What is Autism?

A child with autism can become like a newborn individual with early intervention and education!

What is Autism?

If your child performs behaviors different from the behaviors of children of his/her age, you might worry. If you think these behaviors are signs of autism, you might wish to learn what autism is and how it will affect your family.

Autism is a congenital pervasive developmental disability whose signs appear during the first three years of life. Autism is assumed to occur as a result of some problems in the structure and/or functioning of the nervous system and the brain.

It’s Not Your Fault!

What causes autism? Today the best answer to this question would be “The causes of autism are still unclear”.

It is suspected that autism has a hereditary component. There are numerous ongoing research projects in this direction. However, no specific autism gene has been identified, yet. Autism might also be triggered by some environmental factors.

Autism can be found in any society, race, and family. Consequently, autism is not related to any of these characteristics. Autism affects individuals irrespective of child rearing practices and socio-economic status.

You Are Not Alone!

Today autism is the most common neurological disorder and affects approximately one in every 150 children. Boys are four times as likely as girls to have some form of the disorder.

Many children diagnosed with autism have various problems associated with learning and mental functioning.

The Symptoms of Autism

symptoms of autism english
All individuals with autism share three main areas of difficulty. These areas and the symptoms that define them are listed below:

Social Interaction Deficits

  • Difficulty maintaining eye contact
  • Difficulty interacting with others and developing peer relationships
  • Preference to spending time alone versus spending time with other people
  • Lack of interest in the activities of other people and their attention

Communicative Problems

  • Lack of or delay in developing language
  • Inability to initiate or sustain a conversation
  • Stereotype and repetitive use of language
  • Lack of interest in age-appropriate plays

Self Stimulatory Behaviors

  • Preoccupation with unusual topics, such as how elevators work.
  • Becoming upset when daily routine is disrupted, such as the places of objects.
  • Repetitive movements, such as flopping or rocking.
  • Using objects in ways other than intended, such as spinning or aligning objects.

Autism Diagnosis and Treatment

A child doesn’t necessarily show all the symptoms listed above to be diagnosed with autism. Only a child psychiatrist or a child neurologist can make a diagnosis in Turkey. Moreover, some children might not show any deficits in a certain area. These conditions are diagnosed as ‘other’ types of pervasive developmental disorders.

Every child with autism or pervasive development disorder presents a variety of features. Whether diagnosed with autism or not, it shouldn’t be forgotten that every individual has a unique personality.

Physical appearance of children with autism is no different than other children, but their behaviors are different. Therefore, there are no medical tests or lab results to diagnose autism. Specialists diagnose autism by observing a child's behaviors, administering developmental tests and interviewing the parents about the child’s development. Autism can be diagnosed after 12 months of age. Early identification is very important for the initiation of education as early as possible.

Best Treatment is Education!

The results of many research studies show that the best treatment for autism is education. All other treatments are used to support education. Therefore, whether or not other treatments are used, special education is always a necessity.

Special education benefits a child by improving the child’s social interaction and communication skills, as well as and overcoming behavioral problems. Special education needs to be non-stop and highly intensive to be effective. While ‘intense treatment’ means providing education at least 20 hours a week, ‘non-stop treatment’ means providing education 12 months a year!

Early intervention, especially highly intense special education before the age of 5, is a crucial milestone in the development of the child. Approximately half of the children treated with early intensive special education progress substantially and transfer from special education to regular education successfully. Moreover, most of these children catch up with their peers in a few years.

What do I do if my child is diagnosed with autism?

Children with autism seem to be isolated from the environment and the people around them as if there is an invisible wall between them and the rest of the world. Breaking this wall might be a long and exhausting process, but it is definitely not impossible. Tohum Autism Foundation is a non-profit organization that has been established to help you through these hard times.

Call Tohum Autism Foundation if you suspect that your child has autism! We want to provide guidance and support to you in your journey.

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