To begin understanding Autism, or Autism Spectrum Disorder
(ASD) to give it its full name, it must be appreciated that it is a lifelong development condition. It can affect everything in varying degrees, from how an autistic person communicates with others and their peers, to how they interpret the world around them in terms of colours, light, smells, sounds, tastes and touch.
Understanding autism starts with knowing that people with ASD are often found to have other learning difficulties such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or attention deficit disorder (ADD), or anxiety. Approximately 50% of youngsters with autism will have learning difficulties of one degree or another, for example something referred to as global developmental delay (GDD).
How is Autism diagnosed?
Tests for Autism are carried out on young people when they reach or pass the age of two; but a diagnosis can be made at a later age, on teenagers. Recent research suggests that it may be possible to determine the presence of Autism in young people, as young as 4 months old, and special eye tracking technology can detect it in infants of only 2 months old.
However, in order to get a full diagnosis, the person must undergo a series of tests which they are normally capable of taking once they reach 2-years of age.
How common is Autism?
Statistically, autism is found more in males than females, although the reason for this is as yet unknown. But across the nation here in the UK, it is estimated that one in every one hundred people could be autistic. In understanding autism and its prevalence, we must first realise that this figure may be higher, because autism may be diagnosed in some people who have other developmental problems.
What are the symptoms of Autism?
People with ASD often exhibit repetitive hand motions. They may rock backwards and forwards and perform flicking movement with their fingers. In play they are often unimaginative and tend to do things in rather a measured fashion, such as lining their toys up and putting them in order as they see it.
Autistic people usually like to have an ordered routine, and if this gets disrupted they become agitated and anxious. This presents serious problems for parents both at home and out and about, where people with ASD interact with their peers.
Understanding autism treatment
We mentioned at the beginning to understanding autism, it is what is known as a spectrum disorder (ASD); meaning that it is difficult to predict how any specific person will develop. Some will be totally dependent, some partially dependent, and some may develop a degree of independence.
Whilst understanding autism has increased in recent years, there is no cure, although early diagnosis and the right professional treatment can improve how a person may develop.
Make any early appointment with your GP or call in at Broadgate GP Clinic London Wall
If you suspect that your someone you know may have ASD, you should see your GP at the earliest opportunity. If you live in London you can take advantage of the services we offer here at Broadgate GP Clinic London Wall. We operate a walk-in service, but with something like Autism, phoning ahead to ensure you have an appointment with the right doctor may minimise any waiting time.