It’d help a great deal if parents could discover or read signs of Autism, if any, in their child early. To understand what they should know about, the red flags and the first steps they must take, we spoke to a leading pediatric neurologist, Dr Puja Grover Kapoor.
What is autism spectrum disorder (ASD)?
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental behavioral disability that causes significant social, communication and behavioural challenges. These children communicate, interact, behave, and learn in ways that are different from most other people. The child may have normal intelligence quotient and still have autism. It is characterised by impairment of social interaction, defects in language development and communication skills, stereotype, repetitive, restrictive patterns of behaviours, interest and activities which limits and impairs daily functioning.
Structurally there is no malformation of the brain or neurons.
The number is rising at an alarming high rate with still undefined reasons.
What is the cause for Autism?
Scientists don’t know the exact cause of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), but research suggests that both genes and environment play an important role.
“Environment” refers to anything outside of the body that can affect health. This includes the air we breathe, the water we drink and bathe in, the food we eat, the medicines we take, and many other things that our bodies may come in contact with. Environment also includes our surroundings in the womb, when our mother’s health directly affects our growth and earliest development. Researchers are studying many environmental factors such as family medical conditions, parental age and other demographic factors, expo¬sure to toxins, and complications during birth or pregnancy
The cause appears to be multifactorial as no study is conclusive of a single cause.
In identical twins who share the exact same genetic code, if one has ASD, the other twin also has ASD in nearly 9 out of 10 cases. If one sibling has ASD, the other siblings have 35 times the normal risk of also developing the disorder. Researchers are starting to identify par¬ticular genes that may increase the risk for ASD.
Most people who develop ASD have no reported family history of autism, suggesting that random, rare, and possibly many gene muta¬tions are likely to affect a person’s risk.
What are the early signs?
Autism should be suspected if there is absence of:
When should we suspect Autism in a child?
What are the different kinds of experts who the parents should meet?
Do’s and don’ts with autistic children
If you are reading this article on our website and have an Android phone, please download our APP here for a more personalised experience based on your lifestage.