Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD): A Simple Guide for Parents

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD), is a neurodevelopmental disorder and disability caused by differences in your child's brain. There’s no cure for autism, but the symptoms may lessen over time with early behavioural interventions or therapies.

Harleen Kaur
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Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD): A Simple Guide for Parents

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD): A Simple Guide for Parents

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Autism, now called autism spectrum disorder (ASD), is a neurodevelopmental disorder and disability caused by differences in your child's brain. People with ASD may behave, interact and learn in ways that are different from other people. There is often nothing about how they look that sets them apart from other people. Some people with ASD may have exceptional talents or abilities, while others may face challenges in daily activities.

There’s no cure for autism, but the symptoms may lessen over time.

How ASD is Diagnosed?

There is no medical test, like a blood test, to diagnose autism disorder. Doctors look at the child’s behaviour and development to make a diagnosis.  Autism can be diagnosed at any age, and it is described as a “developmental disorder” because symptoms generally appear in the first 3 years of life. 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. 

That is why, Every child should receive well-child check-ups with a paediatrician or an early childhood health care provider. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all children receive screening for developmental delays at their 9-, 18-, and 24- or 30-month well-child visits, with specific autism screenings at their 18- and 24-month well-child visits. 

What are common signs of ASD?

People with ASD may behave, communicate, interact, and learn in ways that are different from most other people. 

Social Difficulties: Children with ASD may find it challenging to engage with others, make friends, or understand social cues. They may not respond to their name or have difficulty maintaining eye contact.

Communication Differences: Some children with ASD may struggle with speech and language development. They may have delayed language skills, limited vocabulary, or might use language in unusual ways.

Repetitive Behaviors: Many individuals with ASD engage in repetitive behaviours, like hand-flapping, rocking, or being intensely focused on specific interests.

Sensory Sensitivities: People with ASD may have heightened or lowered sensitivities to sensory experiences like light, sound, touch, taste, or smell. For example, they might be bothered by certain textures or sounds.

Rigid Thinking and Routine: Children with ASD often prefer routine and predictability. They may become upset if their routines are disrupted.

Recommended Reading: Signs-and-Symptoms-of-Autism-Spectrum-Disorder

What are the causes of ASD?

 The exact cause of ASD is not entirely known. Research supports genetic and environmental factors as some causes of autism, as ASD tends to run in families. Scientists believe there could be many different causes of ASD that act together to cause ASD, and environmental influences may also play a role. 

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

CDC is currently working on one of the largest U.S. studies to date on ASD. This study called the Study to Explore Early Development (SEED), was designed to look at the risk factors and behaviors related to ASD. Source of information:

Can autism be cured and treated?

ASD is most often a lifelong condition that has no cure but the symptoms may lessen over time. 

If you suspect your child may have ASD, it's important to seek a professional evaluation. This typically involves assessments by a team of specialists, including psychologists, speech therapists, and paediatricians. Early diagnosis is crucial, as it allows for early intervention and support.

Autism treatment includes behavioural interventions or therapies. Every child with autism is unique. For this reason, your child will receive an individualized treatment plan to meet their specific needs. It’s best to begin these treatments as soon as possible so the benefits of therapy can continue throughout your child’s life.

Many people with ASD have additional medical conditions. These include gastrointestinal and feeding issues, seizures and sleep disturbances. Treatment can involve behavioural therapy, medications or both.

What parents of children with ASD should do?

First off, take a deep breath and Prepare for early intervention and treatment.

A diagnosis of autism doesn’t change who your child is or what they can accomplish. There is no cure for autism, but there are therapies that can help create foundational skills for your child to build on as they grow and develop like:

  • speech therapy
  • occupational therapy (OT)
  • Physical therapy (PT)
  • Social or Behavioral therapy.

Be sure to talk with your doctor before trying anything new, especially if it involves strict diets, home remedies, herbs, and unregulated medications. Be patient, calm and composed. It is time to change your perspective because you cannot change your child. She is still your child, love her even more to protect her from the outer evil world.



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