Autism, which may also be known as Autistic Disorder is a disorder that affects almost all areas of a child’s social and psychological development. In a variety of ways Autism prevents a child from interacting normally with others. It is believed that Autism affects just slightly more than 10 children in every 100,000, and that boys are three times as likely to be autistic as girls. Autism also usually appears in early childhood, prior to the age of starting school.
Signs and Symptoms of Autism
The signs and symptoms of Autism usually become observable in early childhood, but generally after at least a year of appropriate development. Autism includes a wide spectrum of signs and symptoms, though each autistic child will exhibit a unique mixture of these behaviours. Many autistic children have difficulty communicating with others through the use of language (be it verbal or sign language), often engage in repetitive behaviours such as rocking their bodies or banging their head against a wall, are interested in only a select few activities and enjoy rigid environments and routines. Some autistic children also display hypersensitivity in their senses of touch, taste, smell and hearing.
Diagnosis of Autism
Autism is usually diagnosed in children between the ages of 3 and 5 years of age by a qualified child mental health professional. There are multiple symptoms recognised for Autistic Disorder, and for a formal diagnosis the child must meet 6 of these across the categories of social interaction, communication and behaviour. Some symptoms of Autism that will be evaluated during a diagnosis include:
Inability to appropriately use nonverbal social cues.
Failure to develop appropriate peer relationships.
Disinclination to spontaneously share enjoyment with others.
Lack of social or emotional reciprocity/involvement.
Delay in or lack of spoken language.
Inability to carry a conversation (in those children with language skills).
Repetitive or idiosyncratic use of language.
Lack of spontaneous imaginary play or socially imitative play.
Repetitive behaviours, interests and activities.
Abnormally intense or focused patterns of interest (in others, activities, etc.).
Rigid adherence to routines and rituals.
Repetitive motor mannerisms (for example, hand or finger flapping).
Persistent interest in parts of objects.
Treatment for Autism
Most treatment plans for children with Autism include behavioural components that include giving clear instructions to the autistic child, prompting the child to perform specific behaviours, praising and rewarding the specific behaviours, increasing the complexity of the behaviours and clear distinctions regarding the appropriate exhibition of these behaviours. Many times speech therapy will also be advised for autistic children and special education plans will be devised. Medication is only administered to treat associated symptoms of Autism such as self-injurious behaviours (like head banging or extreme mood changes).
Living with Autism
Though autistic children are often unable to communicate or interact effectively with others, there is much that relatives and friends can do to bolster the success of treatment for this disorder. Providing love, support and patience, offering verbal encouragement and interacting at an age appropriate level (for example, no baby talk with six year olds) are all important. Serving a healthy diet and engaging in regular exercise are all things that others can do to support children with Autism as well. Most of all, friends and relatives can love an autistic child no differently than any other child – and make sure that all of the children know it.
Hi am a mother of 3 year old girl who's also autistic. Am so hurt because I don't know what to do she's so rude her behaviour is absolutely bad she's steaming she's demanding in everything. Please assist people out there am so stressed
londi - 27-Mar-16 @ 9:52 AM
Please can anybody help and let me know what to do.My six year old son is displaying some inappropriate behaviour. He is grabing my breast and all the teachers breast at the school. He also today try to do this to a random people in the shop but I managed to stop him on time. Also he is talking about smacking people. He did punch recently one of the girl in his class. This has been going for two weeks. He is finding school difficult sometimes as he can easy get distracted in the class and he needs wok with a teacher assistant most of the time. Sometimes he does tasks on his own but this can be done too quickly or he may misunderstand instructions. He can also get upset sometimes and shout and not be able fully to explain what was the matter. His expressive language is below the age average so he is getting SLT. He can't easily chat but talks more if prompted by questions.
cora - 19-Mar-16 @ 8:30 PM
wonder if anybody out there can help please.my son is 11 years old and as been very different from other children from a very early age not having friends likes being alone etc.he started high school in september and quiet frankly my world as been turned upside down.he sits alone,he as become incontinent he wont use toilets at school panic attacks when i take him shopping.noise as become a big thing we can no longer go to family parties and if anybody visits he goes to his room cos he gets anxious we have just had our first appointment with cahms they say he as to see them on a regular basis but arnt going to label it just yet.my son is painfully shy and always as been he doesnt have outbursts or raise his voice he is what i call very unspoilt beautiful and very unaware of the dangers of the outside world no road sense at all wonder if anybody could give me advic thank you
ashton - 14-Jan-16 @ 12:36 AM
my son is 5 years, he doesn't speak much, he can't write, draw, colourish and he can't even hold a pencil correctly, he can't say when he's hungry, but he likes to drink, if he wants a drink he will ask, he won't answer if you ask him how's school, the teacher say when they are busy in the class with something, he doesn't concentrate he will be busy playing, im so worried about him, the speech therapy say his fine there's nothing wrong about him, please hel me.
