Autism is a sort of disability which can be detected in childhood. Diagnosis of autism requires a lengthy and sometimes complicated procedure. It includes some psychological tests also. Usually on an average, autism is diagnosed when the child is five and a half years old. Now, scientists have devised a simple, yet inexpensive test to diagnose autism in children even at the young age of two years.
It is found that two in every one thousand children are affected by autism. It is referred to as a complex developmental disability. There may be variation of symptoms in different children. The symptoms commonly observed are absence of social interaction, difficulty in communication with others, repeating of action etc.
An affected person likes to stick to a set of behaviors. He resists changes in daily activities. It is noticed that if the person knows about the changes to be introduced in advance, his resistance to such changes will be minimum.
Autism is known to be a wide spectrum disorder and because of that, no two affected persons will have the same symptoms. The symptoms generally found in autistic people are given below.
Inability in socializing
Social skills of autistic persons are very poor. They show no interest in others. Offensive action is also not uncommon. They are reluctant to make eye contact. They may show interest in talking to a particular person or a group.
Inability to Understand Others’ Feelings
It is very difficult for an autistic person to understand the feeling of others. This ability can be improved by reminding them frequently.
Difficulty with Loud Noises etc.
Sudden loud noises, sudden increase in the intensity of light etc. are found to be producing discomfort in autistic persons.
Speaking skills are very much affected by autism. Many of the affected do not speak at all.
People affected by autism prefer routine and predictability in behavior. Repeating the same movement and the same course of action are quite common.
Normal children develop their skills in many areas, while an autistic child may be able to acquire skill in one area. For example, a child with autism may become a good singer or he may acquire a vast vocabulary much better than other children.
It cannot be predicted as to how fast an autistic child can learn. He may learn certain things faster than others.
Physical movements of an autistic person can be jerky. He may also have tics.
A New Test for Early Detection of Autism
Generally, the average age at which autism is detected in children is five and a half years. Now, a team at Boston Children’s Hospital has devised a new method for detecting it as early as at the age of two years. It uses the EEG scalp scanning equipment for diagnosing autism. This equipment is here for decades and is widely used everywhere in the diagnosis of epilepsy.
The researchers performed experiment on one thousand children aged from two to twelve years and got results with almost 90% accuracy. They say that the test is suitable for use in poor countries also, where there is inadequacy in the number of specialist staff to make definitive diagnosis.
An early detection of autism will definitely improve the affected person’s quality of life. Hope that the new test gets widely accepted.
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