One of the developmental disorders common in children is autism spectrum disorder or ASD. Unfortunately, there are several misconceptions about this mental health problem. Not everyone is aware of the implications when a child is diagnosed with ASD. In this article, we are going to provide some of the necessary information about this disorder as well as the role of psychiatry in its treatment.
What Is Autism Spectrum Disorder?
“Asperger’s Syndrome (Autism Spectrum Disorder) is more common that we realize and there are increasing numbers of high-functioning adults who are self-identifying or being diagnosed.” That is according to Eva A. Mendes LMHC. When we speak of autism spectrum disorder, it refers to a condition that is characterized by impaired social behavior and difficulty in communication. This neurological condition can be classified into different levels, which is why the disorder is considered as one having a spectrum. This means that there are different combinations of symptoms and severity for the children with autism. As such, you cannot find two autistic individuals who behave similarly. Most likely, each autistic child possesses unique characteristics.
What Are The Characteristics Of ASD?
As already mentioned above, you cannot find two kids with autism who behave or appear similarly. There is a specific range of symptoms. Below are the standard categories of characteristics:
- Problems In Communication – “Autism is a complex developmental disability that causes difficulties in many areas, with varying degrees of severity, most notably with social interaction and communication.” Karla Helbert, LPC, E-RYT, C-IAYT elaborates. Children with autism may go through challenges when it comes to an understanding or use of language. Some may use other alternatives to communicate efficiently. There are also those who need repetitive words or sentences before they can get the message.
- Having Anti-Social Concerns – This is where the trouble in connecting with other individuals come in. Kids with autism experience difficulty in making friends or interacting with the people surrounding them. They cannot use body language or facial expressions to share what they have in mind. Some of them also have fears of making eye contact.
- Requires Repetitive Movements – Because of their difficulty in connecting with people and in communicating with others, they need special attention. As such, parents, teachers and friends of autistic children must know how to use repetitive movements or sounds so that the latter could have a complete understanding of the message.
How Can A Psychiatrist Help?
The assistance of a psychiatrist is essential in improving the condition as well as the mental health of the kids with an autism spectrum disorder. Its role is to provide a complete diagnosis and treatment plan for the disorder. He needs to ensure that the child undergoes a thorough process of examinations before making a diagnosis. When choosing a psychiatrist, it is essential to look for a professional who specializes in handling autism cases in children. Robert Jason Grant Ed.D, LPC, RPT-S, ACAS emphasizes that “The uniqueness and ever-changing information about ASD require mental health professionals to be consistently upgrading their knowledge and training and staying focused on best practices.”
Dealing with autism in children is not an easy thing to do. It can be complicated at times. This is why it requires a consolidated effort of several people to ensure success. Parents cannot only rely on the assistance and help of professionals in the healthcare industry. They are the individuals who are primarily responsible for the well being of their kids. This is the reason why both mothers and fathers must work hand in hand in treating ASD.