zaza - 6-Jan-16 @ 8:57 PM
My son making 12yr on 21st Dec 2014,high function autism,he is not on any medication,but lately he is been so aggressive,hitting other kids,doesn't sleep at all,don't know what to do,any help?
hajjat - 20-Dec-14 @ 11:43 AM
My 3 yr old son still doesn't talk. However he likes to mimic whatever he hears be it on tv or someone. And when he does mimic his words are still not as clear. He is very enegertic and social though. He likes doing things his own way and like to be reprimanded. Could it mean he is showing signs of autism??
mimi - 12-Aug-14 @ 2:03 PM
My son is 7 yrs old, he is in yr 3 at school but only learning at year 1 level, the school psychologist has been involved and she says even though he displays some signs of autism she dosent think he is, up until this point it had never even crossed my mind that he might be and as I had no knowledge on this subject what so ever, my son was premature born at 34 weeks weighing 4lb 9oz. untill the age of at least one he refused to open his eyes in daylight, as he got a little older he was always disturbed by loud noise he would cover his ears if the vaccum was on or music was played loud. he slept well but was regularly woken by night terrors where he would lash out violently and hold himself ridged his dad had to hold him is he was super strong in one of these episodes and I could not control him. Also, He never crawled,and was still very wobbly on his feet at 18 months. he was happy to sit by himself for long periods of time and just look at a book, or watch tv but very close to the screen, he has a very good vocabulary but his writing is not good, he cannot do the most basic of sums. its almost like he is not retaining the information given. he still does not know the days of the week. yet he can tell you anything about lego figures he even takes them to bed !! he sometimes he smacks himself in the head when he gets frustrated, he takes ages to explain something and even though I dont rush him he will say " oh never mind" ! he seems to have small episodes of bad behavior at school, like in a 3 day stint one day he took all the names off the coat hooks, the following day he turned them all upside down and the 3rd day he spat in a childs face I was appalled he was due to go to a party that night needless to say he didn't go. then nothing for a couple of years up untill a few weeks ago when he randomly bit a child one day, and kicked one child and punched another child the following day!! he refuses to brush his teeth I still have to do it for him as he will not do it properly to the extent he has a huge hole in his back teeth yet he seems to feel no pain! please help what is going on with my son. Ps his dad died when he was 18 months old I dont have any support =(
allie - 1-Mar-13 @ 12:21 AM
Hi I wanna ask a question am really worried about my 3yrs old son, who has lots of words and copy all the words which he listens in Mickey and dora cartoons. But he can't talk making sentences, and make sounds instead. He is very loving and a happy child and also same said by his preschool teachers. Sometime, he does things repeatedly which we don't like, as hitting the tv screen or banging things on tv. I dunno is he autistic???
nuzwas - 4-Oct-12 @ 1:51 PM
MY brother was slightly autistic he rocked much of the time and was not able to make it in public school system,at that time there was little help! His one son is also autistic slightly and has dyxlexia, my bro and I are DES children, I believe many vaccines and corn syrup.elf, are the culprit plus genetics, and DES and other meds etc. Now a parent can get their child evaluated and get ssi and all kinds of help to make sure your child can function somehow independently if something should happen and eventually these children will need assisted living programs. They are there demand to have your child tested evaluated and put in a program, if you are low income you qualify for ssi. May God bless you all as this is a very demanding situation and it does not just go away but diet, exercise and a very planned program will help your child to mature into a person who has value in society! the prisons and homeless are filled with slightly autistic so get help now!
karenl1234 - 12-Sep-12 @ 6:06 PM
My son is 7yrs old. up to 2 years ago I found him to be a normal loving child,as he has got older he has become very short tempered, flys off the handle at the stupidest of things and at some of the worst times possible. sometimes you just cant get him to understand what he does is wrong. over the last year his school has had me in the office on numerous occasions as he has hurt someone or he has run off or he has got very angry and has scared some other children. he has hit other children outside our house so now I have to keep him supervised. I am pulling my hair out trying to find out why he is doing this. other parents on the street are staring at us and neighbours are always saying whats up with your child he isnt normal. he has not been diagnosed with a disorder yet and am in the early stages of trying to help him.
chan - 19-Aug-12 @ 3:08 PM
first offI am not trying to tell anyone how to suck eggs here and if you have seen the OT or a autistic therapist then the points below may have been discussed but I thought my experience may help some of you :)
Just reading the comments on this page and thought i would share my experience, coping strategies and plans we have put in place to help our son who is autistic.
