Social acceptance helps reduce impact of autism, say experts

Early signs of autism can often be detected in children when they are as young as two-three years. That is why experts advise that treatment begin as soon as possible for improved outcomes.

Experts also say that children with autism need social acceptance to help reduce impact of the disorder. Autism, or autism spectrum disorder, refers to a range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviours, and speech and non-verbal communication.

Autism is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

Experts say that the biggest challenge with autism is that patients need social acceptance and intervention at an early stage. They say that if a child does not make eye contact while speaking or does not respond to being called by name or to gestures, a doctor needs to be consulted immediately.

Modern-day lifestyle has taken away the experience of togetherness from families. There is a disconnect from the circle of security which a child wants. When given various therapeutic activities to improve participation in school and better interaction with family and friends, the child can be made to feel secure and independent.

Experts also recommend reducing screen time, which is use of electronic devices such as TV, mobile, and tablets. Instead the child should be given toys, books, and interactive home-based situations.

A new phenomenon called virtual autism has also been identified where children who are given more exposure to screen time are prone to develop autism-like symptoms. These signs are reversed when the use of such devices is stopped.

Once autism is diagnosed, a multi-level approach with behavioural interventions, sensory stimulation, speech therapy, and occupational therapy are needed to deal with the disorder.

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