Raising an autistic child can be challenging, but you may have an easier time with certain treatments and therapies. The San Fernando telehealth experts at Kids & Teens Medical Group offer telehealth services to help raise your child with minimal challenges. Here is what you need to know about this condition.
What is autism?
Autism, also known as an autism spectrum disorder, refers to a medical condition that causes challenges with nonverbal communication, repetitive behavior, and speech. There are several types of autism resulting from unique environmental and genetic factors. The thinking and problem-solving ability depend on the type of autism your child has and its severity. Some children may need a lot of support in their lives, while others may require little support, and others do not require any support at all. Several factors may contribute to autism, and in most cases, it is accompanied by medical conditions such as mental health challenges, sleep disorders or seizures, and gastrointestinal disorders.
How can you know if your child has autism?
The signs and symptoms of autism often start showing at the age of three, but in some cases, they may start showing at birth. Some of the indicators of autism include:
- Inability to maintain eye contact
- Scared of being cuddled or held
- Extreme sensitivity to smell, sights, touches, and sounds that may not be intense for other people
- Not paying attention when someone is talking and pointing at something
- Talking in a robotic or sing-song voice
- Repeating a specific activity over and over, such as flipping a lever
- Lack of interest or intense interest in specific topics
Your child may also experience seizures, which usually occur during adolescence.
What are the different types of autism?
In the past, the different types of autism were thought to be separate medical disorders, but they recently categorized them under the autism spectrum disorders. They include:
- Asperger’s syndrome
Children with this disorder tend to have little to no interest in fun activities and have social challenges. These kids usually score highly on intelligence tests and do not experience problems with learning languages.
- Autistic disorder
Your child may display severe challenges with social interactions and may often prefer playing with children below three years old.
- Persuasive developmental disorder
Your provider may categorize your child in this group of disorders if he has some autistic traits like challenges with social and communication skills but does not fall under the other categories.
What factors contribute to autism?
Anyone can develop autism regardless of race or gender, but it is more prevalent in boys than girls. Some of the risk factors of autism include:
- Giving birth to the child at an older age
- A family history of autism
- Exposing yourself to drugs such as alcohol and anti-seizure medications
What are the treatment options for autism?
There is no specific cure for autism, but early treatment can help your child. If you suspect that your child has autism, inform your doctor immediately. Your provider may create a personalized treatment plan for your child that may include medications to minimize symptoms such as anxiety and hyperactivity and communication and behavioral therapy.
For information about autism management, contact the kids & Teens Medical Group office or book your spot online.