Autism Spectrum Disorder in Children
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD), commonly known as “autism,” is a developmental disorder that affects many people. Autism is lifelong, meaning that it is not curable, but there are ways to streamline the lives of autistic individuals. Autism is a complex disorder with many different subtypes and symptoms. It is vital to be educated about autism in order to better understand the disorder.
In Canada, one-in-66 children have autism. Autism has many subtypes, such as Level 1 ASD, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, Classic Autistic Disorder, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder. The severity and symptoms vary for each autistic individual. Scientists do not know the exact causes of autism, but research suggests that genes and environmental influences are linked to the development of autism.
People can be diagnosed by as early as 18-months, but symptoms start showing around ages three to four. There are three steps in the diagnostic process: Developmental Monitoring, Developmental Screening, and Comprehensive Developmental Evaluation. Autism can be evaluated and diagnosed by a child psychiatrist or psychologist, pediatric neurologist, or developmental pediatrician. Many people think that vaccines may cause autism, but that was debunked by several scientific studies.
There are three main classifications of symptoms that autistic individuals experience: problems with social skills, communications issues, and irregular behavioral patterns. Many autistic individuals also experience sensory issues like touch, smell, sight, hearing, and even taste. Those with autism show different symptoms and have different sensitivities or triggers. It is important to remember that autism is a spectrum which manifests itself differently, depending on where a specific individual falls on the spectrum.
There are many ways for parents to support their children with autism which include: having patience and consistency, and being attentive to their sensory triggers so they can be avoided. Learn about autism to better understand autistic individuals. Stick to a schedule and give the child a safe space so they can relax and feel secure. Several support groups worldwide for parents of autistic children can relieve loneliness in times of struggle.
Overall, every child with autism is unique and should be acknowledged. Everyone should educate themselves about autism to better understand how to support autistic individuals. Autism is not something to be ashamed about nor something to change, but it makes life a little different for certain people and helps them see the world in a special way.
“Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 13 Mar. 2020, www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/screening.html.
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Iprovadmin. “What Are the 5 Different Types of Autism?” Integrityinc.Org, Integrity, Inc., 23 July 2019, www.integrityinc.org/what-are-the-5-different-types-of-autism.
Melinda. “Helping Your Child with Autism Thrive.” HelpGuide.Org, Nov. 2020, www.helpguide.org/articles/autism-learning-disabilities/helping-your-child-with-autism-thrive.htm.