How to help your loved ones live with autism
Autism is disorder of the brain associated with developmental problems in social interaction and communication. The first signs of autism generally appear before the age of 3, and affect anywhere between 3 and 6 out of every 1000 children.
Autism can range from mild to severe, and although the cause is unclear and there is currently no cure, treatment plans exist that can help people with autism learn to function within their limitations and live a meaningful life. The best way to help loved ones with autism is to understand the condition and to work with them in coping.
Autism affects three main aspects of a child's development: language, social skills and behavior. A complete inability to interact with other people accompanies extreme cases of autism, while mild symptoms can include only slight problems in each of the three key areas. The following is a list of some of the symptoms associated with autism.
- Delayed development of speech
- Abnormal voice modulation
- Inability to maintain a conversation
- Poor eye contact
- Short attention span
- Insensitive to the feelings of others
- Repetitive movements
- Aversion to changes in routines
- Sensitivity to touch, light and sound
Intensive treatment from an early age can make a tremendous difference in the quality of life of those suffering from autism. Intensive treatment and education programs tailored to each individual case can drastically improve the symptoms of autism and put children on a better footing to function with their disability. Children with autism usually thrive in highly structured educational environments.
Though no drugs currently exist that directly improve the fundamental symptoms of autism, some medications can have beneficial effects on particularly troublesome issues, such as anti-psychotics that help control aggressive or repetitive behavior, and stimulants that help control hyperactivity.
One of the most important things for autism sufferers is to have the support and love of a close group of people. Since people with autism often function best under very specific conditions, it is of the utmost importance that the people they are surrounded with are compassionate and understanding of their limitations.