HEALTH

On this World Autism Awareness Day in 2024, let’s discuss why treating developmental disorders early on is so important

World Autism Awareness Day is observed annually on April 2 in an effort to de-stigmatize the disorder and help individuals who are impacted by it. A neurodevelopmental illness, autism, sometimes referred to as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), is characterised by differences in a child’s brain development.

According to Dr. Vipul Gupta, who is the head of neurointervention and the co-chief of the stroke unit at Artemis Hospital in Gurugram, early intervention is essential to improving the overall development and well-being of individuals with ASD. Families may begin the process of identifying and meeting their child’s special needs by obtaining essential resources and support services via early identification and diagnosis.”

Research indicates that a mix of genetic, environmental, and developmental variables may contribute to the emergence of ASD, even if no one cause has been found for it.

The following are major risk factors for the development of autism: advanced parental age; prenatal exposure to certain medications like valproic acid; exposure to environmental toxins like heavy metals and pesticides; inadequate folic acid intake; maternal health conditions like diabetes and obesity; premature birth; and birth complications. This information was provided to IANS by Dr. Aabha Bhalerao, Consultant Gynaecologist, Ruby Hall Clinic, Pune.

Furthermore, maternal health issues like hypertension or gestational diabetes may influence a child’s likelihood of developing autism. The risk may also be increased by postpartum complications such as oxygen deprivation, foetal distress, or preterm or birth damage.

It’s crucial to remember that a child’s diagnosis of autism does not always follow the presence of one or more of these risk factors. Similarly, it’s possible that many kids who have autism weren’t exposed to these things. According to Dr. Aabha, autism spectrum disorder is most likely the outcome of a complicated interaction between hereditary susceptibility and environmental factors.

Individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) may have difficulties in their social interactions as well as in deciphering and using nonverbal and spoken signs. Applied behaviour analysis (ABA), social skills training, and speech therapy are the main components of the treatment.

According to Dr. Vipul, early intervention “helps develop skills, reduces difficulties, and ensures long-term success by utilising the neuroplasticity of the brain in its beginning stages.” It can also help patients “navigate everyday life and promote their independence, inclusion, and fulfilment.”

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