by Dr.Shokry Alemam, Specialist psychiatry
Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder affecting social communication, with repetitive patterns of behavior
- Inability of developing and maintaining relationships with others.
- Impaired nonverbal communicative behavior
- Poor eye contact
- Total lack of facial expressions or use of gestures
- Poor integrated verbal or nonverbal communication
- Impaired social and emotional reciprocity.
- Abnormal or failure of back and forth conversation
- Reduced sharing of interests
- Failure to initiate or respond to social interactions
Repetitive patterns of behavior:
- Repetitive motor movements/ use of objects, or speech.
- Insistence of sameness
- Restricted fixated interests
- Hypo/hyper reactivity to sensory input
- Symptoms range in severity, so the support of each individual varies according to the severity of symptoms.
- Diagnosis mostly by the age of 2, but assessment can take place at any point of time, transitioning at age of 3 years
- Diagnosis can be done using DSM criteria, behavioral observation, interview with caregivers, medical and behavioral history.
- The aim of diagnosis is to determine the medical course of treatment or required services.
- 30% of autistic children have mental subnormality by different degrees
- The average prevalence of autism is 1%
- Male : female ratio is 4:1
- Not all school aged children with autism require special education.
- Educational performance doesn’t mean academic performance only, but also includes personality, emotional and social intelligence development.
- Social and academic challenges may increase need for support and services
- Many children begin first grade without official diagnosis
- 25% of autistic children have speech delay, which may be the cause of discovering the diagnosis of autism.
- Most of autistic children suffer from irritability, insomnia, and may be accompanied by attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).