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Autism: Seeing the World from a Different Angle

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Autism: Seeing the World from a Different Angle

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Autism, commonly known as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), is a complex, chronic illness that causes issues with behavior and communication.

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iCliniq medical review team

Published At March 26, 2018
Reviewed AtApril 2, 2024

What Is Autism?

Autism is a group of similar conditions that affect communication, interaction, behavior, language skills, and development. It is now referred to as autism spectrum disorder due to the broad range of symptoms and variations in its severity. That is, it may be so mild that the child can go well into adulthood without being diagnosed, as well so severe that it may be disabling. It could be a serious developmental disorder. The symptoms may have a low influence when they are treated early.

What Are the Risk Factors?

A single factor does not cause ASD. Numerous variables, including environmental, biological, and genetic ones, have been linked to an increased risk of ASD in children. The research that is now available indicates that the following factors may increase a child's likelihood of having ASD:

Genetic Factors:

It is not a single gene, but multiple genes that are involved. The most common genetic factors are:

  • It can be linked to a genetic brain disorder.

  • In some cases, a genetic mutation may be the cause.

  • There are some other genes that affect brain development in children.

Environmental Factors:

The commonly involved environmental factors are:

  • Being born severely preterm.

  • Advanced parental age.

  • Infection in mother during pregnancy.

  • Exposure to drugs, toxins, and pollutants during early childhood or of the mother during pregnancy.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Autism?

  • Slow development of brain, speech, and other related behaviors.

  • Delayed and slurred speech.

  • The patient does not make proper eye contact.

  • Facial expressions can be plain and unexplanatory.

  • Lower awareness of one’s feelings and the feelings of others.

  • May resist cuddling and physical touch.

  • Prefers to play alone due to poor social interaction and well-being.

  • Pursues a single activity with great focus.

  • Repeated hand movements like hand flapping.

  • Sensitive to changes in schedule.

How Do Autism Patients Respond to Touch?

The patients with autism have a general aversion to touch. But their response to touch can be highly unpredictable.

  • A light touch can be unpleasant to them; it is more unpleasant when the touch gets deeper.

  • Unexpected touch, even from parents, siblings, or a loved one, could make them uncomfortable and obnoxious.

  • A new touch from any acquaintances or strangers, even if it is not meant to be comfortable or reassuring, is to some degree accepted by the patient.

What Are the Types of Autism?

The conditions that fall under the category of autism spectrum disorders include the following:

  • Asperger's Syndrome: On intelligence tests, kids with Asperger's syndrome typically receive average or above-average results. However, they could struggle with social skills and have a limited range of interests.

  • Autism Disorder: This is typically what people associate with the term autism. It impacts play, social relationships, and communication in children under three.

  • Childhood Disintegrative Disorder: After developing normally for at least two years, children with this disease lack either most or all of their social and communicative skills.

  • Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD): If the kid cannot be categorized into another group but exhibits some autistic behavior, such as deficits in interpersonal and communication abilities, the physician may use this phrase.

Does Autism Run in Families?

Since autism tends to run in families, a child's risk may be heightened by specific gene combinations. A person's chance of having autism might vary from 40% to 80%, depending on genetic variables. Combining one's genes, environment, parents' ages, and birth difficulties will determine the overall risk. Approximately two percent to four percent of cases of autism are probably the result of a single unusual gene mutation or chromosomal abnormality. Numerous genes linked to autism are associated with brain development. This could be the reason why communication, cognitive, or socialization problems are common among those with autism.

How Can It Be Diagnosed?

Diagnosing autism very early is difficult, as a delay in achieving milestones is the only notable symptom early on. This is especially hard for those not specifically trained to detect it. Unfortunately, this may cause a delay in parents seeking therapy and initiating intervention. There are no specific blood or imaging tests to diagnose ASD. Doctors use a specific evaluation model that includes questions and tasks. Doctors might take help from the Diagnosis and Statistical Manual Book (DSM).

Behavior Changes in Autism Patients:

  • Repetitive movement is a common indication that they are upset or insecure.

  • Prefers sticking to a routine and gets distressed and upset if there is a minor change.

  • Have stiff body language and plain facial expressions.

  • Difficulty in body balance and coordination.

  • Highly sensitive to loud noises, some specific smells, and bright lights.

  • It could be less sensitive to pain and temperature.