He is nine years old and the older he is becoming the more apparent and aware my wife and i are of his autistic behavior. I have had the pleasure of working in a special needs school that supports autistic children for over a year now and so i have picked up a great deal of information and ways of coping, not only for myself but for my son. the first thing to remember is that your agenda does not count, this could be when your in a shop or waiting for the bus, their agenda is the most important in their eyes and your's or their peers agenda is not registering at all. This means that when they have a panic attack or as we call it a melt down the one thing you cannot do is panic or distress them even more. They are autistic and this means they are not being difficult for the sake ofit they truly are upset about something and they cannot relay this feeling like you or I can.
Clear instructions and focus is needed. To help picture stories are great, ie day to day plans of where or what they are doing in either picture or text format. Speaking to autistic children about what is happening can fall short on them as they will find it very hard to deal with lots of information, they just cannot take it in, even high functioning autistic children will find that hard. We plan our sons day and we display it on his ipadso that he can see what he is doing, we have not added times to the schedule as this can cause problems if say the bus is late etc :)
this is very brief but if you want me to explain more i can.
also autistic children have different sensory needs to us and will seek out to get these needs meet in different ways, it could be pushing another child, biting their clothes, slapping their heads etc. These are what are know as hyposensitive, hypersensitive and sensory seeking. look up the different meanings and if you have a there are even apps where you can work out your childs sensory diet and apply it when neccessary..this could be trampolining, theraputty, a fidget toy, weighted blanket or jacket....its a wide area so i am being brief here...
I hope this has helped, I am no expert but what we have put in place has helped immensely. There is support out there so get involved, you are not alone..understanding behavior that is not autistic to what is autistic takes time...if you have a situation and feel at the ends with it , i will only be too glad to help so by all means ask me :)
Dad123 - 9-Aug-12 @ 8:27 AM
l have a nine year old with autism and over the last couple of months have noticed my son having panic attacks and l find that l am not coping vert well! any help and ldears please.
cats - 5-Aug-12 @ 12:49 PM
Similar story to patty's comments and a mixture of harrys comments.Its my daughter nearly 4 years old and an only child and a handful. Particularly when it involves group activites i have now taken steps to avoid all invites to parties as she has become very disruptive and basically ruined the party for everyone & seems to have no understanding when i explain to her she cannot continue to act like that. All the other mums look on at me which makes me sad & it usually ends in me leaving early making up a reason why we have to leave whilst usually dragging my daughter to the car whilst she is screaming & throwing herself on the floor
She gets angry very easliy when told no & frustrated when playing if you refuse to join in. She sometimes physically kicks, pinches and has began to scratch my arms & face when she isnt getting her own way.
lausjh - 7-Jun-12 @ 8:57 PM
My son is 4yr next month and i have concerns about his behaviour patterns,he is disruptive,acts very childish and demanding,has never slept well ,likes to play alone although does enjoy playing with others too,has been difficult to toilet train although ok now in the day ,still not dry at night,is hypersensitive in situations and overreacts,complains about kids at prescool seems to think they are naughty,when just boystrous mostly,he is starting speech therapy next month,does have full language but cant prenounce some letters,always takes toys apart quite distructive,however he does have a great imagination.Please help what cuold be the problem / if anythink,thanking you.Clare Harold.
harry - 25-Feb-12 @ 11:50 AM
My 3 yo son pulls hair, headbutts and throws toys.
caz - 27-May-11 @ 1:09 PM
One of my five yr old twins can be very aggressive towards anybody, doesn't sleep very well, wakes up screaming. Has to have things done in a certain way. Has been very agressive towards people at school. I think she is showing signs of autism and school are doing assessments and have asked if any autism in the family even though there isn't. I would like to know how to deal with it without keep telling her off.
patty - 10-May-11 @ 9:38 AM
My 3 year old is hitting pushing other children in nursery his behaviour can be quite aggessive he is showing signs of autism