Autism disorders, also known as autism spectrum disorders, cover wide ranges of disorders within it and these all are developmental disorders characterized by children poor communication and social interaction. In some disorder, there are speech problems while in some there is a motor deficit. These disorders usually arise in early age and they clearly express themselves. Most of the autistic disorders are due to some unknown causes. The children suffering from these disorder exhibit strange activities and movements. They found it difficult to interact with the people so they lag behind in social interaction. These result in various psychological problems in the children.
These disorders cover five major types or forms under it. These are
- Pervasive Developmental Disorder: This is characterized by children failure to communicate and interact. This disorder arises around the age of about two to three years. These children find the language difficult to understand so they do not interact verbally. They show movement disorders and many repeating movements.
- Childhood Disintegrative Disorder: In this disorder child is normal till 3-4 years of his age, then he suddenly develops delay in the developmental process. His milestones already achieved get lost and he becomes unable to walk or to talk properly. Important skills of social interaction and communication among these children are also lacking.
- Autism: This is one of its most commonly seen forms. Here children are rigid towards life, do not show interest in many things, his interest is limited to only a few things, do not talk properly. There is seen a constant and stereotype of behavior in these children such as strange movements by the hands. They tend to follow a rule and show resistance in doing some change.
- Asperger Syndrome: In this disorder problems in the communication and social interaction are also seen. They do have normal speech but they use it very strangely. These also show a limited range of interests in objects. Facial expressions are not well but poor. This disease is seen to run in the families. It is thought to result from genetic as well as various other factors. The children suffering from this disease have problems related to their sleep i.e. they find it difficult to fall asleep and also experience frequent waking. These children could not express themselves or problem related to them to their elders or to anyone.
- Rett’s Syndrome: In this disorder, there is a poor development of the gray matter which is found within the brain. This thing leads to a wide range of symptoms. These children suffer from fits, social withdrawal, panic attacks, problems in coordination and balance, speech loss, and many sensory problems and there may be found hypotonia and ataxia. This disease is due to mutation of gene MECP2.
The diagnosis of all forms of autism spectrum disorders is done on the basis of their various symptoms and complete history. MRI can be used to check any other brain abnormality. But there is no diagnostic test available.
This is mostly done by the use of certain therapies such as behavioral therapy, speech therapy or occupational therapy. These therapies enable the child to behave in a good way and to function independently. Other symptoms of the disorders are treated by the use of medication.