychologist to have a closer look. If the psychologists observe an area of concern while screening, it is advisable to conduct a developmental evaluation. It is an in-depth procedure to observe the child’s development and is conducted by a developmental paediatrician, occupational therapist, trained specialist, speech-language pathologist, or any other specialist therapist. The therapists observe the child, ask the parents or guardians to fill out the questionnaire, conducts a structured test for the child, and ask questions to the parents. The results decide whether the child needs any special therapy or treatments.
TruHap is a child psychologist organization and is known for having the best occupational therapist in Hyderabad.
4. Genetic Testing
Autism is said to be a genetic condition but, genetic testing can’t detect or diagnose autism. Some many environmental factors or genes can cause ASD.
Chromosomal Microarray (CMA) Test is a test conducted by many laboratories and is a sign for ASD. The tests look for common genetic contributors and only a few people will find correct answers. A positive result to this test means that ASD is the result of genetics.
5. Neuroimaging (Like MRI)
Neuroimaging is a practice that studies the function and structure of the nervous system with the help of imaging technology. In this technology, brain images are achieved in a congenial way. Brain imaging is a technique used to examine the directly or indirectly image about the function, structure, of the nervous system.
6. Blood Lead Testing
A blood test is done to know the lead levels in our body. A higher level of lead indicates lead poisoning. Anyone exposed to lead should compulsorily get their lead levels tested. Lead is harmful to both adults and children. The causes of high lead levels can cause many mental health problems, damage their developing brains, and organ damage.
Low-level lead exposure can cause other problems like low IQ levels, increase behavioural and emotional problems, and low academics. Lead poisoning can cause the below problems:
- Hearing loss;
- Nervous system and brain damage;
- Sleeping issues;
- Fatigue and weight loss;
- Language and speech deficits;
7. Electroencephalography (EEG)
An electroencephalography diagnostic test measures the electrical activity of the brain. Many electrodes are pasted on your scalp. With the help of EEG, doctors can examine many conditions like sleep disorders, epilepsy, autism, and brain tumors. EEG test can detect any deformity in your brain waves.
EEG traces can help to diagnose autism in children. EEG traces record the electrical brain activity with the help of electrodes.
8. Testing for Metabolic Disorders
Metabolism Screening for autistic children is not a regular test and is suggested by expert therapists to diagnose the causes of autism. It is a diagnosis process that focuses on the inborn errors of metabolism (IEM). These inherited metabolic disorders are not noticeable at birth and slowly develop with the growth of the child.
Many studies and research are conducted to examine if IEM leads to ASD. Also, many screening tests are suggested by therapists to identify disorders associated with autism. There is no theory to prove that IEM can cause autism.
How is Autism Treated?
There is no specific treatment or cure for ASD. But the therapists suggest undergoing supportive therapies that can help or alleviate the signs and symptoms and make them feel better.
Certain therapies that can help with autism are:
- Play therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Behavioural therapy
- Speech therapy
- Physical therapy
When in doubt, you can also plan to meet Dr. Dania Qamar, Occupational Therapist at Truhap and has experience treating Autistic children, ADHD, Stroke, Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, handwriting difficulties, etc.
How Autism affects Child Development?
Autistic children may face problems in achieving developmental milestones in comparison to their peers. Many children also lose the developed language skills and social skills. It is difficult to manage emotions for an autistic child. The other problems are: sleeping issues, engaging in monotonous behaviours, eating non-food items, face trouble when interacting with others, and do not prefer changes much. They like to stick to their consistent routine.
If your child is autistic, they need the joint attention of the parents and teacher to ensure success in the school and their life.
What’s the difference between Autism and ADHD?
ADHD and Autism are confused most of the time.
Children diagnosed with ADHD have issues with concentrating on things, fidgeting a lot, and face difficulty in maintaining eye contact with everyone.
The same signs are seen in autistic people. ADHD is not taken as a spectrum disorder but autism is a spectrum disorder. Also, people with ADHD don’t face difficulty in communication.
A child must receive the right treatment, and a clear diagnosis is necessary. Consult your doctor to conduct ADHD testing if your child is showing symptoms of hyperactivity. The same goes for Autism, start with autism treatment if your child is diagnosed with autism. Many times, it can be possible that a person can have both ADHD and autism.
Children and adults who have been diagnosed with autism need timely attention and treatment at the earliest in their life. If you are looking for the best autism treatment in Hyderabad, without any second thought, consult TruHap. You can visit our website https://truhap.com/ and note down their contact details to book an appointment. The therapist will analyse the actual case and suggest the therapy the person needs to take. It will help you to live peacefully with autism. And, if you have someone looking for autism treatment in Hyderabad-India, do suggest TruHap.