As it was marked World Autism Day, it is important to understand and spread awareness of this condition. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurological disorder that affects the ability of the brain to function. The exact cause of ASD is unknown. However, the symptoms and their severity vary from person to person. Some individuals with ASD may find it challenging to communicate with others or in regard to social situations. Some may often follow repetitive patterns of certain behaviours and may develop a strong interest in a limited number of activities.
There is a wide range of symptoms that can develop from infancy but some examples of signs of ASD for any age include avoiding eye contact, limited ability to understand others’ feelings, tends to be non-verbal, has repetitive behaviours or phrases. For an individual, to be diagnosed with ASD, there is no simple diagnosis as a healthcare professional often requires observing an individual’s communication, behaviour, and development.
There can be different forms of support available to aid people with ASD. Interventions and/or therapies can be utilized to help improve their abilities to learn a wider range of skills and change some behaviours that interfere with functioning. Occupational therapy can be used to learn fine motor skills to enhance an individual ability to conduct daily tasks. Speech and language therapy is another option people may consider communicating effectively with others. A speech-language therapist can help the individual with ASD to ask others for help when required and learn to take turns when communicating. Another example is behavioural therapy where individuals can learn how to recognize emotions, daily life skills and more to enhance daily living. Parents, families, and caregivers can also receive training, so they learn how to support and communicate to better serve the needs of the individual with ASD.
In regards to the treatment of symptoms, there is current experimental research being conducted in very special niche cases about utilizing an oxytocin nasal spray which is predicted to improve social behaviours. As clinical trials are continually being invested, it is thought that it can allow an individual to appraise a situation to identify and understand the relevant emotional information from their surroundings. However, further research is still required to ensure the efficacy of the nasal spray. To learn more about the oxytocin nasal spray, you can click the attached link:
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.yhbeh.2012.01.002 There are different types of medication that may be prescribed to treat the symptoms of ASD. Some medications that can be prescribed include Risperidone and Aripiprazole to aid the reduction of irritability, severe tantrums, and more. However, there are also side effects which include vomiting, nausea, constipation and more. If you are interested in using these medications for your child, it is important that you first speak with your healthcare provider to understand what the options are available to support the individual as medication may work for some people and not for some individuals. For more information regarding the medications potentially used, you can visit the following link:
Also, if you know of someone who has Autism and is interested to let the individual take part in various programs, the South Asian Autism Awareness Centre (SAAAC) offers a wide range of programs including fitness programs, visual arts programs, adult daycare and more.
For more information regarding ASD and programs available, you can visit the links attached below:
Written by: Shenen Sivakumar