Autism is a developmental disorder of brain. Autism impairs social interaction and communication skills of the child, and makes the child to do restricted and repetitive behavior like repetitive speech, repetitive hand movements etc. All these starts before three years of age. These signs distinguish autism from milder autism spectrum disorders (ASD) such as Asperger syndrome. Autism has a strong genetic basis. In rare cases, autism is strongly associated with agents that cause birth defects. Other proposed causes, such as childhood vaccines, are controversial and the vaccine hypothesis does not provide enough evidence. Most recent reviews estimate a prevalence of one to two cases per 1,000 people for autism, and about six per 1,000 for ASD, with ASD averaging a 4.3:1 male-to-female ratio. Autism affects many parts of the brain; how this occurs is not very clear. Parents usually report the signs in the first two years of the child's life. Early behavioral or cognitive intervention can help children gain self-care, social, and communication skills. There is no cure. Few children with autism live independently after reaching adulthood, but some become successful.
Treatment objectives in Autism:
The main goals of treatment are to lessen associated deficits and family distress, and to increase quality of life and functional independence. No single treatment is best suitable for the child. The treatment should be typically planned to suit needs of the child. Educational programs which can be sustained by the child should be planned. In addition to the educational program other treatments like behavior therapy can help if started at an early age. The goals of behavioral therapy should be to achieve childâ€™s ability to learn to do self-care, to learn and perform social, and job skills. Behavioral therapy may show improvement in over all functioning of the child. It may also decrease the symptom severity and maladaptive behaviors. Other therapeutic approaches include applied behavior analysis, developmental models, structured teaching, speech and language therapy, social skills therapy, and occupational therapy. Educational interventions also may have some benefits. Applied Behavior analysis treatment has demonstrated effectiveness in enhancing global functioning in preschool children and is well-established for improving intellectual performance of young children.
Role of Homeopathy in Autism:
Homeopathy helps in improving behavioral and cognitive difficulties of the child. Social sense and interpersonal skills also show improvement. Active management as suitable to the individual needs of the child with homeopathic constitutional treatment is likely to give better out come.
FAQ's for Autism
What is pervasive developmental disorder (PDD)?
It is a disorder characterized by severe and pervasive impairment in several areas of development such as social interaction skills, communication skills, or the presence of stereotyped behaviour, interests and activities.
Which clinical conditions come under the heading of PDD?
Childhood disintegrative disorder.
PDD not otherwise specified.
How to diagnose autism?
There are various criteria used in diagnosing autism
Difficulty with social relationships.
Difficulty with verbal and non-verbal communication.
Difficulty in the development of play and imagination.
Resistance to change in routine.
All these symptoms must have been present by 36 months of age
What causes autism?
In autism, there are one or several abnormalities in the brain, which are caused by one or several biological factors such as Genetic factors, Maternal rubella, Lack of oxygen at birth, Excess of oxygen at birth, Encephalitis, Untreated phenylketonuria, Tuberose sclerosis. This is known as "the biological theory of autism"
Serotonin has been found to be contributory in either genesis or maintainance of Autism. However, detailed studies have to be carried out to confirm this possibility.
Do children with autism come from any particular family background?
NO. Autism has been found equally in all social classes and in all cultures. However a predominance of boys to girls is seen in the ratio of 4:1.
What is the level of intelligence in children with Autism?
When autistic children are given IQ tests, roughly 2/3rd of them score in the below average range. The remaining 1/3rd have an IQ in the normal range. So, autism can occur at any point on the intelligence spectrum.
In short, what characterizes the autistic behavioural pattern?
Social behaviour - unresponsiveness to people, lack of attention to people, reacting parts of people as detached objects, lack of eye contact, treating people as if they were inanimate objects, lack of behaviour appropriate to cultural norms, attention to the non social aspects of people, lack of awareness of the feelings of others, lack of social perceptiveness, Failure to develop a concept of mind - MIND BLINDEDNESS.
Language - Abnormalities in speech i.e. they cannot produce sounds that are recognizable as words is called as FUNCTIONALLY MUTE CHILDREN. In those children with autism who do develop speech, a variety of unusual features are sometime (but not always) seen. These include Echolalia (words/phrases, which are echoed either immediately after they are heard or sometime later and persist even after the age of 3yrs),
What improvement can I expect in my child after receiving Homoeopathic treatment?
Homoeopathic medicines based on rational principles have a deep impact on the system.
When a child starts responding to homoeopathic medications, improvement is first seen at a general level. Child starts getting calmer, improvement is seen in sleep, appetite & bowel habits.
Next is the improvement in behaviour Reduction is seen in hyperactivity, restlessness, tantrums, violence etc.
Improvement in eye contact and ability to respond Further we see change in communication skills. He starts indicating and subsequently starts developing ability to speak words. echolalia improves too.
Obsessive behaviour takes a long time to improve. Child starts showing improved general resistance.
This is because homoeopathic medicines act as immunomodulators.
What factors determine the rate of improvement?
In most cases, order of improvement seen is as discussed earlier.
Best result are seen when we start the treatment at the earliest i.e. as soon as possible when the symptoms or signs are observed.
Improvement also depends upon the degree of Autism i.e. mild/moderate/ severe. Other associated conditions like epilepsy, genetic disorders etc also influence the outcome.
Can the child be given Homoeopathic medication if he is already under Allopathic medication?
If a child has achieved stability certain drugs for a long time like Antiepileptic drugs then they can be continued along with homeopathic medications. But if there are serious side effects or child is on some other allopathic drugs then it is desirable that they are gradually tapered off under the expert guidance.
Can other therapies be given to child receiving homoeopathic treatment?
Homeopathy works in perfect synergy with other essential therapies like sensory integration therapy, special education, auditory integration therapy etc.
Rational and judicious coordination of homeopathic treatment along with sensory integration therapy makes tremendous difference to the management of children with Autism. Senior therapists and educators have often remarked that they have found that Children receiving Homoeopathic medicines are much calmer and easier to handle. They were much more receptive to therapy & educational inputs