Doctors and Diagnosing Autism


When a doctor first suggests that your child has autism, your immediate reaction might be disbelief and the urge to seek a second, third, or even fourth opinion.

Autism is so different in every child, it is a tricky disorder to diagnose. However, there are a few key ways in which doctors can efficiently identify autism in children, and if your infant or toddler is showing any of these signs of autism, you should visit your paediatrician immediately to express your concerns.

Autism occurs at a young age, rather than being a disorder an older child might develop. It is usually detected before the age of three, and many times much earlier.

The first signs of autism are usually delays or regression in speech communication. Another early sign is abnormal behaviour in group play situations and other social situations.

The first step to diagnosing autism is a thorough physical examination as well as a review of family history by a specialist. Although your regular paediatrician will be able to spot unusual behaviour, you’ll want your child to be examined by a professional who specializes in autism and other similar diseases to make sure your child is properly diagnosed.

 

The next step includes hearing tests. Sign language and social skill delays could be due to inadequate auditory sensations. There are two types of auditory tests, one of which records the tones a child can hear and the other of which requires sedation and measures the brain response to certain tones.

Of course, the first method is preferred, since it does not require any use of a sedative.

After auditory testing, your doctor may encourage testing your child for Fragile X syndrome, which oftentimes goes hand in hand with autism.

Metabolism can also be evaluated. To do this, your doctor will need a blood or urine sample to analyze DNA.  An MRI or CAT scan can also be helpful in diagnosing autism.

The important thing is to work with doctors you trust. Second opinions can be very helpful, but when your child has been diagnosed, stick with one doctor so that treatment is uniform and so that your child will get used to this person.

Autism is difficult to diagnose and even more difficult to treat, so remember that you should begin to learn as much as possible about the disorder as soon as your doctor identifies it.

If you have yet to speak with your doctor about abnormal behaviour in your child, do so immediately. By detecting autism early, you give your child a better chance at becoming a high-functioning individual with much more opportunities in life.

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Musical Therapy to Treat Autism

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Musical therapy is a relatively new treatment method for autism patients, but one that should not be overlooking when discussing options.

Patients who receive musical therapy often should great improvement in temperament and learning skills. Music connects to the non-verbal part of our brains, making it a perfect therapy for disorders in which the patient has trouble communicating, such as autism.

Research this innovative treatment method if you are looking for some help with autism and haven’t had much luck in the past.

Musical therapy is effective because it can be used in conjunction with learning social skills. Music is a very non-threatening medium for patients, and many games can be played using music to help improve social and behavioural skills.

Eye Contact

By encouraging eye contact while singing or using instruments that need to get close to the face, musical therapy can help autistic individuals break social barriers.


Development of Speech Skills

The number one way that musical therapy can help children, as well as older autistic patients, is by helping with the development of speech skills.

Music is a way to connect the verbal and non-verbal functions in the brain. Autistic individuals may have various forms of speech problems. Some can only hum, grunt, or make other non-word noises, while others babble nonsensical phrases or cries. Still, others gain the capability to put together phrases and sentences to communicate with the world, although these usually lack emotion.

Monotone Voices

Autistic people are known for monotone voices. However, no matter how skilled the individual is with speech, he or she can participate in musical therapy by clapping rhythms, humming along, or doing simple echoing songs.

Autistic individuals are commonly found to be particularly good at music. Some, for instance, have perfect pitch. Others can play a particular instrument very well, with little instruction.

Even if he or she shows no genius musical ability by normal standards, you may find that a particularly hard to deal with an autistic person has abilities in music that exceed his or her other abilities.

Musical Therapist

A musical therapist can use music as a way to link this kind of learning with other kinds of learning, not only as speech development and social behavioural development as previously discussed but also as a way to communicate emotions and develop memory.

By using all of these techniques in conjunction with one another, musical therapy can work wonders with people who are autistic.

