Conversations about kids with autism – facts and disinformation in society
Kids with autism – what do you imagine when you hear this diagnosis? How do you think people with autism spectrum disorders look like?
Many scientists and doctors from around the world have found that “autism” is a mental disorder (childhood schizophrenia) that requires medical treatment and supervision. People have perceived children with autism as a mental illness for almost half a century (since 1940). Only at the end of the 20th century, scientists began to conduct more research and found out that this disorder has a genetic origin (biological features associated with mitochondrial dysfunction).
There are many myths associated with autism in kids and the real signs of autism in babies and to this day. A huge number of people believe that these are hopelessly sick children who should be socially isolated, but there are those who are far from the topic or have heard the term “autism child” a couple of times. We decided to clarify and answer briefly the main question – “What is autism in children?” and how they differ from other peers.
Characteristics of a child with autism – myths and realities
People with Down’s syndrome, the child with autism are not sick people (or mentally retarded), they are the same individuals as we are, and who have some features of development. They are not unhappy, not contagious and not dangerous for society, they don’t need hospital treatment. And now you will see it for yourself.
Autism signs in babies is a manifestation of the disease. Autists are sick people
This is a lie. Autism in kids is a development feature that can be manifested in relationships with other people, they can be associated with speech, remembering, and perception of information.
Autistic boys and girls behave strangely and often show aggression
This is a misconception. Such children may not behave like other kids and it may look strange from the outside. And this is due to the fact that they can’t tell in another way (words, requests) what they want and what they need at the moment. People confuse aggression with other manifestations of negative emotions or unwillingness.
Autism in children is a rare phenomenon
How many kids have autism? Representatives of the World Health Organization don’t agree with you and claim that this is a fairly common event. In every hundredth family a child with autism is born (such a child is born more often – 1 person out of 68 in America). Perhaps the data may be different in countries where autism spectrum disorders are less studied. Therefore, global statistics may differ from the advent of new data.
In addition, “sunny babies” (children with Down syndrome) or cerebral palsy are born less often than children with autism.
Autism kids are deferential individuals that don’t like human society
This is not quite true. These are children who don’t feel very comfortable in the presence of outsiders or communicate very rarely. They need communication and the presence of outsiders, they just can’t or don’t know how to properly express their thoughts, ideas, and desires.
Yes, it can be difficult, sometimes you need to find alternative ways to push such a child to interact.
All people with autistic disorders are genius
No, their intellectual and creative abilities can be quite different. Among the kids with autism, we can see individuals who can solve complex mathematical equations or numbering operations orally (in mind). There are other children who cannot remember or understand the rules of the game, which hinder and complicate the learning process and interaction with other children. In a word, such children are not similar to each other and we have no pretext to call them both smart and dumb guys.
Diagnosis of autism is a result of preventive vaccinations or a result of parental violence (or bad parenting)
This is absurd. The fact that autism spectrum disorder is a genetic failure has long been proven.
Moreover, scientists from Cambridge have conducted more than one study where they tried to establish the relationship between hormonal background (including endocrine system) and autism in children. The results showed that:
- boys are more likely to be born with this feature than girls;
- the hormone estradiol plays a key role in developing autism in children.
The main signs of autism in toddlers
As we mentioned above, autism in children is not related to violence or mental trauma. Only a qualified professional (a neurologist or psychologist who deals with autism in kids) can make this diagnosis.
We have collected the most basic signs that are characteristic and manifested in the behavior of children with autism in kids.
You may notice that your child has difficulties with social interaction or speech development
- The toddler doesn’t react when you say its name (call to eat or go for a walk in the store). It may have impaired visual contact (this means that it avoids, ignores your look, and doesn’t even look in your direction when you address him). This may occur in more severe cases.
- Such children often cannot express their request or say directly what they want. Instead, the child can simply guide you or push you towards the desired object.
- Another important indicator is “empathy” – the ability to empathize and sympathize. You can bump or cut yourself during the making of dinner, and your daughter or son will only look indifferently, not realizing that you are in pain at the moment.
- There are certain (approximate) norms of word count or speech proficiency for children of a particular age. If your child doesn’t speak 5 words before the age of 2.5 years, there is a reason to contact a specialist to find out the reasons. Also, children may sometimes just repeat sentences that are complex in meaning and structure but they will not understand their meaning (it is just mechanical reproduction). They can memorize them, repeat and pronounce them when it is not appropriate.
Movements that are repeated in a circle
Kids with autism can make strange movements for a long time, for example:
- Walk from one corner of the room to another like a prisoner;
- The child can wobble like a pendulum;
- Autistic children can simply stand in one place and spin around its axis or look at one point.
Children with autism have a poorly developed imagination
Games are a fictional reality where each player or participant must imagine the situation and connect its imagination to the task at hand. Games are the main activity through which children learn basic skills and gain new knowledge. Since they have a bad imagination, they often cannot play with their peers.
How to deal with an autistic child?
You must understand and be aware of the fact that children with autism don’t need medical help. This is not a disease that passes with the years when a child grows up. We are able to identify autism spectrum disorder as early as possible and work on the child’s socialization (adaptation). Remember that only a specialist can diagnose and make a training program or give recommendations.