Autism is a neurodevelopment disorder characterized by repetitive behaviors, classic focal attention, and social withdrawal, difficulties in communication and interaction with others. The conditions are generally marked by difficulties in relating with others. Few people showed vast knowledge in autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in the past 10 to 20 years. However, studies in the autism spectrums have increased the understanding of the spectrums as well as the support and empathy to the patients. The processing of the world and view of things in children with ASD turns out different from other children (Moskowitz et al., 2017). Various behaviors are exhibited along the autism spectrum that makes it harder for the child to comprehend. Auditory processing, verbal communication, and speaking are affected by ASD. Autistic children are nonresponsive to the reaction, delay in verbalizing, difficulty in socializing, show self-soothing behavior, lack imitation, may lack interest in people and may exhibit trouble in identifying their names. Just as the word spectrum implies, autism highlights aa wide range of symptoms, functional disability, and skills. According to the provision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) disorders such as Asperger Syndrome, pervasive development disorder and childhood disintegrative disorder form part of ASD and are not presented as separate disorders.
The common signs in children with ASD include an intense focus on objects. Children with ASD show repetitive movements as well as manipulating objects. Sensory sensitivity and repetitive motor movements characterized by circumscribed interests causes increased attention and focus on objects (Moskowitz et al., 2017). Special interest in certain topics increases attention in the subject matter and consequently impact on the development of certain social skills such as communication. However, the communication is limited to the subject matter, and children may exhibit a repetitive emphasis on the topic moments after. Repetitive behavior is used as a key determinant of autism spectrum disorder in children aged 2 years but is best predicts autism at the age of 9.
In addition to developing a focus on particular topics, autistic children indicate a narrow focus that develops a more accurate approach and measures to repetitive interests and behavior. Autistic children tend to engage repetitively a similar activity regular and attentively mastering the same art over a longer period of time. Autistic children thrive well in routines and show well mastery of daily schedules and patterns such as airplane and train schedules. They are preoccupied with objects and focus on things like the toy truck wheels. Repetitive motor movements are experienced in children with ASD which results in movements such as hand flapping. These movements are associated with low cognitive function as well as other restricted higher order behaviors.
Social impairment along with communication difficulties are prevalent in ASD affected children. The mutual nature of giving and take in communication and interaction stand out challenging. In most cases, children with ASD may fail to respond to their names, maintain eye contact and interact specifically with certain people and is mainly to achieve specific goals (NINDS., 2018). Understanding how to play and engage with others prove difficult and therefore lead to them withdrawing from others. Additionally, understanding other children's feelings is difficult as well as sharing their own feelings (Moskowitz et al., 2017). Lack of emotional connection with others increases the chances for withdrawal in these children.
Verbal abilities are affected with other children showing lack of speech while others exhibit high fluency in a speech which may be inappropriate and awkward (NINDS., 2018). Repetition of phrases and giving of unrelated answers to questions is observed in most children with speaking difficulties. Children with ASD face difficulties in using non-verbal cues. For instance, they may not wave back when one waves at them. However, this is because they do not understand what it means by waving. Use of gestures, body language and tonal variations in talking may not be handy in addressing affected children (NINDS., 2018). Speaking may show stints of flat, robotic voice while the children may not show interests in the other person. Sleeping time and bath time are stressful in the lives of autistic children. They resent bathtubs and slight things such as hair in the water increases fear in the children struggling with their parents during bathing (Reynolds et al., 2017). On the other hand, autistic children face a hard time sleeping on their own. In that light, they may indicate fear of dark or light and being left alone results to tantrums (Reynolds et al., 2017). However, sleeping with their parents decreases the fear and allows them to sleep.
The tantrums and outbursts associated with children with ASD are associated with fatigue, exposure to the new environment, change in routine and pattern of objects. Tantrums are handled with time outs from the activity they are undertaking. Additionally, children are taught that tantrums are unaccepted behavior. This increases rage in anxiety, panic, and fear. Self-harming behavior may be experienced such as hitting of the head, biting, pinching, and hitting others. This due to anxiety, and rage which may reflect into aggression. This calls for ignorance on the tantrums and teaches the child how to handle the anger as well as frustration. The main focus should be identifying the causes for the fear, rage, and aggression. Identifying the cause can help a parent act before the effects get out of control (NINDS., 2018). Most autistic children rely on ritual and structure with the structure giving a particular pattern used in defining the world in terms of explanations and set rules. This helps the children to function effectively. Autistic children find their own method of understanding the world and any disruption of their method leads to panic, fear and may lead to rage and aggression. Learning their way of operation increases their participation in daily activities and improves their overall performance.
Moskowitz, L. J., Walsh, C. E., Mulder, E., McLaughlin, D. M., Hajcak, G., Carr, E. G., & Zarcone, J. R. (2017). Intervention for anxiety and problem behavior in children with autism spectrum disorder and intellectual disability. Journal of autism and developmental disorders, 47(12), 3930-3948.
NINDS. (2018). Autism Spectrum Disorder Fact Sheet | National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Retrieved from https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Fact-Sheets/Autism-Spectrum-Disorder-Fact-Sheet
Reynolds, K. C., Patriquin, M., Alfano, C. A., Loveland, K. A., & Pearson, D. A. (2017). Parent-reported problematic sleep behaviors in children with comorbid autism spectrum disorder and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Research in autism spectrum disorders, 39, 20-32.
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