Trained professionals can use music to teach children and others how to communicate in nonverbal ways, making it easier for patients to learn. Research the musical therapy option to provide you or your child with another choice when treating autism.

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Autistic Children and Visual Perception

Views of the brain

Autism affects every child differently, so it is difficult to find the exact treatments your child needs to cope with his or her symptoms.

One thing that effects some autistic children (though, not all) is problems with visual perception. By using some standardized methods to help improve visual perception, you can give your child the ability to see the world more clearly, making learning and comprehension easier and possibly curbing some behaviour problems as well.

Autistic children mainly have problems with sensory overload and distortion. These are some same problems many people not suffering from the disorder develop, and so many treatment options have become available.

Individuals with autism often find, however, that the sensory overload of the world due to light, colours, contrast, shapes, and patterns, is too much to handle, causing them to act out or shut down in general.

This is sometimes a genetic condition that is simply enhanced by the autism, so if the child’s parents have trouble with reading or have been otherwise treated for visual perceptive problems, there is a good chance that the child needs help as well.

The Irlen Method is one effective way to treat visual perception disorders. This method uses colour to create a more harmonized world. You may have heard of these methods if anyone has ever suggested using a colour filter over the page when reading to be able to read better and more quickly.

This method is proven to work, and if your autistic child is at the maturity level of reading, you may want to try these colour filters to see if there is a difference in speed and comprehension.

However, it is more likely that your autistic child will benefit from colour filters during the entire day, not just when reading. Special glasses have been made using coloured lenses to conquer this problem.

Not every child responds the same way to every colour, so it is a process of trial and error to find out which colour is the one blocking the harmful light. You can also choose to use coloured light bulbs in your home to help autistic individuals with their visual perception problems.

This method mainly helps children in 4 areas: depth perception, social interaction, learning, and physical well-being. The colours help the child determine how far he or she is from an object, and the world becomes more three-dimensional, helping depth perception.

Social interaction also improves because the child feels as though he or she is in a calmer world and can more clearly see and interpret facial expressions.

The colours make it possible to learn, especially when reading, and overall, the child will feel better, because it helps reduce headaches and dizziness. By testing this technique and others to help visual perception problems, you can help your child better cope with the world and his or her autism.

Autistic Children and the Strain on Marriage

 

AutismUnfortunately, in modern times, many marriages end in divorce or separation. This statistic rises even higher when you mix in an autistic child.

No matter how loving and understanding you both may be towards your child, the truth is that autism is a very difficult matter, and strain on the marriage is not uncommon.

By trying to stay positive about your situation, and by working to keep your marriage healthy, you and your spouse can avoid marital problems and hopefully survive the trying times of raising an autistic child.

Why did you marry your husband or wife? By asking yourself this question often, you can focus on the good things in your marriage.

Raising a child with autism is stressful, and if you are stressed, you have a tendency to snap at another person for the smallest missteps. Instead of focusing on these bad qualities, take some time to enjoy one another the way you did at the beginning of the relationship.

This may include spending some time apart from your children. When you find out that your child is autistic, it is beneficial to make sure that you and your spouse are not the only two people with whom your child will respond.

A grandparent, aunt or uncle, mature sibling, or nanny are good people to have in your child’s life in the most intimate way possible. This way, alone time with your spouse is possible.

 

Work together with your spouse to help you, child, instead of fighting with one another. It is very likely that you will have different ideas about what to do in certain situations, so be prepared to compromise and always seek professional consultations before making any medical decisions for your child.

By working together, remember that you are giving your child the best opportunities. Try to set apart time every week to spend together as a family, especially if one parent or the other is the primary caregiver.

 

Lastly, seek help when you need it. Part of any successful marriage is spending some time apart to focus on individual needs, and it is no different when you have an autistic child.

However, if you find that you and your spouse are not happy unless you are spending time alone, it is time to reevaluate the situation. A family or marriage counsellor can help you and your spouse get back on the right track to a happy life together.

