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SANSAD TV: PERSPECTIVE- LIVING WITH AUTISM

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Introduction:

The month of April is significant globally for this cause. While 2nd of April is observed as World Autism Awareness Day, the whole month is now being celebrated as Autism Awareness & Acceptance Month in different parts of the world. The goal is to help improve the quality of life of those with autism. According to the World Health Organisation, Autism – also referred to as autism spectrum disorder ̶ constitutes a diverse group of conditions related to development of the brain. Characteristics may be detected in early childhood, but autism is often not diagnosed until much later. Globally, 1 in 100 children has autism. The United Nations says, the rate of autism in all regions of the world is high largely because of lack of understanding, which has a tremendous impact on the individuals, their families and communities. And therefore, it’s important for societies worldwide to learn more about autism to improve early diagnosis, to learn more about the experiences of autistic people, and most importantly to build more welcoming and inclusive communities to support people with autism.

Autism:

  • Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges.
  • People with ASD may behave, communicate, interact, and learn in ways that are different from most other people.
  • There is often nothing about how they look that sets them apart from other people.
  • The abilities of people with ASD can vary significantly.
  • For example, some people with ASD may have advanced conversation skills whereas others may be nonverbal. Some people with ASD need a lot of help in their daily lives; others can work and live with little to no support.
  • ASD begins before the age of 3 years and can last throughout a person’s life, although symptoms may improve over time.
  • Some children show ASD symptoms within the first 12 months of life. In others, symptoms may not show up until 24 months of age or later.
  • Some children with ASD gain new skills and meet developmental milestones until around 18 to 24 months of age, and then they stop gaining new skills or lose the skills they once had.
  • As children with ASD become adolescents and young adults, they may have difficulties developing and maintaining friendships, communicating with peers and adults, or understanding what behaviors are expected in school or on the job.
  • They may come to the attention of healthcare providers because they also have conditions such as anxiety, depression, or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, which occur more often in people with ASD than in people without ASD.

Signs and Symptoms

  • People with ASD often have problems with social communication and interaction, and restricted or repetitive behaviors or interests.
  • People with ASD may also have different ways of learning, moving, or paying attention.
  • It is important to note that some people withoutASD might also have some of these symptoms. For people with ASD, these characteristics can make life very challenging.

Diagnosis

  • Diagnosing ASD can be difficult since there is no medical test, like a blood test, to diagnose the disorder.
  • Doctors look at the child’s behavior and development to make a diagnosis. ASD can sometimes be detected at 18 months of age or younger.
  • By age 2, a diagnosis by an experienced professional can be considered reliable.
  • However, many children do not receive a final diagnosis until they are much older. Some people are not diagnosed until they are adolescents or adults.
  • This delay means that people with ASD might not get the early help they need.

Risk Factors

  • There is not just one cause of ASD. There are many different factors that have been identified that may make a child more likely to have ASD, including environmental, biologic, and genetic factors.
  • Although we know little about specific causes, the available evidence suggests that the following may put children at greater risk for developing ASD:
    • Having a sibling with ASD
    • Having certain genetic or chromosomal conditions, such as fragile X syndrome or tuberous sclerosis
    • Experiencing complications at birth
    • Being born to older parents