  • Over-attention and focus on certain objects or activities.

  • Very specific about the taste and texture of the food.

What Are the Treatment Options?

As previously mentioned, each individual with autism has unique challenges, and so their requirements are much more varied. The child will need complete emotional, physical, and tender care from the parents. Parents must stay motivated throughout their lives to engage their kids properly. It is essential to customize the treatment to suit their personal needs. Treatment involves therapy and medicines that help improve their communication skills and overall development.

  • Behavior therapy.

  • Communication therapy.

  • Social skills classes.

  • Education therapy.

  • Family therapy.

  • Speech therapy.

  • Occupational therapy.

  • Physical therapy.

Occupational therapy will focus on the stimulation of sensorimotor functions. Enhancing these functions will enable the person to improve their overall mental health.


Medications may be prescribed by the psychiatrist to treat individual symptoms the child or person experiences. Medications may be required only during the crisis period. It is recommended to depend on medications only some of the time.

Sadly, awareness regarding this disorder is very low, even among the medical and paramedical fraternity. This causes a delay in diagnosis and initiation of treatment. There have been numerous cases of misdiagnosis with a similar mental health disorder as well. For this reason, understanding by the family and the public is crucial.

When to Visit a Physician?

Infants grow at their own rate, and many do not adhere to the precise schedules in some parenting guides. However, before the age of two, children with autism spectrum disorders typically exhibit some indicators of impaired development. Talk to a physician if worried about the child's development or think they might have autism spectrum disorder. Other developmental problems may be linked to the symptoms of this illness.


The main objective of autism therapy is to lessen symptoms affecting everyday activities and living standards. Since autism affects each individual differently, each person with autism has different abilities and obstacles, as well as different treatment needs. Individualized treatment plans are typically customized and entail several professionals.

Frequently Asked Questions


What Are the Important Characteristics of Autism?

- Autism children have difficulty understanding any type of non-verbal communication.
- They have difficulty understanding appropriately in social interactions.
- Trouble developing, understanding and maintaining relationships with others.
- Problems with social interaction with others.
- They have an unusual interest in common objects.


What Are the Causes of Autism?

There are multiple causes of autism.
- Having a close family member with autism.
- Mother, whose age is more and that mother giving birth to a baby.
- Few genetic mutations.
- Imbalance in metabolism.
- Viral infections.
- Certain medications.


What Are the Behaviors of Autism?

The behaviors of autism patients will be restricted and repetitive.
- Repetitive movements of the body (e.g. spinning, rocking, and flapping).
- Compulsively staring at lights.
- Organized and perfectionist behaviors (e.g. arranging the objects in an order).


Can Autism Be Treated Permanently?

Behavioral therapies are known to improve mental health conditions. There is no specific medication identified for autism. But some medications are known to help with symptoms like depression, insomnia, and seizures. When therapy is known to be combined with the medication, the results are most effective.


At What Age Can Autism Be Noticed?

The behavioral symptoms appear early in the stage of development. Most of the children are known to show the symptoms by 12 months, or by 18 months maximum. ​Developmental disturbances can be seen in babies. They lack social and language skills.


How Do Children Get Autism?

Some studies show that autism develops from various genetic and nongenetic causes. The etiology might be environmental reasons also. The risk of this disorder depends on the cause. Viral infections to the mother during pregnancy might also result in autism.


What Is Mild Autism?

Patients with milder grades (level 1) of autism may not require much support. These patients have noticeable issues with communication skills. They have difficulty understanding the emotions of others. The lower the degree, the less support someone may need. The patients with level 2 or 3 autism might face moderate to severe symptoms and require additional support.


What Is High Functioning Autism?

Though many kids with autism lead a normal life, a patient with severe grade is known as an autistic child with high functioning autism. These patients might never learn to speak clearly or make eye contact. But the word “High-functioning autism” is not a proper medical term for diagnosis


How Do I Know If My Child Has ADHD?

There are few signs which are indicative of ADHD in children. Parents should look for these signs in children.
- Self-focused behavior.
- Interrupting others when they are speaking to others.
- Absence of focus.
- Emotional instability having temper tantrums.
- Fidgeting around all the time.
- Problems remaining quiet.
- Daydreaming.
- Forgetfulness.
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Dr. Vasantha. K. S
Dr. Vasantha. K. S



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