Seeing your own child grow up alive and well is one of the most beautiful things we humans can experience. Unfortunately, however, health is a good that is not given to everyone. Especially when a child with a disability is born, this causes great dismay.
The aim of this article is to explain autism in children, and thus to provide guidance for living with an autistic child. What is autism in children? How do you interpret the symptoms correctly? What therapeutic measures are there to support parents with autistic children?.
What is autism?
Early childhood autism is also under the name Kanner’s syndrome or Kanner’s autism known. This is due to the person (Leo Kanner) who described the disease for the first time. This form, which occurs in infancy, is one of the more severe forms of autism.
In general, autism is divided into four forms:
- early childhood autism
- Asperger’s autism
- Atypical autism
- functioning autism
In short, autism is a perception and disorder that includes the problem of information processing. Since autism is a disability and not, as is often assumed, a disease, it is incurable, but can be treated well these days. In children with early childhood autism, the diagnosis is usually made within the first three years of life. The form of the disease varies from child to child. There are children who have normal intelligence and who have no language or learning restrictions. Other cases have very noticeable deficits in these areas and are also considerably impaired in their movement. The urge to repeat certain processes is often evident. Early diagnosis is therefore important in order to promptly get the best possible treatment and treatment options in order to ensure an improvement in symptoms and thus the quality of life.
What is autism due to??
To date, no exact cause for the development of an autism disability has been found. However, it seems certain that the disease is related to genetic and biological characteristics. A form of autism is usually also recognized in a close relative of an affected child. With the help of interesting studies, the so-called twin studies, it was also possible to demonstrate that if one twin is ill, the second twin also has the same symptoms. However, this has also been observed in other pairs of siblings of different ages. In addition to the hereditary factors, there are a number of other conjectures about the origin of autism, which have not yet been officially confirmed. These include:
- Diet during pregnancy
- Mercury poisoning during pregnancy
- Response to a vaccination
- Disruption in the processing of minerals and vitamins
What are the symptoms of an autism disease??
In contrast to Asperger’s syndrome, canker syndrome is already evident in the early infant phase. However, the final diagnosis is often only made 2 to 3 years later. This is because it is not necessarily easy to determine autism without a doubt. A baby who does not fully deal with its environment does not have to be autistic. However, there are some traits that make autism likely.
A baby with autism
- does not make eye contact
- never laughs at his caregivers
- does not wave as usual
- shows no negative reaction when separated from parents
- does not cuddle up to the parents
- is not happy when it is picked up
Autism is even easier to determine in infants from two years of age. The following signs should be noted here:
- The child prefers to play alone than with other children his age
- sways back and forth
- it shows a greatly reduced or no speech development
- it flutters with the arms
- certain treatises are carried out again and again
- the child shows no reaction when it hurts
- Even if his name is mentioned, it hardly responds to none at all
- the child is hypersensitive to noise
Other features include an entertaining potential for attention to external circumstances or address. Violent tantrums and outbursts of anger often occur. The fantasy and role-playing games typical of children fail to appear, as does the empathy to show compassion.
High-functioning autism includes the features of early childhood autism just described. Regardless of this, the children affected still have a normal intelligence quotient. The prominent criterion in this form is a greatly reduced language competence, so that the children speak little or not at all. Nevertheless, they are later able to live an independent life.
Treatment options for early childhood autism
The therapy is preceded by a diagnosis. Providing this requires consultation with various specialists. In addition to language, communication skills, thinking skills and motor skills are also checked. In addition, the emotional level of development examined.
The therapy is tailored to each child in detail. The aspects of specific strengths and weaknesses are taken into account and integrated. Wherever possible, medication is avoided unless it is used to curb aggression and related self-harm. Neuroleptics are prescribed for this purpose. To reduce the recurring activities of the musculoskeletal system, can Provide relief from serotonin reuptake inhibitors.
Behavioral therapies are now found to be effective. With their help, everyday situations are simulated through behavioral and role-playing games and thus brought closer to the children. Especially that Applied Behavior Analysis, ABA for short, and the adjacent Verbal Behavior Therapy show great success. Here, the existing skills and abilities of the little patient are linked. These are expanded and supplemented with the help of a reward and punishment principle. Despite the proven quality of the therapy program, it is unfortunately not too often available in Germany.
Another therapy method is TEACCH (Treatment and Education of Autistic and related Communication handicapped Children). Here, too, the children are fixated in playful activities and with rewards to direct their perception to important aspects and information. The therapy aims to strengthen the understanding of the environment and reduce the fear of possible changes. The expansion of existing skills and abilities is not included here.
In the Theory of Mind method relies more on empathy and the harmony between one’s own thinking and the environment. The children learn to develop feelings and compassion for themselves and other people. The will to establish contacts with other people is also positively influenced.
Another is further speech therapy of the child as meaningful. This promotes language comprehension and language guidance equally. Speech therapy measures should definitely be started before the age of eight, otherwise the chances of success will diminish.
The effects and steps of success show up slowly but steadily. It demands a lot of patience and calmness from the people affected, but also from those around them.
What are the long-term prognoses for the course of early childhood autism?
The symptoms of early childhood autism will have to be borne by the patient for life. Unfortunately, about 75% of all autistic people are dependent on help in daily life for life. Therefore, parents of such children should not be deterred from sharing their lives with an autistic child, because there are really very good support measures and intensive care options. Thus, autistic children have the opportunity to use a school escort who takes on all structuring related to disabilities during everyday school life. The attendant prepares school material in such a way that the protégé understands it easily and can work on it. In addition, a school attendant helps with communication between the student and the teacher or with his classmates.
Leisure time is also provided. A personal assistant can be ordered here who takes care of issues such as orientation, impulse control and communication.
The involvement of parents is important
Since the parents are usually the direct caregivers of the autistic child, it is essential that they learn how to deal with their child and receive support from the start. It is common to involve parents in therapy so that they can continue to practice with their child at home.
For everyday use, it makes sense to include small aids. This will make dealing with an autistic person a lot easier. It is recommended to work with pictograms or photos, as an autistic person understands about seeing rather than hearing.
Example: To make the child understand that the shoes belong in the shoe cabinet, you simply stick a picture of the child’s shoes over the shoe cabinet.
At best it has a fixed one everyday life Duration. This can also be represented with the help of pictures so that the child gradually understands what it has to do at what time. The best way to do this is by creating your own daily program, which is pictorially written on a poster, with the respective photos next to it.
Autistic children react to some situations that are quite normal for other children, sometimes frightened or even panicked. It is therefore reasonable to associate such situations with something positive. For example, some children are afraid of taking a shower. Here again, it is useful to use a daily schedule to indicate when it is time to take a shower. At the same time, the child is told that there is also a reward after showering.
Conclusion: Life with autistic children has a very strenuous everyday life for the parents. However, this does not mean that this life is not worth living. It is remarkable how happy and lovable a person with such a disability can be. Seeing life through his eyes in a completely different way can be a real asset. But it is certainly no less livable and lovable than any other child.
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