World Autism Day

April 2nd was World Autism Day; a day set aside for the global sensitization on the condition and a call to appreciate persons who suffer from it.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurological disorder which affects communication, behavioral patterns and stalls the development of a child.

The United Nations instituted the World Autism day to be recognized all over the world as they encourage member nations to give concern to children who battle with the neuro-disorder.

Autism is not a newly discovered health condition. It has always been there but perhaps not everyone was aware/is of it. Most people who know about it most probably have had a loved one diagnosed with the disorder.

Autism patients battle with high sensory stimulation. It is a social development disorder which affects the cognitive, communicative and interactive ability of the brain.

Medical researches into the condition suggests that the disorder may be as a result of abnormalities in parts of the brain which interpret sensory input and process language.

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In 2013, The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) grouped a number of autism-related conditions into one single diagnosis called Autism Spectrum Disorder.

ASD comprise of conditions like autism, pervasive developmental disorder(PDD), and the Asperger’s syndrome.

Asperger syndrome used to be a condition on its own. It is a mental disorder and a “high-functioning” type of ASD.

So far the causes of ASD has not been ascertained.

For autism however researchers have found that certain genes from the parents may predispose the child to autism. If either the mother and father of the child is advanced in age, the child has an increased chance of being autistic.

Autism transitions to adulthood but if detected early, could be managed to a better degree as the child grows.

Boys are more likely to be autistic than girls. The condition transcends race, social status and lifestyle. Medical experts advise parents to take children for regular medical checks at the hospital to see if there are signs of developmental delays or unusual tendencies.

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A series of tests are carried out on the child to know if there are signs of autism which comes with different symptoms.

Signs of Autism show from the first three years. In some cases it shows as soon as the child is born.

WebMD Medical Reference says other risk factors include “maternal metabolic conditions such as diabetes and obesity”, use of alcohol and antiseizure drugs during pregnancy. 

“In some cases, autism has been linked to untreated phenylketonuria (called PKU, an inborn metabolic disorder caused by the absence of an enzyme) and rubella (German measles).”

Autism comes with cognitive impairments but on the other hand, autistic patients are greatly intelligent persons.

They may have communication disorders but they have an astounding non-verbal intelligence. Their brilliance is often seen in areas like drawing, music, solving math problems, or memorizing facts.

Autistic persons require a lot of care, support and attention from family members, teachers, care givers and pretty much everyone who come their way. Thus a reason why the UN has mapped out the World Autism day.