Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neuro-developmental issue that is characterized by lack of or difficulty in communication, speech delay, poor eye contact, and repetitive behavior, which require early intervention so that affected children may reach their full potential as productive members of society.
Talking to media person here on Sunday, Natural Play Therapy Coach and Pediatrician Dr. Shagufta said that Signs of ASD can vary from child to child and no two children on the Autism spectrum are alike. She said Autism could be diagnosed by using different assessment tools like DSM V, cars, ADOS by a psychologist.
She said that repetitive behaviors such as hand flapping, jumping up and down, running around and not responding to their name were also common among individuals with autism. She stated that some children present with signs of ASD as early as 1 year old, others might not be diagnosed until their teenage years or adulthood. It is important to know that ASD can exist alone or as part of another genetic syndrome like Down’s syndrome and Fragile X syndrome which can also occur as a result of brain damage secondary to meningitis and cerebral palsy, she maintained.
Dr. Shagufta stated that early intervention was key in improving outcomes for children with ASD, and there were various interventions available, including behavior therapy and play therapy. Play therapy can improve social and emotional skills of affected individuals along with helping them to think in different ways, she said adding that the therapy expands the ways they play with toys and relate to other people. She said that autism is not a one-man show and it needs a multidisciplinary team of therapists and family members. “The effort put in by the therapists, parents, and the way the child responds to his team can determine the level of support and services needed by the child in the future” she added. She highlighted that the level of support required for individuals on the autism spectrum varies, depending on the individuals needs.—APP