By Euphamia Esiawonam Adzrah
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) popularly known Autism is a developmental disability caused by differences in the brain.Autism is believed to affect one in 68 children globally. ASD used to be called Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD).
These terms mean the same thing. study also suggests one in 87 children under the game of three in Ghana is autistic. According to diagnostic and statistical Manual Mental Disorders(DSM-5) a guideline created to diagnose mental disorders, people with ASD have; difficulty with Communication and interaction with other people, Restricted interests and repetitive behaviors and Symptoms that affect the person’s ability to function in school, work and other areas of life. Autism is known as a “spectrum” disorder because it affects every child differently.
Here in Ghana, autism is a very serious problem which needs more attention, especially when it’s related to children. A lot of stigma is associated with autistic children. Even some parents have kept their children in the room no to be mocked at by other parents and also to shy away from people. The best way to go about such issues is to educate parents with autistic children on how to interact with their children and how to care and understand them. Also, there are schools specially made for them which seeks to educateautistic children here in Ghana to support in their interaction with society. Meanwhile, teachers are advices to give these children a special care and education.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF ASD
Note all people with ASD, will have all behaviors, but most will have several of the behaviors listed.
Limited use of gestures such as giving, showing, waving, clapping, pointing, or nodding their head.
Uses another person’s hand as a tool (e.g., putting a parents hand on a jar for them to open the lid).
Repeating certain behaviors or having unusual behaviors, such as repeating words or phrases (a behavior called echolalia)
Being more sensitive or less sensitive than other people to sensory input, such as light, noise, clothing, or temperature.
Although, people with ASD experience many challenges, they may also have many strengths, including:
⊲Being able to learn things in detail and remember information for long periods of time.
⊲ Being strong visual and auditory learners. ⊲ Excelling in math, science, music, or art.
CAUSES AND RISK FACTORS OF ASD.
Although the precise causes of ASD are unknown, research indicate that genes and environmental factors may interact to influence development in ways that result in ASD. Even though researchers are still attempting to figure out why some people get ASD and others don’t, there are several things you can do to raise your chances, like:
⊲ Having a sibling with ASD.
⊲ Having older parents.
⊲ Having certain genetic conditions (For example, people with conditions such as down syndrome, fragile X syndrome, and Rett syndrome are more likely than others to have ASD.)
⊲ Being born with a very low birth weight not everyone who has these risk factors develops ASD. Note that not everyone who has these risk factors develops ASD.
TREATMENTS FOR ASD.
A doctor may use medication to treat some symptoms that are common with ASD. With Medication, a person with ASD may have fewer problems with:
⊲ Irritability. ⊲ Aggression
⊲ Repetitive behavior. ⊲ Hyperactivity
⊲ Attention problem. ⊲ Anxiety and depression
Behavioral, Psychological, and Educational Therapy:
People with ASD may be referred to doctors who specialize in providing behavioral, psychological, educational, or skill-building interventions. These programs may help people with ASD;
⊲ Learn life skills necessary to live independently. ⊲ Reduce challenging behaviors.
⊲ Increase or build upon strengths. ⊲ Learn social, communication, and language skills.