Autism- a neurobehavioral disorder

The conventional spectrum of human development can be seen in activities like proper growth, adaptation and various other developmental events in life. Generally, 8 out of 10 children grow at their own conventional space. Proper interaction and interpretation can be seen along with active involvement towards things. But there are still 2 % of the child population that suffers from Autism- a developmental disorder coupled with inability for communication and social interaction. The range and intensity of this requires a proper medical diagnosis of which many people are unware of. The behavioral as well as educational changes can be rightly felt from the childhood. However early recognition of it can help the child towards early development and learning.


What Autism actually is?


Autism can be defined as a set of complex developmental signs that can affect a person’s ability to interact or communicate with others. It typically appears during the early childhood stage, affecting individuals to behave differently. According to a survey it has been estimated that approximately 1 in 59 children is diagnosed with an Autism disorder. Also boys are four times more likely to be diagnosed with Autism than girls.


Symptoms of Autism


The core symptoms of autism can range from socio developmental disorder to restricted repetitive behaviors. The severity can also vary from person to person depending on the sensory issues. Some of the symptoms of Autism developmental disorder are as follows-


  • Social communication challenges- It is mostly seen that children and adults having autism disorder have difficulty in verbal and nonverbal communication. For example, they might not good at understanding gestures, eye contact, tone of voice, facial expressions, recognizing emotions and intentions in others etc.


  •  Restricted and repetitive behaviors- Restricted and repetitive behaviors include body movements like flapping, spinning, running back and forth etc. Staring at lights or repeatedly touching objects in a set of order etc.


  • Spoken language-  A child suffering from autism usually have delayed speech development that is speaking less than 40 variety of words by the age of 2 or not speaking at all. It also includes communication using single words, despite being able to speak in sentences.


  • Responding to others – This particularly includes not responding to their name despite having a hearing test showing usual behavior. Also rejecting cuddles initiated by their parents.


  • Interacting with others- A child having autism is not aware of other people’s space or are usually upset by people entering their personal space. They usually prefer to play alone, rather than asking others to play with them.


Speech therapy in autism - For children having autism, speech therapy is essential. Speech therapy can refer to as the effort involving treatment of communication and speech disorders. It includes wide range of stutters or lips to provide children necessary amount of help with developmental disorder. A speech therapist usually performs the procedure that involves functional level communication along with other associative activities. A speech therapist has wide range of tools and techniques, starting from toys and play like therapy to formal speech and tests curriculum.


What does a Speech Therapist do with children having Autism?


A speech therapist is a savior for those having autism. A well experienced therapist can do wonders starting from the initial treatment to growth and development. He or she can help an autistic child to communicate and engage with the surroundings. Depending on the usual set up school, home or any place, the therapist can work in 1:1 ratio or in groups putting more emphasis on the child’s functional as well as developmental level. Various ways by which a speech therapist can work are as follows-


  • Nonverbal communication- The initial work in speech therapy includes teaching gestural communications or giving indicative training. The entire process is carried out through picture exchange cards, electronic talking devices, and other non – verbal communication tools.


  • Body language- Body language includes recognizing the bodily movement or postures by which feelings are communicated. How to react, respond and interpret others bodily gestures along with some specific physical signals are being taught by the therapist during counselling.


  • Question answer sessions- Children having autism find it really difficult to adapt to the ability of answering questions. The therapist can help them in recognizing a proper question along with an appropriate answer. He or she can help the child to formulate, ask, and understand the answers to their own questions.


  •  Speech pragmatics- Speech pragmatics basically train a child to understand the meaning of different idioms along with the use of it.


  • Conversation skills- Speech therapist basically works on back and forth exchanges, sometimes known as joint attention. This in the long run can help a child to have a grip on the technique of fluency and verbal comfort.


  • Social skills-  Occupational therapist, play therapist and many other people having expertise in specific areas such as recreational therapy, art therapy and speech therapy can often help people having autism to build up on social communication skills. Example of such skills include the ability to answer questions, stand at an appropriate distance from a conversational partner.


What is the best time to start speech therapy for Autism?


As Autism refers to developmental disability that usually shows up in childhood phase, it is of utmost importance to seek for Speech therapy at the earliest, Autism spectrum disorder usually shows up before a child attains the age of 3. This can also lead to language recognition delays and much more. It is very essential to start the speech therapy as early as possible. With the help of early identification and intervention two of the three preschoolers having autism can be improved. Research also showed that those who improve the most are often those who receive the most speech therapy.


No disease, disorder or anxiety can overpower a serious human effort. Children with Autism are in need of care, affection and deep understanding. It is not something any parent should be ashamed off. With early detection and proper medical treatment and management, the percentage of children having autism can be brought down.

What it needs is the use of proper and appropriate guidance and techniques.  

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