Autism is a developmental disorder that affects social and communication skills. Autism word means ‘‘inward orientation’’. This illness was first described in 1943 by the American psychiatrist Leo Kanner. Unfortunately today, autism is a common developmental disorder.
Autism occurs in the first three years of life. Unlike other people, the person adapts the world according to his own perception. The individual’s internal reality is incompatible with the external reality. Autism is a serious disorder that causes problems in language development attitudes and difficulties in social relations. Autistic children can be easily distinguished from their peers from their infancy. They cannot smile easily, they do not react to the surroundings and they cannot establish eye contact.
What are the causes of autism?
There are many reasons that led to autism. Genetic, neurological, psychiatric or metabolic problems can be the cause. According to researches that have been done, the biggest cause of autism is genetic. Genetic causes are affected by the combination of several genes with some environmental factors.
There are also structural reasons. These may include; medications used during pregnancy, radiation, and viruses. These factors can disrupt the construction of genes. In addition, diseases during pregnancy can cause autism.
Metabolic diseases such as; traumas during birth, babies failure to get oxygen, environmental toxins, tuberous sclerosis and phenylketonuria syndrome are also factors causing autism.
What are the symptoms of autism?
Although typical characteristics are evident, autism is variable in every child. A large proportion of autistic children have communication problems.
The communication aspect of the autism disorder is the reluctance to communicate with other children, avoidance of eye contact, dislike of physical contact, repetition rather than responding to the question, not responding when the name is said, responding with mimicry and staying alone.
Autistic children also have problems related to language development. They often have difficulty in putting together words or they can’t speak at all. The interesting thing is that they may be interested in music and memorize lyrics.
The behavior and activities of autistic children are different from other children. They are not interested in the toys played by their peers. But instead, are interested in objects that return. They can’t touch hairy toys. They may start crying and screaming when there is no reason. They can’t use their hands very well, so they can try to recognize an object by smelling and tasting them.
Autistic children are indifferent to people and therefore, have difficulty in establishing social relations. They are disturbed by crowded environments and difficulties in following the rules of society.
Because they don’t have imitation skills, they are forced to learn many behaviors. In addition to all these, eating disorders, anger attacks and aggressive attitudes can be seen in autistic children.
**How should education and treatment of autistic children be?
Autism is a developmental disorder that can be treated if early diagnosis is made. Although there is no specific treatment yet, many symptoms can be reduced with proper training. Various treatments are possible according to the child’s personality. Conducting behavioral analysis; auditory therapy, appropriate diet, music therapy, speech training, perceptual therapy and proper medication can be applied.
In the treatment of autistic children; family, pediatrician, psychologist, psychiatrist, child development specialist and neurologist should work together. In addition, there are many rehabilitation centers and special education schools that are related to autism. With ever-developing treatment opportunities, autistic children should not be ignored and should live an individual life in society.