Autism is a disorder associated with the brain in which the child is unable to socialize or communicate properly. It can be said to be a general name given to a group of brain disorders. These disorders vary from person to person and can be mild or severe. It is characterized by social impairment, repetitive behaviors, loss of verbal and nonverbal communication skills.
Autism in general is the result of abnormal brain structure which makes the brain function abnormally. Researchers have proven this by scanning a number of Autistic sufferers and discovered that the structure of the brain of an autistic child is quite different from that of other normal children.
What Is Autism
Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that hinders a child from socializing and also gradually cripples both the verbal and nonverbal communication skill of the child. It is normally noticed in children within the first two years. They communicate and learn in ways different from those of other children and some might need extra help to cope with their daily activities.
Autism disorders were previously sub typed into categories like autistic disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder, Asperger syndrome, however in May 2013, it was merged and referred to as Autism syndrome disorder by a publication of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
Autism is associated with other disorders like epilepsy, sensory impairment and other metabolic disorders. It is important to note here that autism is not a mental problem; however, people with autism are susceptible to having mental problems. This disorder seems to be more predominant in males than in the females and about 1.5% of children have this disorder.
Symptoms of Autism
Symptoms associated with Autism differ in every affected child. For instance, while some might be hyper talented others might find it difficult coping with their studies. Some of them might seem to be focused on a particular object and others might not be able to make simple eye contact. While some might have normal development in the first two years and after which start showing symptoms of autism, others start showing signs of autism from birth.
Common signs associated with Autism include:
Difficulties in communication: People with autism often find it difficult communicating and socializing effectively with people. Kids with this disorder might find it difficult to respond to their names, and even make eye contact. Most of them communicate with people only for a specific reason and once that is achieved they go back into their shells.
While some of them might find it difficult talking properly, others can talk fluently but in a gauche way. They also find it difficult to understand gestures.
Repetitive behaviors: Most children with autism are drowned in a particular activity. Some of them become so interested in a particular topic or part of their toy while showing little or no interest to other topics.
Other signs of Autism include inappropriate attachments to objects, speech delays, learning in odd ways, lack of fear for problems that will normally cause fear to children and high sensitivity to noise or pain.
Causes of Autism
Scientist are still not sure of the exert cause of Autism, however a number of factors have been suggested as having the potential of causing Autism.
- Autism could be hereditary, environmental or biological. Researchers have proven that a child with autism is likely to have relatives or siblings with either autism or social impairment. Also there is a high possibility of an identical twin having autism if the other twin is affected by the disorder, unlike fraternal twins.
- Heavy metals or pesticides: With the recent technological development, people have a higher tendency of inhaling heavy metals like mercury than before. These heavy metals could trigger autism on an individual with a tendency towards having autism.
- When a pregnant woman is exposed to certain viruses like measles, syphilis and other chemicals, it could result in an autistic child.
Other possible causes of autism include inflammation of the brain, Fragile x syndrome, Phenylketonuria (which occurs when the enzyme required for normal metabolism is insufficient), lack of proper maternal bond or mother-child bond, lead, gluten, exposure to lots of automotive exhaust, and certain chemicals.
Nutritional Supplements For Autism
Autistic kids are picky eaters and as such require lots of nutritional supplements to cover up the gap. Most kids with autism are diagnosed with having inadequate level of nutrients like Zinc, Magnesium, Calcium, Vitamins and Essential Fatty Acids.
Magnesium supplements should be given to autistic children as magnesium is needed for proper metabolism and most autistic kids have problems with their metabolism.
Iron supplements will also be needed to build up their intellectual ability as well as vitamins which are needed for proper brain function.
Autistic children need more vitamins and amino acids from protein than other children to help correct their abnormal brain functionality.
Also omega-3 can be a good source of fatty acid which is needed by autistic children to feed their brains and support cognitive function.
Autistic kids often have problems with their digestive system and therefore might require therapeutic enzymes to aid digestion.
Holistic Approach To Treat Children With Autism
It is understandable that it might be difficult handling an autistic child, however, they need the love and attention of family members and friends to help control this disorder.
A number of therapies and holistic approaches can help control autism:
Auditory therapy is needed to control autism in children. Since these kids are sensitive to certain frequencies of sound, it is advisable to gradually expose them to sounds until they are used to it.
Also they can be exposed to a number of exercises to help them build their concentration skills. The use of computer programs and games can also be implemented to build their attention skills.
It is not advisable for parents to depend on school to correct this disorder as most of them lack the necessary tools needed to help control this disorder.
Autism is a devastating and incurable disorder but with nutritional supplements and a holistic approach autism can be properly managed and autistic children can flourish like every other child.