How can Virtual Care make an impact on World Autism Day 2021?
On the eve of World Autism Day 2021, we at VIOS would like to discuss the importance of seeking expert counsel via telemedicine providers on the nature and latest guidelines on managing Autism Spectrum Disorders in children.
Childhood development is a complex period of neurosocial development, that is the outcome of influences from genetic, psychosocial and environmental effects over an extended period of time. Beginning from the womb until early infancy, countless synaptic network connections are made which society would perceive as personality, intellect and individuality.
As the human mind develops along a wide distribution of unique capacities, recent advances in medicine, particularly in the field of child psychology, has identified certain variations in the way some children may analyse and express their perceptions of reality. One of the most commonly occurring variations in child development is Autism.
Autism is more formally known as an autism spectrum disorder, a wide range of conditions characterized by challenges in social skills, behavior, and communication. The extent of autism varies from person to person. The causes are unknown, but a combination of genetic and environmental factors leads to various subtypes of autism. Since autistic children require extra care, a parent must recognize some of these early perceivable signs.
What Are The Signs of Autism?
It is not easy to detect for most first-time parents. Some individuals show hints of autism during early childhood development, while others have gone all the way to adulthood without parents noticing the signs. Caregivers should familiarize themselves with milestones of early childhood development. Most children can reach those milestones, except a few who may turn out to be autistic.
In most cases, the window of age in which autism can be easily diagnosed is somewhere between 18 to 24 months. Sometimes the symptoms may not be that noticeable.
If you do notice the signs, in both cases you will need professional assistance. Early detection and intensive intervention can help improve the outcome according to research.
These are the top signs that you should look out for:
- Lack of sharing smiles, facial expressions, eye contact, and interest. Also known as failure to respond to social cues.
- Little or no babbling, back-and-forth gestures, and response to name. These are common forms of ‘self-gratification’.
- Loss of speech and delayed development of language. Even if they do not talk, some autistic children excessively repeat certain words and phrases, a condition known as echolalia. Repetition is also seen in some of their behaviors. Some children resist even the slightest changes in their repetitive routine.
- Preference for solitude, with difficulty understanding feelings of others, and in appropriate expressions.
- Intense and unusual reactions towards light, sound, colors, smells, and tastes. Temper tantrums and conduct disorders may arise in difficult social settings eg. exposure to crowds, moving houses, visitors and other social settings that requires personal emotional adaptation.
Is Autism Curable?
Parents should start to look for these signs as early as 12 months. Since there is no biological marker to detect autism in a surefire manner, often parents mistake autism for ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The name itself suggests that the symptoms of ADHD are in contrast to those found in autistic individuals. Those with ADHD typically are hyperactive, impulsive, monopolize conversations with excess talking, cannot stay still, and of course, cannot pay attention to something for long.
ADHD symptoms manifest at school-going age. Proper behavioral therapy and medications can help manage the symptoms if detected early, but most autistic individuals require many types of therapies. Medication is usually not prescribed for autism symptoms. However, both autism and ADHD cannot be prevented or cured. Some psychoactive medications have been trialled in certain countries to manage difficult behavioural symptoms, along with fad diets and experimental treatments to ‘cure autism’. However it is the opinion of medical experts that such unproven and potentially dangerous trials not be utilised.
What should you do with your Autistic Child?
Many view autistic children as burdens and labelled as mentally ill. Although they are socially and behaviorally challenged, some hold exceptional capabilities and talent. Many excel in life later on as adults because of these talents, or because of proper care and personalised skills development in niche expertise.
Instead of viewing gifted children as outcasts, parents and society, should empathize and encourage their abilities so that they feel more welcome in the community. Perhaps even be a source of great inspiration and innovation.
The full nature and management protocols vary from country to country, and even amongst medical disciplines. It is advisable to seek professional counsel if you suspect that your child, or a family member may show certain variations in expected developmental milestones as described.
At VIOS we seek to provide highly personalised consults with childhood developmental experts and dedicated pediatricians, to help you make an honest and informed decision to best care practices.
Free from bias or judgement, our professionals are dedicated to respecting the patients’ choice in selecting the right practitioner, who can easily describe the issues at hand, in a convenient virtual care setting.
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