AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER
Autism Spectrum Disorder or Autism as popularly known, is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by difficulties with speech and language (communication), social skills and interaction and repetitive behaviors. It is a lifelong disorder without any cure presently, but with treatments & Services autism is managed to improve a person’s quality of life. 1 in every 60 (1.6%) children in Nigeria is affected by Autism and boys are mostly affected by this disorder than girls. Before 3 years of age, toddlers in the autism spectrum show clear problems in Social Communication.
Autism spectrum disorder requires early detections to enable prompt intervention, allows parents make adequate planning for future school placements and community support.
Autism is caused by a number of Factors:
- Genetic factors
- Maternal age older than 40 years
- Paternal age older than 40 years
- Threatened abortion at less than 20 weeks
- Low birth weight (2.5kg)
- Presence of birth deficit
- Environmental Factors: environmental toxins
Restrictive interest, repetitive pattern of behavior, difficulty with communication and interactions with people are peculiar with Autistic kids, however some of the red flags of ASD in the 2nd year of life are:
- Lack of showing
- Lack of sharing interest
- Lack of coordination of non-verbal communication
- Repetitive movement with objects
- Lack of appropriate gaze
- Lack of response to name
- Lack of warm, joyful expression
- Unusual prosody
- Lack of pointing
- Lack of play with variety of toys.
Parents with autistic kids need training on how to help children with Autism maximize their skills. We need to use Assistive Technology through Active Participation for individuals with Autism.