Have you ever had the chance to Google, Autism Spectrum Disorder lately? Thankfully one will find an enormous amount of information on this subject. However in this article we will highlight three main takeaways that will help you understand the “meat-and-potatoes” of this disorder. First though, it is important to state from the start to the families who have a child diagnosed within the Autism Spectrum Disorder, you are not alone!
what is Autism, and when would I first notice signs that something may be wrong (wrong? more on this later) with my child?
According to a review on Autism done by the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Chicago in conjunction with the Center for Neuroscience at the University of California-Davis, Autism is a syndrome that effects the development of neurons in the brain and demonstrates itself by the child not knowing how to reciprocate social ques and communication. Also, seemingly unusual behavior and behaviors done over and over again are common. This should first be evident while the child is an infant, and definitely before the age of three. Notice some examples of this in real life. According to the same study, young children affected by autism often do not look for others when happy, call their parents name, or point to objects they find interesting. In time, the child may spend a great deal of time spinning objects while looking at it in the corner of their eye. The behavior of a child may change over time but these are the first things many notice in their child early on.
What approach will work best for my child to grow socially and cognitively?
Data shows that thorough and comprehensive, developmentally-appropriate education focusing on functional communication, as well behavior management and family support is the way to go currently. Medications such as risperidone have seen some advancement as well.
Lessons from cross-cultural views on Autism.
Anthropologist and father of a teenage autistic daughter, Roy Richard Grinker who is a professor at George Washington University in Washington D.C. adds an interesting thought on our perspective of our Autistic children. In an interview with Arthur Allen he states, “In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, people on the autism spectrum are often recognized for having great skills. Either because they are seen as much more in touch with the spirit world, or they are recognized for their skill at, say, knowing what every plant is for. Similarly, the Navajo view a person with autism more as someone who never became an adult than someone disordered. They talk about autism as perpetual childhood. In Senegal, some societies call autistics “marvelous children.” Perhaps our view of our children diagnosed on the autism scale can adjust a little, as we continue to learn of ways to help them attain all that they are destined to be.