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A detailed guide to Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism Spectrum Disorder is a neurodevelopmental condition that affects the way children behave and socialize with other people. It tends to manifest between two and four years of age, although many people go undiagnosed until they are adults. The sooner the child starts a treatment program, the greater the benefits. Here, we offer a detailed guide to what Autism looks like and how it can be treated.
Understanding Autism

Understanding Autism

Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) refers to a range of neurodevelopmental disorders that affect social, behavioral, and communicative abilities. Children with Autism tend to display significant behavioral and social differences from their peers, including speech or language delays and an impaired ability to express and detect emotions.

Symptoms of Autism

While Autism Spectrum Disorder does not affect a child’s appearance or physical abilities, it does alter the way they interact with and respond to the world around them. It is important to remember that every child is different, and hence, the symptoms that two children with Autism will display may vary greatly. In addition, some children may display symptoms later than others do.
Symptoms of Autism

Symptoms of Autism in Babies

As a neurodevelopmental disorder, the symptoms of Autism are not always visible at an early age. However, the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention has laid out certain developmental milestones that parents can track. If the child misses these milestones, it may be worth taking them for a checkup.

Symptoms of Autism in older children

As the child grows up, the developmental differences tend to become more apparent. There are three main categories of symptoms a toddler or young child may display. These include:

Communication / language symptoms

01 Communication / language symptoms

  • Repeating the same phrases over and over
  • Repeating back what is said when spoken to
  • Speech and language skills delays
  • Not pointing to objects or people, or not responding when other people point
  • Not starting or maintaining conversations
  • Speaking in a monotonous or sing-song voice
  • Not understanding jokes, sarcasm, or other nuances of speech
  • Reversing pronouns, such as saying ‘you’ in place of ‘I’
  • Losing language skills
Causes of Autism

Causes of Autism

It is difficult to say exactly why a certain case of Autism occurs. Often there are genetic links involved, as having one child with Autism increases the likelihood that the second child will also have it. There are several prenatal risk factors for Autism that have been identified, including:
  • Diabetes
  • Advanced age of either parent at the time of pregnancy
  • Infections like Guillain-Barre Syndrome
  • Occurrence of German measles during pregnancy
  • Use of psychiatric drugs by the mother, during pregnancy
  • Thyroid problems leading to thyroxine deficiency
  • Exposure to environmental toxins like teratogens or ethanol
  • Excess alcohol consumption during pregnancy
  • Maternal obesity
  • Prenatal stress

Treatment for Autism at Plexus

As a parent, you will naturally be concerned about how your child with Autism will be able to adjust to the world around them and fit in with their peers. At Plexus, we have extensive experience helping children and their families navigate an Autism diagnosis. Our team of experts will conduct a detailed assessment of your child and determine exactly where they fall on the Autism spectrum. Accordingly, we will design a tailored treatment program to suit your child’s specific needs.

We are particularly proud of our fully equipped Sensory Park, the first of its kind in Bangalore and Hyderabad. We offer a safe space for children with Autism to play and explore their sensory needs at their own pace. Our therapists work with them to help them through sensory regulation by modulating their sensory systems. Through specific, time-bound goals, we help children navigate the world around them and develop appropriate behavioral responses to situations.

At Plexus, over 1000 children with Autism have achieved significant behavioral improvement through our Sensory Integration Therapy, Behavior Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and Speech Therapy programs. We’re committed to supporting you and your child through every step of this journey — and we do it all at a highly affordable price.

What our patients say

FAQs answered

Autism is a non-progressive condition, which means that it does not get worse with age.
Doctors classify Autism diagnoses into three levels, from Level 1 to Level 3, requiring increasingly high levels of support.
In general, conclusive symptoms of Autism become evident when the child is 18 to 24 months of age, although some children may display symptoms as early as 12 months.

Certain genetic mutations have been identified as responsible for Autism being passed on to boy children more than girl children. However, boys are diagnosed more often than girls simply because of cultural or social differences in the way the genders are expected to behave. Being withdrawn or not making eye contact, for instance, could be viewed positively as modesty in girls.

The risk of Autism is higher if one has an immediate family member with the condition, although the exact genetic patterns are not fully known yet.
Autism is a lifelong condition, and children cannot grow out of it. However, with proper treatment, they can learn to control their symptoms over time.
Yes, Autism is classified as a developmental disability caused due to impaired brain development.
There is no single cause of Autism, and usually a mix of genetic and environmental factors are involved. Difficulties during pregnancy may also increase the chances of a child developing Autism.
Children with Autism tend to have trouble forming and maintaining relationships with other people, both in professional settings and personally. They may experience social isolation as their symptoms make it hard for them to fit in. The stress of looking after a child with Autism, moreover, can cause strife within the family.
It is critical for parents or caregivers of a child with Autism to not take their behaviors personally. If the child walks away from you while you are speaking to them, or has a meltdown in public, remember that they process things differently from how neurotypical children might. Exercise patience.
Autism belongs to a category of neurodevelopmental conditions known as Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDDs). The core deficits that PDDs are characterized by include impaired reciprocal social interaction, impaired communication, and restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior.

With proper intervention at an early age, children with Autism can be sent to a normal school.

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