Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), or simply autism, is a developmental disorder caused by differences in a child’s neurological development. It changes how a child behaves, communicates, interacts, and learns. Autism symptoms can vary from person to person. In most cases, children with autism lack social communication (both verbal and nonverbal) and tend to have repititive behaviour. Autism treatment includes specific therapies to help autistic children manage symptoms that interfere with their daily activities and quality of life. Our experts at Neuropedia, one of the best autism clinics in Dubai, advise parents to be vigilant. You should keep an eye on your child’s behavioural patterns right from infancy because autism symptoms manifest at a very nascent age of 3 years or even before.
Autism symptoms based on the types of difficulties can be grouped into three categories:
The symptoms become very clear after five years. Some initial symptoms include the following.
0-2 years- Lack of eye contact, not responding to their name, lack of facial expression, no response to emotions, and not responding to hand signs or interactive toys.
2-3 years- Lack of interest in playing motor games (rocking duck, slide, etc.), no engagement in ”pretend play,” and no response to emotional behaviours.
Cognitive or learning difficulties
Trouble expressing feelings or understanding others' emotions
Have strong likes and dislikes about food, subjects, peers, activity, etc.
Obsessed with a fixed routine
Lack of speech Not able to remember vocabulary Stuttering or stammering while speaking Less response to prompts by teachers or parents
Stimming refers to self-stimulating behaviour, which includes repetitive motions such as flapping or clapping hands, tapping feet, rocking back and forth, etc.
Experts believe autistic children start stimming to cope with unfamiliar or stressed environments. They also do it to express their frustration with something.
The exact cause of ASD is unknown. Some researchers suggest there can be multiple potential causes of ASD that include:
Having an immediate family member who’s autistic
Genetic disorders, for example, fragile X-syndrome
Low birth weight
Exposure to heavy metals and environmental toxins during pregnancy
Fetal exposure to valproic acid or thalidomide medications
No specific laboratory tests can determine autism. But highly trained and skilled pediatric neurologists can provide a detailed diagnosis and treatment.
In the initial consultations, the experts discuss the autism symptoms with parents. Then, they further investigate through various multidisciplinary approaches to determine all possible symptoms in the child.
Their detailed multidisciplinary evaluation approach includes:
Group-oriented therapy (to test social deficits)
Speech & language therapy
Applied behavioural analysis therapy
In selective cases- Pharmacotherapy
An accurate diagnosis is as good as being halfway through treatment. Our experts at Neuropedia use the above therapies not just to diagnose autistic symptoms and their intensities but also to treat them.
For example- If the child speaks less or feels shy to talk, they prompt the child in various interactive ways to speak more. They also correct their pronunciation and ask to repeat syllables to learn by speaking.
Similarly, some children are very impulsive and get frustrated during therapies. The best child neurologists at Neuropedia apply their unique treatment approach to calm such children and their impulsive behaviour.
The experts also discuss all possible coping mechanisms for their child’s symptoms with parents. They encourage parents to develop a deeper understanding and teach them skills to tackle their problems and be self-reliant.
With consecutive therapies at Neuropedia, most autism cases are treated positively, and parents are happy with the improvement in their children. But the process also requires parents to be more compassionate, motivated and cautious with their children. To learn more about diagnosis and autistic treatment in Dubai, consult our neurologists today.