Autism is a complex developmental disability that impacts a person’s communication, relationships, self-regulation, and social skills. It generally appears in early childhood and lasts a lifetime. A single cause of autism is yet to be identified, and since it is a “spectrum condition”, it affects different people to different extents. Children with autism are either nonverbal or have atypical speech patterns and find it difficult to decipher non-verbal communication. Although the signs of autism appear early in life, they may not fully manifest until the demands for communication exceed the affected person’s capacity.
Autism is usually diagnosed by the pediatrician who analyzes the developmental milestones. An early diagnosis can help improve the quality of life of autistic people by the provision of timely support and services. Although autism is not curable per se, certain interventions can significantly improve the patient’s functioning. These include:
- Social skills training
- Occupational therapy
- Parent management training
- Speech and language therapy
- Special education services
- Medication to treat co-morbid impulsiveness, depression, or anxiety