What is Autism?
Autism or Autistic Spectrum Disorder as it is formally known, is a neurodevelopmental disorder arising in childhood characterised by abnormal social communication and interaction and restricted, repetitive or stereotyped behaviour, interests. and activities.
What causes Autism?
The causes of Autism is unknown and are likely multifactorial in nature. Research suggests that there is a genetic component but the exact genes involved remain unknown. In recent years, childhood immunisations have been blamed for causing Autism but this myth has been largely debunked.
What are the early warning signs of Autism?
Babies or toddlers with Autism may manifest early signs such as poor eye contact when fed or smiled at, not waving goodbye or using gestures to communicate, not responding to a familiar voice or when his or her name is called. They may have delays in speech developement. They can also adhere more ridgidly to routines and may show perculiar and fixations to certain activities, often repeating them incessantly.
How is Autism diagnosed?
Autism is diagnosed by specialists like developmental paediatrician, neurologists, psychiatrists or clinical psychologists. Careful history taking from the parents and obeserving the behaviour of the child will help the specialists come to a diagnosis. At times, autism scales can be used to assist in this process.
What to do if you are worried?
If worried, it is best to bring your child to a specialist.