Today April 2 marks the world day of autism awareness, a commemoration established by the Assembly of the United Nations (UN) in 2007. We have often spoken of disorders Autism spectrum (TAE) and today in this special date we want again to them, because a better understanding of them, their features, their needs, can be a greater integration of people who suffer from it.
Group’s study of the disorders Autism of the Institute of health Carlos III drew up a “resource guide for families with young children with autistic spectrum disorders”, in which is intended to give an overview and guide families to the bodies responsible for each section (health, education, social services…) and which can achieve a much more detailed information.
In addition, the reader is introduced to the concept of (TAE) autism spectrum disorders and lists these 15 FAQs that are parents, relatives or teachers of children with autism and we believe important to reach out to all the disorder, to understand it better and ensure that they are treated and integrated.
1 is the same talk about autism, General disorders of development or the autism spectrum disorders?
Many times the term ‘autism’ is used to refer to different subtypes of substance-related disorders. There are, however, who used it to refer exclusively to classic autism, called ‘Kanner autism’. The international classifications used the term pervasive developmental disorders (PDD) that include autistic disorder, Asperger’s syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, generalized unspecified development disorder, and disorder, disorder or Rett syndrome. Today, the term autism spectrum disorders (ASD) has been used to encompass the different subtypes in the PDD, Rett syndrome except. In this document of the Group of study of the disorders Autism of the Institute of health Carlos III is used the term autism to include all PDD or the TEA.
2 How is autism diagnosed?
Autism is a disorder of childhood development, manifested in the first three years of life, and is characterized by some specific alterations in the normal development of competencies to engage, communicate or behave like others. Currently, there are no specific medical test for its diagnosis, and this is based on the observation and assessment of the behavior of the child, being necessary to conform to the diagnostic criteria agreed internationally. There are structured tests that have proved reliable to help in this process.
3. What are the most common symptoms of autism in toddlers?
Not all children have all the symptoms described as classics. Around two years of life, more frequent and significant autism symptoms are lack of a normal look in the eyes; do not share interest or pleasure with others; lack of response to be called by your name; not “take and show” things to others, and not pointing the index finger to show.
4. What are the characteristic symptoms of autism?
- Qualitative alterations of socialization and social interaction. This is the main symptom. They are people who do not understand social norms and have difficulties to share the emotional world. Not well appreciate the intentions of the other, and it is very complex to establish friendships.
- Qualitative alterations of communication and language. A significant percentage of people with autism do not develop speech. Those who do it have a peculiar speech, failing especially in the social use of the language. In addition, the use of gestures, postures and facial expressions accompanying the communication is very poor.
- Alterations of symbolization and imagination. People with autism have restrictive, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests and activities in general. They do not share their interests with others in a reciprocal way; they can present routines or rituals, have repetitive and lack of imaginative play.
5. How have people with autism limited intellectual ability?
A significant percentage of people with autism have in addition intellectual disability (mental retardation). The degree of disability affects the prognosis. They may exist, in some isolated areas of strong competition.
6. What are the differences between Asperger’s disorder, autistic disorder, and the so-called “high level of functioning” person with autism?
Unlike the autistic disorder, disorder of Asperger’s, according to the applicable criteria, a delay is not in the acquisition of speech and his IQ is in normal ranges. However, there are experts who suggest reviewing the criteria of normality of language development, which would appear not to be met in all cases of Asperger’s disorder. On the other hand, the term ‘high level of operation’ not referred to in the international classifications, so that its use is not recommended.
7. what autism is associated with other disorders?
Autism may be associated with any other disorder or developmental disorder. In fact, there are diseases that occur more frequently in people with autism (epilepsy, fragile X, tuberous sclerosis…), as well as other mental disorders (anxiety, depression, obsessions, sleep disturbances), which require specific diagnosis and treatment.
8 how often does autism?
Currently, it is documented that autism is more frequent than previously thought. Recent studies indicate that at least one of every 250 children in school age has a spectrum disorder, affecting three to four times more men than women.
9. What are the causes of autism?
Autism is the result of structural or functional abnormalities of the brain of a person who suffers from it, and is considered the more “genetic” of childhood neuropsychiatric disorders. There is a presence of autism, or near disorders features, higher than expected by chance in the families of those affected. Current research suggests that autism more than 15 genes are involved. Numerous approaches to environmental factors suggested as causative agents of autism have not yet documented scientific confirmation and some of them, like the harmfulness of vaccines, already have been rejected by the research.
10. are there tests to detect and diagnose autism?
The study group has developed two guides who respond to this question in detail and you can download in pdf format. the links that follow. It’s the “guide of good practice for the early detection of autism spectrum disorders” and “Guide of good practice for the diagnosis of autistic spectrum disorders”.
11. What are the disorders that must be a differential diagnosis?
It is important to assess whether autism is associated or not to an intellectual disability. Also you should have the differential diagnosis with the serious developmental disorders of language (dysphasias), in which the symptoms may initially coincide, so the diagnostic sign in these cases should be delayed until know the response to treatment. Also, it has been suggested the need to assess the existence or not of other psychiatric pictures (childhood-onset schizophrenia, schizoid personality disorder…).
12 How is autism treated?
Currently, there is an international consensus that education and social support are the main means of treatment, and that they are more effective and favor a better prognosis much earlier is its introduction. The majority of children with autism respond favorably to custom and highly structured, educational programs that they should be kept when you reach adulthood. The parental involvement has been identified as a key factor for success. Family and professionals specialized in treatments, must coordinate in determining the objectives and support systems. The study group has developed a guide on the treatment which is accessible from this link.
13. is there a medication for autism?
There is currently no specific pharmacological treatment of autism. However, there are medications that can be useful to improve certain symptoms or concurrent disorders and therefore facilitate participation in psychosocial treatments, and improve their quality of life. It is especially important, given the characteristics of these persons, administering the drugs carefully, rigorously controlling their positive and negative effects.
14. what guarantees offer alternative therapies?
Too often, we propose to treat controversial therapies, and even cure, autism, while its therapeutic efficacy has been demonstrated with controlled scientific studies. Among them, different diets, intravenous SECRETIN, vitamins and nutrients, auditory integration training, use of animals, the forced hug therapy, immunotherapy… It can not mislead parents and it should be noted that some of these proposals not only therapies are ineffective, but it can be harmful.
15. does what prognosis autism? Can you help these people?
Although, at present, autism has no cure, that we can improve their quality of life thanks to the diagnosis and treatment early, an environment with appropriate community resources and a social support network. There are individual factors that improve the prognosis are: a normal level of intelligence, functional language before the age of six, absence of documented brain disorders and other disorders.