Learning that your child has been diagnosed with Autism can be  challenging. The good news, however, is that treatment for Autism has progressed significantly over time. While doctors have not yet discovered a cure for Autism, treatment options are consistently improving so that patients can have a chance at a productive, healthy life. Here, we talk about the various Autism cures and treatments that your child’s doctor may recommend, as well as useful lifestyle tips for raising a child with 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 often have trouble following rules or communicating with others, which makes it hard for them to form relationships or fit into social situations like school. Some may also have trouble verbalizing their thoughts and needs. Treatment options include various kinds of therapy to help the child communicate and socialize better. Occupational Therapy, Behavioral Therapy, Speech Therapy, Stem Cell Therapy, and Social Skills Therapy are all useful forms of intervention.

Symptoms of Autism

Most symptoms of Autism are evident by the time the child is three years old. The CDC has identified certain developmental delays that could indicate Autism. While the occurrence of these delays do not necessarily mean that the child has the condition, parents should keep an eye out for indicators such as:

  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Avoiding displays of affection 
  • Not recognizing faces
  • Not responding to their name being called

As the child grows older and starts interacting with more people, these are common symptoms one may notice:

  • Inability to understand social cues, expressions, and non-verbal gestures
  • Refusing to take turns or share things with others
  • Unable to use gestures, such as pointing at things they want
  • Resistance to changes in schedule, especially unexpected ones
  • A preference to play alone
  • Delayed comprehension, speech, and sentences forming

Treatment options for Autism

The search for a cure for Autism continues, including research on how to detect and potentially avoid Autism during a pregnancy. There are, however, multiple treatment options that can significantly improve the symptoms and help with social integration. Depending on the child’s symptoms, therapists will recommend some or all of the following Autism cures and treatments:

  • Social Skills Training: This form of Autism cure involves teaching children the skills they need to participate in school activities and games with their peers. It teaches them to recognize social cues and follow the rules of various games, such as taking turns or sharing toys.
  • Sensory Integration Therapy: Often, children with Autism have Sensory Processing Disorders that can make it difficult for them to adjust to sensory inputs. The essential goal of Sensory Integration Therapy is to help the child moderate their responses to inputs that are overwhelming. It also helps them make sense of inputs they are hyposensitive to. Typically, therapists will recommend a tailored sensory diet to help the child process inputs without being over or under-stimulated. They will also recommend suitable sensory toys that caregivers can use to soothe the children in case of sensory overload / underload.
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: This is one of the most effective Autism cures and treatments for children with milder symptoms. Essentially, it defines triggers for various types of behavior, in a manner that children can recognize. They can then modify their actions accordingly. It teaches them to recognize that loud noises  often cause them to lose their temper, nudges them to leave the room, or put on noise-cancelling headphones.
  • Relationship Development Intervention (RDI): This form of Autism cure is relatively new, but yields promising results. Essentially, RDI focuses on building dynamic intelligence, which is what helps the child process information, cope with changes, and understand multiple perspectives. This enables children with Autism to control how they behave socially and how they express their feelings and needs. Therapists usually recommend that parents and children practice RDI together, so as to build stronger emotional connections.
  • Stem Cell Therapy: This is an up-and-coming form of Autism cure that  improves the body’s immunity so as to keep Autism symptoms to a minimum. It is a safe and highly effective form of therapy, with each session lasting only a day or so.

In addition, it is crucial for parents to take their child with Autism for regular medical check-ups and maintain a healthy diet with all the essential nutrients.

How to take care of a child that has Autism

As a parent, looking after a child with Autism can pose unique challenges. While professional therapy is essential, there is also a lot that you can do for your child at home while also looking after yourself. Here are some tips on how to create a warm, positive environment for your child.

