What is autism?
Autism is a lifelong developmental disorder that can affect anyone. Neither an illness or disease, the disability is now more commonly referred to as autism spectrum disorder. As a complex disorder, autism symptoms can be challenging for both the individual with autism and their loved ones. With the correct specialist interventions, speech, communication and confidence can be improved. There is no ‘cure’ for autism; the emphasis on autism care is ensuring those who have autism are still able to live a fulfilling and happy life.
What are the causes of autism?
There is no definitive cause of autism; it is believed to be down to genetics, low birth weight and metabolic imbalances. Cases of autism spectrum disorder have been known to run in families, meaning a child may be more at risk if a parent is autistic, or if one or more of their siblings has been diagnosed with autism.
It has been suggested by researchers that somebody born with a genetic vulnerability to autism may only develop the disorder if exposed to certain environmental triggers such as; premature birth, being exposed to certain medications or alcohol in the womb – however, this is not a definite cause.
What are the signs & symptoms of autism?
Experts believe that people are born with genetic dispositions to autism, with signs presenting themselves often before the age of three. Although any gender or race can be affected, there is a higher number of recorded cases in men.
Early symptoms of autism in children can include:
- Lack or no vocalisation
- Repetition of certain words and a fixation on certain subjects
- Preferring to speak single words rather than sentences
- Poor response to others – e.g. ignoring their name being called
- Difficulty in interacting with others and finding social situations upsetting
- Preferring to play alone
- Sensitivity to loud noises or bright lights
Signs in adults can include (this list is not exhaustive):
- Difficulty understanding what others are thinking or feeling
- Seeming blunt, rude or uninterested without meaning to
- Difficulty in using or interpreting facial expressions
- Unable to understand sarcasm or jokes
- Taking things too literally
- A monotonous and flat tone of voice
- Difficulty making social or romantic connections with others
- Certain behaviours might be interpreted as insensitive or not socially acceptable
Types of autism
In the past, people used to refer to different ‘types’ of autism, such as ‘Aspergers’ however; now these old terms are now under one terminology – autism spectrum disorders. These can range from mild, medium and severe on the spectrum and expert diagnosis will determine the type of treatment needed.
Adult autism treatment
Adult autism treatment is an effective way to help teach behaviours that bring a new found confidence to those with the disability. There are a variety of techniques that can be implemented into an autism treatment plan to bring the individual with autism ‘out of their shell’, leading to a healthier and happier life.
The course of autism treatment is usually defined by the signs, symptoms and severity of the autism faced by an individual. Autism therapy usually works best as part of a combined approach; including treatments such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), functional communication training, social skills groups and more.
If you or your loved one could benefit from private autism treatment and a personalised programme, contact Brevin today
for a friendly discussion with a member of our team. Our ultimate goal from autism therapy is for the individual to live confidently and to their full potential.