Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) : understanding, symptom, Cause, diagnosis, Treatment and complication

Understanding Autism

Autism or  Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)  is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects a child's ability in communication, social interaction and behavior. ASD covers not only autism, but also covers Asperger's syndrome, Heller's syndrome, and pervasive developmental disorders (PPD-NOS). 
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) : understanding, symptom, Cause, diagnosis, Treatment and complication
Based on data from the Central Bureau of Statistics, there were an estimated 2.4 million people with autism in Indonesia in 2010. The population of Indonesia at that time reached 237.5 million people, meaning there was about an autistic in every 100 babies born.
It is important to be aware of the symptoms as early as possible, because ASD including conditions that can not be cured. However, there are various types of handling and treatment steps   intensive that could help people with autism to adapt in everyday life, as well as achieving their full potential.

Symptoms and Diagnosis of Autism

In general, the symptoms of autism is detected at the early age of a child's development before reaching three years. Symptoms and severity of autism also tend to vary among persons. However, these symptoms can be grouped into two main categories.
The first category is impaired social interaction and communication. These symptoms can include sensitivity to environmental issues of social and impaired use verbal and non verbal language.
While the second category includes the mindset, interests, and behavior are limited and are repetitions. Examples of repetitive movements, such as tapping or squeezing the hand, and was upset when routines are disrupted.
Persons with autism also tend to have problems in learning and other psychiatric conditions, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or  Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) , anxiety disorders, or  depression .
Call your doctor if you are aware of the symptoms of autism or developmental disorders in yourself and your child. Handling should be done as early as possible in order to improve the effectiveness of the development of this condition.

Autism Causes And Myth

There are a number of factors, such as genetics and environmental influences, which are thought to cause this disorder. However, the causes of autism  are certainly not known until today. In certain cases, autism may also be triggered by certain diseases.
In addition, there are some other things that are also considered as a trigger autism. However, the assumption and the assumption has been proven to be associated with autism based on a variety of medical research. Some of these myths include:
  • The compound thiomersal  -containing mercury (used as a preservative for vaccines).
  • Measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) .The vaccine was never suspected as a cause of autism is that many parents are reluctant to give it to their children.
  • Diet, like eating gluten or dairy products.
  • Parenting.
Persons with Autism Adult and Issues
Sometimes autism condition detected by an infected adult. The process of diagnosis as adults can help people with autism and families to understand and decide what kind of assistance is needed.
Most autistic adults find it difficult to find work because of the demands and social changes in the work. Center for autism specific services can help them to find jobs that match their skills.
In Indonesia, especially Jakarta, there are a number of organizations focused special services for persons with autism. Some of them are:
  • Autisma Indonesia Foundation (YAI)
  • Autism Community Care Foundation Indonesia (MPATI).
  • Foundation for Development of Disabled Children (YPAC).

Symptoms Of Autism

The emergence of symptoms and the severity of each autistic vary widely. The severity of autism generally determined based communication problems and repetitive behaviors experienced by sufferers as well as how these disorders affect its ability to function in society.
In general, the symptoms of autism is detected at the early age of a child's development before reaching three years. Here are some common symptoms that may help you to be more alert.

Symptoms Regarding  Interaction and Social Communication

  • Slow speech development or totally unable to speak.
  • Never express emotion or insensitive to the feelings of others.
  • Does not respond when his name was called, despite normal hearing ability.
  • Do not want to cuddle or cuddle with your parents and siblings.
  • Tend to avoid eye contact.
  • Rarely using body language.
  • Rarely expressions when communicating.
  • Could not start the conversation, continue the conversation, or just talk when asking for something.
  • The tone that is not unusual, for example flat like a robot.
  • Often repeating words and phrases, but do not understand its use appropriately.
  • Tend to look not understand simple instructions or questions.
  • Do not understand the common social interactions, such as how to greet.

Symptoms Concerning Behavior

  • Have abnormalities in movement patterns, for example, are always on tiptoe.
  • Prefer familiar routines and upset if there is a change.
  • Can not be silent.
  • Perform repetitive movements such as waving or swinging the body forward and back.
  • How to play repetitive and unimaginative, for example, the block size or color rather than build something different.
  • Just like certain foods, such as choosing food based on texture or color.
  • So fixated on a particular topic or activity with intensity overemphasized.
  • Tend to be sensitive to light, touch, or sound, but does not respond to pain.
Periksakanlah yourself or your child to the doctor if you experience these symptoms. Important for people to undergo treatment as soon as possible in order to increase its effectiveness.