It might also be beneficial to meet other couples raising autistic children. You are not alone, and it is never easy. By making an effort to keep your marriage happy, even when you are stressed with the task of raising an autistic child, you and your spouse can ensure that your marriage does not end in a messy divorce.

Autism And Children

What Causes Autism in Children

autism-and-children

Many parents hope that in finding the source of autism, this disorder can be cured or prevented. Unfortunately, scientists have yet to find one single reason why children develop autism.

It is possible that someday autism will be linked to a specific gene abnormality, but the more likely source is not one thing, but a number of factors in a child’s world.

Autism cannot be prevented or cured, so the best we can do to help autistic children and adults is be understanding and willing to compromise to make the world comfortable for them and ourselves

MYTHS

First off, there are certain things that do not cause autism, and these myths should be laid to rest immediately.

Most importantly, bad parenting does not cause autism. In the past, mothers were blamed for traumatizing their children with cold parenting techniques, which was thought to lead to autism.

This is simply not true. Autism is also not caused by malnutrition, although food allergies occur in my autistic children and some autistic children do benefit from taking daily vitamins.

Involvement of the Brain

autism awareness
CC BY-SA by hepingting

There are many links between autism and the brain. Most people with autism have larger brains and they are “wired” differently than a typical brain.

Differences occur in many parts of the brain, so it cannot be targeted to one specific brain malfunction overall, but rather a brain malfunction in general.

Immune Deficiency

Autistic children also show signs of an immune deficiency. Evidence in this study is not yet strong, but research is still being done. Many autistic individuals have other health problems related to immune deficiencies.

Overall, these things all seem to point to genetics. Although autism is not the parents’ fault, it is most likely that autism was found elsewhere on your family tree, and it is not uncommon for parents to raise more than one autistic child.

Autism may also be linked to vaccinations, although this is still being highly studied. The benefits of vaccinations greatly outweigh the risks of them causing autism, so you should not deprive your child simply because you are fearful. Talk to you doctor if you have concerns about vaccinations.

No two people on the autism spectrum are alike. … A person on the autism spectrum has difficulties in some areas of their development, but other skills may develop typically. ASD affects around 1 in 100 to 1 in 110 people of school age, with males being around four times more likely to be affected than females.


The three most common forms of autism in the pre-2013 classification system were Autistic Disorder—or classic autism; Asperger’s Syndrome; and Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS). These three disorders share many of the same symptoms, but they differ in their severity and impact.

Below you will find signs of autism in children from the NHS Website

Autism in young children

Signs of autism in young children include:

  • not responding to their name
  • avoiding eye contact
  • not smiling when you smile at them
  • getting very upset if they do not like a certain taste, smell or sound
  • repetitive movements, such as flapping their hands, flicking their fingers or rocking their body
  • not talking as much as other children
  • repeating the same phrases

Autism in older children

Signs of autism in older children include:

  • not seem to understand what others are thinking or feeling
  • finding it hard to say how they feel
  • liking a strict daily routine and getting very upset if it changes
  • having a very keen interest in certain subjects or activities
  • getting very upset if you ask them to do something
  • finding it hard to make friends or prefer to be on their own
  • taking things very literally – for example, they may not understand phrases like “break a leg”

Autism in girls and boys

Autism can sometimes be different in girls and boys.

For example, autistic girls may be quieter, may hide their feelings and may appear to cope better with social situations.

This means autism can be harder to spot in girls.

 

Conclusion

Nobody knows what causes autism. Therefore, we can do nothing to prevent and cure it, but rather we can simply treat the autistic people in our lives with the best of our ability.

Becoming educated in autism is the key the more you know about the disorder, the better you can help individuals who suffer from it.

Autism is a complex problem, and as researchers develop new understandings of the way it affects the body, better treatment options will become available, with the hope that someday we will be able to cure this disease.

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