Autism, or autism spectrum disorder, ASD, refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication.
It is important to note that there is not one autism but many subtypes, and each person with autism can have unique strengths and challenges.
A combination of genetic and environmental factors influence the development of autism, and autism often is accompanied by medical issues such as:
- Gastrointestinal (GI) disorders
- Sleep disturbances
Many people with autism also have sensory issues. These can include aversions to certain sights, sounds and other sensations.
Autism’s hallmark signs usually appear by age 2 to 3. Often, it can be diagnosed as early as 18 months. Some associated development delays can appear even earlier.
The general public may not be aware of what autism really is, so they may be harsh to the child owing to some his challenges.
Newsbreak.ng spoke to a medical practitioner to shed more light on what the public should understand about autism.
According to Dr Yewande Oshodi, Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist and a Senior Lecturer at Department of Psychiatry, Lagos University Teaching Hospital & College of Medicine,University of Lagos, said most autistic patients do not associate with their peer and environment.
She added that they get fascinated by things happening in their environments, get used to things like clapping of the hands, jumping, spinning of the fan. They become solitude and play by themselves.
“There has not been one major specific cause link to autism, but there are many things associated with the cause of autism. Family history can also be a factor, it has to do with the interaction of the environment
“The genetic role that has an autistic member in the family, there is high possibility of having another child with autism. Environment can also be a factor that is the maternal and paternal age may
“There has not been a way of clear prevention of autism but beyond parents with neuro-developmental disorder child should be aware of the risk of having another child with autism and start early detection to be able to start management early enough so the long term density can be reduce and increase the long term outcome, early intervention is the key.’ She said.
Dr Oshodi said there is no major ailment associated with children with autism, they may have intellectual disability but are not particularly prone to any sickness.
She added that the management of autism should involve certain disciplinary measure which include correct diagnosis, identify what kind density the child, speech therapy to assist with language, teachers that are skilled to provide special education to help the child handle behavioural issue and make sure the child does not come up with any other issue.
“This is why we are trying to create awareness so that we can help children with autism integrate into the society. Just like other children they can do most things provided they are well nurtured.” Dr Oshodi said.
*With additional information from autismspeaks.org