Autism is a functional impairment that affects the central nervous system and which, among other things, causes difficulties with social interaction and communication. There are different degrees of autism and therefore the symptoms may be more or less clear. Behavioral therapy can help to strengthen certain skills and reduce problem behaviors.
Autism spectrum is a collective name for various disabilities. These include autism, Asperger’s syndrome, atypical autism and disintegrative disorder. Most people with autism have average skills, but all skill levels exist – from intellectual disabilities, to special talents or ‘genius’.
Autism manifests in different ways in different individuals, depending on their skills, language, development and age.
In young children, difficulties with connection, disinterest in the environment and late language development can sometimes be signs of autism.
Adults usually have clear difficulties in mainly three areas: social interaction, communication and repeated and limited patterns in behaviors, interests and activities.
Autism can vary in severity, and therefore its symptoms can also be different.
Social interaction – common symptoms:
- not taking any initiatives for interaction
- avoiding eye contact
- being uninterested in surroundings
- being unaware of the feelings of others.
Communication – common symptoms:
- late language development
- difficulty reading between the lines
- difficulty initiating or maintaining talks
- mimicking words and sentences
- difficulty understanding facial expressions, tone of voice, or reading body language
- speech has an abnormal tone or rhythm.
Behavior – common symptoms:
- having specific habits
- being disturbed if habits change
- self-harming behaviors
- being fixed on limited interests
- being hyperactive
- repeating movements, like rocking back and forth with the body.
Autism is a disorder that is either congenital or manifests itself before the age of three. The causes of autism are not entirely clear, but there are strong hereditary factors. Studies show that even infections, some drug treatments and environmental toxins can pose an increased risk of developing autism during pregnancy. High age of parents also seems to increase the likelihood.
Autism is treated by doctors and psychologists. Sometimes other specialists can also participate, such as speech therapists and physiotherapists. The treatment consists of training certain skills and managing and preventing problem behaviors with the help of behavioral therapy. In some cases, medications may be prescribed, after individual assessment by doctors or psychiatrists.
An understanding and adapted environment is important to strengthen positive development.
When to consult a doctor
If you or your child has problems that appear to be consistent with the symptoms of autism, you should contact your health care provider for further investigation.
How APPOTEK can help
If you or your relatives need advice and information about autism, APPOTEK can help you. A doctor or psychologist will make an individual assessment based on the symptoms during the care meeting. You may then be prescribed treatment or referred for further treatment. We can also offer continuous follow-up and visits to psychologists and doctors.
To detect and treat autism, a physical examination is required in combination with a psychiatric investigation.