Autism also known as Autism spectrum disorder is a Neuro-developmental disability. A brief definition of Autism according to the Oxford Learners’ dictionary; a mental condition in which a person finds it very difficult to communicate or form relationships with others. So far, scientists have disclosed that autism is from an unknown origin unlike other disorder that has a clear cause and effective treatment.
Autism Spectrum is a disorder of the developing brain and it’s a deep rooted condition that influences kids and grown-ups alike. It is described by complex conduct phenotype and deficiencies in both social and intellectual capacities. There is no single mind structure or framework in charge of autism. Autism influences the cerebrum’s initial development of social and communication abilities.
Every year in Nigeria, thousands of children are born with AUTISM. About 170 million cases of Autism are recorded every year worldwide. Children diagnosed with ASD (Autism Spectrum disorder) who are very sensitive are most times troubled, pained by touch, smell, sound or sight that may be normal to other children. Autistic children have trouble understanding what other people think or feel making it difficult for them to express themselves through gestures, facial expression, touch and words. They tend to have difficulty communicating and relating.
In the quest to find the unknown origin, symptoms, cure and treatment of this disorder; it has been discovered that AUTISTIC children are very different and may be resistant to change in their routines, self-injurious behavior, attachments to objects as well as unusual responses to people. Children or Adults who are autistic tend to have repetitive stereotyped body movement like hand flapping, pacing, rocking and many more. In rare cases, children with autism may also develop seizures. And at times, those seizures may not occur until adolescence.
They experience difficulty/ trouble in different areas most especially in relating and communicating with others but they are very unique and have unusually developed skills and abilities in certain areas such as memorizing facts, drawing, solving math problems, creating music and so on. At times they may seem not to notice objects, people or activities in their surroundings.
Causes of Autism spectrum disorder.
So far, conclusive cause of Autism has not been found but genetics has however been discovered to be the main causes of the disorder.
A few distinct genes seem, by all accounts, to be associated with the Neuro-developmental disorder (autism spectrum disorder). For some kids, autism spectrum disorder can be related with a hereditary issue, for example, Rett syndrome or fragile X disorder. For other youngsters, hereditary changes (mutations) may increase the danger of autism spectrum disorder. Still different genes may influence mental health or the manner in which the brain cells convey, or they may decide the seriousness of side effects. Some hereditary mutations appear to be acquired, while others happen precipitously.
- Environmental factor
Potential autism risk factor has been linked to some agents that are theorized to cause birth defects. Scientists are still in the search to discover whether factors such as complications during pregnancy, air pollutants, viral infections or medication are responsible for triggering autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Recent discoveries shows that certain events that occur before or during child birth such as exposure to pollutants and toxins during fetal development, maternal illness, age of parents at conception, low birth weight, birthing difficulty may put the child at higher risk of developing AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER (ASD).
Other causes of Autism include:
Autoimmune and inflammatory diseases
Other maternal conditions such as thyroxin deficiency
Symptoms of Autism spectrum disorder.
- The inability to relate and interact socially is the most obvious sign that a child has Autism. Children with autism find it difficult to understand and express body language and facial expressions and most times, they are unable to develop social and emotional relationships. Autistic children won’t make eye contact or follow other people with their eyes. Babies and infants won’t respond to vocal games, stimuli, smiles, or other stimuli and activities around them.
It is very common and usual for an autistic person to echo phrases heard in the past or heard in a conversation. However, many children with autism are unable start up a conversation and find it difficult to develop language skills.
- This tendency to repeat; repetitive stereotyped body movement is apparent in other behaviors associated with autism.Children shy away from imaginative play but tend to imitate and learn actions. For example, a child who appears to be playing telephone – talking, hanging up and dialing – will act this out in exactly in the same order and way next time. They have tendency to repeat certain motions or movements such as twisting the body or flapping the hands will be repeated over and over again. This is just a repetition of a learned behavior; it doesn’t indicate an active. What a child appears to have learned one day may be forgotten the next; it only occurs in an erratic manner.
- Autistic children prefer to keep a strict order around themselves.Play might consist of being fascinated by some aspect of a toy (its smell, texture, or colour) rather than its function or lining up objects or often prefer routines to be strictly maintained – An object moved out of its usual place can be extremely distressing, causing a reaction that will only stop when the object is moved back to its usual place also, serving a meal 5 minutes late can cause a tantrum.
Other behaviours of autistic people are:
Abnormalities in mood
Lack of interest
Self- injurious acts
Abnormal sleeping habit
Abnormal eating and drinking