Friday, October 30, 2009

Autism in Children

Autism causes problems with behaviour, communication and social skills. People with the disorder may have abnormalities in the way the brain developed that causes the behavioural quirks associated with it. But there are some people who believe it should not be classified as a mental disorder, arguing that autistic people are simply at the extreme end of a behavioural scale.

An autistic child usually starts exhibiting symptoms before the age of three, although the parent may only realise this with retrospect. A child with autism can be almost robotic in their behaviour. They will not interact in a normal manner with their parents - for instance, if they fall over they may not seek comfort - and they are likely to have very poor eye contact. If the autism is quite severe it may seem like they are almost unaware of the world around them. The child might react in a surprising manner to a seemingly innocent trigger, for instance many children with autism are very sensitive about people touching them. Sometimes they will spend long periods of time repeating certain motions over and over again, such as rocking or even a form of self harm.

The child will lack empathy with those around them. They cannot comprehend the feelings of other people and have no apparent interest in seeking out company. Their speech development is likely to be poor as a result. Not only will an autistic child not play with their peers, they may not even play on their own, or at least not in a manner which most people would define as play. Instead they tend to become rather fixated on specific things, for instance they may become singularly interested in trains, and obsessed with carrying out routines.

Autism is extremely difficult to treat as the condition is so complex and very little is known about its causes. Behavioural therapy can have a degree of success, but it is very dependent on the individual and the degree of their autism. Therapy can help them understand the behaviour and emotions of those around them, so that they can interact in a more normal manner. Apparently small actions can actually be a huge step for the child, such as spontaneously reaching out to their parents for a hug.

Raising a child with autism has its rewards, but it can also be a big emotional challenge. There are organisations available who will offer much needed support to the families of autistic children.

Leanne is particularly interested in the subject of health, but she also writes product reviews such as the top 10 vacuum cleaners and best bagless vacuum cleaners.

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