Is my little one in good health? This will be the first thing any parent would think of after their baby is born. It is important to know that not all babies are born healthy as a horse. Yet, it is also vital to keep in mind that though babies could be born with various conditions there is always treatment available.

The BabySpace in this article would be addressing one condition that a considerable percentage of babies in Sri Lanka are born with- Autism.

What is Autism?

Autism is a mental condition that develops in early childhood. It causes a child to have difficulties in reaching most of the development milestones such as speech, perception and forming relationships with those around him or her, sometimes including the parents themselves.

Symptoms of Autism

Most of you would already know a few symptoms of this condition but these signs would differ, at least vaguely, from case to case. Thus, effects of Autism are not always the same and with this treatment would also change in many ways.

However, if your child has any of these following symptoms that could mean that the little one is having Autism.

  • Having trouble communicating with words or using signs
  • Having difficulty thinking and behaving in the right given a situation
  • Not interacting with people or seem distant

Autism in Toddlers

Detecting the condition in your infant or toddler can be challenging but the BabySpace have compiled some of the symptoms,with the help of experts, which you could easily see in your little one.

  • Difficulty in keeping or even making eye contact
  • Have trouble in visually following objects
  • Doesn’t react when his or her name is spoken out
  • Doesn’t use sign languages to get your attention or help
  • Seem distant when around other people and not initiate communication or play
  • Doesn’t look out for the parent’s affection or want to be cuddled
  • Delay in speaking out words or make babbling sounds when an infant
  • Never reach out to pick dropped objects
  • Seem irritable
  • The child would not imitate facial expressions or smile back when smiled at

Causes of Autism

There are no precise reasons laid out as causes of the condition. But, the available research says that Autism can be a result of many things combined from the age of the parents to the food that a mother consumes when the baby is conceived. Let’s take a few minutes to talk about them.

Accordingly medication such as antidepressants can cause Autism. It is more risky if a mother takes these medications in the first quarter of the pregnancy. To deliver a healthy child the mother should stay healthy. Nutritional deficiency during the pregnancy, again mainly in the first quarter, would lead to many conditions including Autism.

In addition to these, maternal infections and the mother being subjected to chemicals pollutants are also found to be affecting the baby.

Knowing the signs and symptoms will not be enough to understand the condition and know for sure that your baby is autistic. We believe that the best way to know what a baby is going through or suffering from is by closely observing every movement and reading each concealed hint. If you do believe that there is something wrong don’t hesitate to get help. You would prefer to give it time and wait till the baby improves but this will not work for your advantage.

According to BabySpace experts the best time for treatment- in order to recover, is before the child turns two to three years. Early detection is the key to successful treatment.

Sadly, most of the Sri Lankan parents are not aware of Autism and some not willing to accept that their child is autistic or different from other children. The stigma attached to conditions such as this is stressful.

Treatment for Autism includes play therapy, speech therapy, music therapy, occupational therapy and group therapy. Autism cannot be medically treated.

Treatment takes time and patience of both the therapist and parents. It is not an easy task.

Building trust with an autistic child is not always easy and it requires unlimited attention and tolerance. Experts sometimes would even act like the child to get into the child’s world. Later, step by step, they would start therapy.

Accordingly, therapists would identify skills and talents of the child and aim to improve it. Most autistic children are found to be creative, artistic and athletic. There are isolated cases where they are extremely good in studies. Focusing on these talents would help children to perform normally in the society. Autistic children should always be encouraged to interact with other children.

Children are not the only ones who are suffering when Autism strikes- often, parents are too. Parents should have a positive outlook always. He said that this would help them and the child too to recover.