  • Help them feel loved: Children with Autism require as much love as any other child. Even if they seem resistant to physical affection, one needs to find ways to help them feel like they are loved and appreciated.
  • Stay informed on trends and treatments: Read up as much as you can about Autism and new forms of therapy that your child might respond to. Don’t hesitate to talk to a doctor about them.
  • Find a support group: Connecting with other parents of children with Autism can provide a sense of community. This is also an opportunity to learn about new parenting techniques that may help your child.
  • Make adjustments to the home environment: Take your child’s sensory triggers into account while designing your home environment. For instance, it might be a good idea to keep noise levels to a minimum and avoid bright colors that your child may react negatively to.
  • Have set routines in place: Provide your child with a routine for the day — set times to get ready for school, taking a bath, or eating a meal. In addition, discuss any changes in routine with them well in advance, and have a transition routine in place so that they can adjust better to the change.
  • Communicate kindly: Be as clear and direct as possible when communicating with your child. Give them enough time to process and respond to what you say, and encourage them to ask questions. Never display impatience or anger when explaining things to them.
  • Encourage positive behavior: Be open and enthusiastic in your praise whenever your child displays good behavior or picks up new skills
  • Stay in touch with the therapist: Ask as many questions as needed about how you can continue therapy practices at home to better reinforce the learnings.
  • Take time off when you need to: Rejuvenating at intervals will help you care for your child more effectively. Take the time out to catch up on sleep, pursue a hobby, or go out with friends.

FAQs

  • How do you stop Autism?
    There is no real way to prevent Autism in your child, as there is no single cause behind it. However, by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, getting vaccinated, and seeking treatment for any medical conditions during pregnancy, one can improve their chances of having a healthy child.
  • Does Autism worsen with age?
    Autism is a non-progressive condition, which means that it does not get worse with age. However, there is no cure for it either.
  • Can a child grow out of Autism?
    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.
  • Can children with Autism go to a normal school?
    Most children with Autism will need special intervention that mainstream schooling systems cannot always provide. However, as children grow older and learn to manage their symptoms better, many of them may successfully transition into regular schools.
  • What happens if Autism is untreated?
    When children with Autism do not get proper treatment, they have trouble acquiring the social, behavioral, language, and emotional skills they need to navigate different environments. They will have trouble interacting with others and may be unable to perform adequately at school or the workplace.
  • Is Autism a disability?
    Yes, Autism is classified as a developmental disability caused due to impaired brain development.
  • What is Autism caused by?
    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 your child developing Autism.
  • What are the negatives of Autism?
    Children with Autism tend to have trouble getting along with other people and maintaining relationships. They also have trouble relating to others and expressing their emotions, which can lead to discord with family members and friends.
  • Does Autism get worse after age three?
    Some of the symptoms that may not have been evident at the age of three may become evident later, when the child starts attending school. With proper treatment, the symptoms of Autism can improve as the child grows older.
  • Can you take medicine for Autism?
    While there are no medications that specifically serve as a cure for Autism, there are medicines that can treat specific behavioral symptoms. For instance, some medications used to treat ADHD may be useful for children with Autism.
  • Which food groups are good for Autism?
    A diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, and vitamins will keep your child with Autism healthy. Autism often causes children to display food-avoidant behaviors, so ensuring they have enough nutrition is critical.
  • What’s the best treatment for Autism?
    A combination of Behavioral Therapy, Sensory Integration Therapy, and Social Skills Therapy will help children with Autism manage their symptoms and participate effectively in social situations.
  • What are the side effects of Stem Cell Therapy?
    Some of the common side effects of Stem Cell Therapy include nausea, vomiting, throat and mouth pain, risk of infection, bleeding, lung problems, and Graft-Versus-Host Disease.
  • How long does it take for Stem Cell Infusion  to have an effect on a person with Autism?
    In general, it takes about a month from the start of Stem Cell Therapy to notice a difference in symptoms.

Dr Na'eem Sadiq is a respected stem cell specialist at Plexus, and a prominent neurologist in Bangalore. He studied neurology and clinical neurophysiology in London, and worked with some of the most prestigious medical institutions in England, and the Middle East. He completed his MBBS at Bellary Government Medical College, and a postgraduate degree in psychiatry from NIMHANS in Bangalore.

Dr Na'eem has perfected his knowledge and expertise in Continuing medical education (CME), and training in tissue culture, Stem Cell Therapy, and neurology. Dr Na'eem Sadiq possesses an undying passion to improve people’s lives. This led to the creation of Plexus, a neuro and Stem Cell Research centre in Bangalore in neurosurgery, and neurorehabilitation.