Other Disorders and Autism

Persons with autism generally have no symptoms or the influence of other disorders, such as hyperactivity ( ADHD ),  epilepsy , Tourette syndrome (twitch repeatedly in specific body areas),  obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) ,  depression , anxiety disorders thorough, learning disorders, sensory disturbances, as well as  bipolar disorder.
Each of these disorders may need to be treated separately, such as drugs or cognitive behavioral therapy.

Causes Of Autism

The cause of autism is not known with certainty. However, there are several factors that can trigger a person suspected to have this disorder. Trigger factors include:
  • Gender . The boy had a risk of up to 4 times higher chance of developing autism than girls.
  • Heredity . Parents a person with autism is at risk of having a child with the same disorder.
  • Exposure during the womb . For example, exposure to alcohol or drugs (especially anti-epileptic drugs for pregnant women) while in the womb.
  • Effect of other disorders , such as Down syndrome, muscular dystrophy, neurofibromatosis, Tourette's syndrome, cerebral palsy (cerebral palsy) and Rett syndrome.
  • Premature birth , especially babies born at 26 weeks gestation or less.
It should be emphasized once again that the link between the vaccine (especially MMR) and autism are not true. Instead, the vaccine, your child will be spared from becoming infected or spreading conditions that are harmful to themselves and others.

Autism Diagnosis

If you are worried about your child's development, make sure that you consulted a doctor. If the doctor suspects that the symptoms of autism, you will usually be referred to doctors and specialists for further diagnosis such as a psychologist, child neurologist, psychiatrist, pediatrician and speech therapist.
Autism is generally diagnosed based on the symptoms shown by the child. This is done because there is no specific inspection measures to accurately diagnose autism. Several types of tests that may be recommended are as follows:
  • Examination condition of physical and medical history of the patient and family . 
    • This step serves to remove the possibility of other diseases.
  • Monitoring the development of capabilities . 
    • The child will usually be asked to follow a number of activities in order capabilities and activities can be observed and examined specifically. This focused examination includes speech, behavior, thought patterns of children, and interaction with others.
Nevertheless, the results of the examination can not necessarily definitively diagnose autism. If the specialists are not able to confirm a diagnosis of autism although the checks have been completed, your child may be recommended to undergo re-examination when she was older and more visible symptoms of autism.

Autism Treatment

Autism include abnormalities that can not be cured. However, many service support special education and behavioral therapy to improve the abilities of people with autism. Important aspects of child development that should be focused is the ability to communicate, interact, cognitive, and academic.
Treatment of autism aims to develop the ability of persons with as much as possible so that they can live a daily life. Several steps are commonly recommended treatment is:
  • Behavioral therapy and communication . This is done so that people with autism are more adaptable. Examples of treatment is cognitive behavioral therapy or C ognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) .
  • Family therapy so that parents or siblings can learn how to interact with people with autism.
  • Provision of medicines . Although not able to cure autism, drugs may be given to control certain symptoms. For example, antidepressants to control anxiety disorder, selective serotonin release inhibitors (SSRIs) for treating depression, melatonin to overcome sleep disorders, or anti-psychotic drugs to deal with aggressive behavior and harm.
  • Therapy psychology . This treatment is recommended when people with autism also suffer from other psychiatric problems, such as anxiety disorders.

Teaching and Training For Parents

The role of parents of children with autism is very important. The active participation of parents will support and help improve the ability of the child.
Looking much information as possible about autism and its handling is highly recommended for the elderly. You can find out more through the Community Care Autism Indonesia (MPATI) and Foundation Autisma Indonesia.
Help your child to communicate can also reduce anxiety and improve his behavior, because communication is a special barrier for children with autism. Tips that may be useful include:
  • Using simple words.
  • Always call the child's name when talking to him.
  • Take advantage of body language to clarify what you mean.
  • Speak slowly and clearly.
  • Give your child time to process your words.
  • Do not talk when all around you is noisy.

Methods of Treatment Should Be Avoided

There are a number of alternative treatment methods that are considered to cope with autism, but, their effectiveness has not been proven at all, and even potentially dangerous. Alternative medicine methods that should be avoided are:
  • Special diets, such as gluten-free foods.
  • Chelation therapy, which pengguanaan drugs or certain substances to eliminate the metallic substances (especially mercury) from the body.
  • Hyperbaric oxygen therapy which uses oxygen in the high pressure air space.
  • Therapeutic neurofeedback, in which the patient will see his brain waves through the monitor and taught how to change it.


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