Autism: Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

What is Autism?

ASD stands for Autism Spectrum Disorder, generally called Autism. It is a complicated condition that includes problems with behavior and communication. It can involve different symptoms. 

People with autism have trouble understanding what other people feel and think. It is hard for them to express themselves wither with gestures, words, touch, and facial expressions.

They have problems with learning. Their skills develop unevenly. They could have trouble communicating but be unusually good at music, math, art, or memory. They do well on tests of analysis or problem-solving.

More children are diagnosed with autism now than ever before. The latest numbers could be higher because of changes in how it is diagnosed, not because more children have a disorder.


ASD is a developmental disability. It affects the way people interact, behave, or communicate with others. The symptoms can be severe or mild

Social Skills

If a child is on the spectrum, he might show the following social symptoms by the time he’s 8 to 10 months old.

  • A child can’t respond to his name on his first birthday.
  • Talking, sharing, or Playing with other people doesn’t interest him.
  • He avoids or rejects physical contact.
  • He prefers to be alone. 
  • He’s upset, he doesn’t like to be comforted.
  • He avoids eye contact.
  • He can’t stretch out his arms to be picked up or guided with walking
  • He doesn’t understand emotions — his own or others’.


Problem with communication including these:

  • Delayed speech and language skills
  • Flat, robotic speaking voice, or singsong voice
  • Repeating the same phrase.
  • Not using or rarely using common gestures (pointing or waving), and not responding to them
  • Can’t able to stay on topic when talking or answering questions
  • Problems with pronouns 
  • Not recognizing sarcasm or joking

Patterns of Behavior

Repetitive behaviors like rocking, hand-flapping, twirling or jumping.

• Fixations on certain activities or objects

• Constant moving (pacing) and “hyper” behavior

• Specific rituals or routines (and getting upset when a routine is changed, even slightly)

• Not taking part in “make-believe” play.

• Extreme sensitivity to sound, touch, and light.

• Fussy eating habits

• Impulsiveness (acting without thinking)

• Lack of coordination, clumsiness

• Aggressive behavior with self and others

• Short attention span

Spotting Signs and Symptoms

To identify the symptoms, make an appointment with your child’s pediatrician if he doesn’t meet this specific development milestone

  • Smiles by 6 months
  • Imitates sound or facial expressions by 9 months
  • Coos or babbles by 12 months
  • Gestures by 14 months
  • Speaks with single words by 16 months and uses phrases of two words or more by 24 months
  • “make-believe” by 18 months


According to doctors, if the mother was exposed to certain chemicals while she was pregnant then a baby can be born with birth defects. We can increase the odds of having a healthy baby by doing these lifestyle changes:

• Live healthily

• Don’t take drugs during pregnancy

• Avoid Alcohol

• Seek treatment for existing health conditions

• Get Vaccinated


There is no lab test for it. Doctors observe the behaviors of very young children and listen to the concerns of their parents.

Following are the milestones your doctor will be looking for

• Did your baby smile by 6 months?

• Did he mimic facial expressions and sounds by 9 months?

• Was he babbling and cooing by 12 months?

• Are any of his behaviors unusual or repetitive?

• Does he have trouble making eye contact?

• Is his tone of voice “flat”?

• Does he interact with people?

• Does he understand other people’s actions?

• Does he respond when someone tries to get his attention?

• Is he sensitive to light, noise, or temperature?

• Any problems with sleep or digestion?

• Does he tend to get annoyed or angry?

Types of ASD

  1. Asperger’s syndrome:

A person with Asperger’s may be intelligent. He may be able to handle her daily life. She may be focused on topics that interest her. But she has a much harder time socially.

  • Pervasive developmental disorder, not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS)

This mouthful of diagnosis included most children whose autism was more severe than Asperger’s syndrome, but not as severe as an autistic disorder.

  • Autistic Disorder

This older term is further along the autism spectrum than Asperger’s and PDD-NOS. It includes the same types of symptoms, but at a more intense level.

  • Childhood disintegrative disorder

This was the rarest and most severe part of the spectrum. It described children who develop normally and then quickly lose many social, language, and mental skills, usually between ages 2 and 4. Often, these children also developed a seizure disorder.


Communication and Behavior Treatments

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA): 

It is used in clinics and schools to help your child learn positive behaviors and reduce negative ones. This approach can be used to improve a wide range of skills.

  • PRT stands for Pivotal response training. It helps develop the motivation to learn and communicate.
  • DTT stands for discrete trial training. It uses positive reinforcement and simple lessons.
  • VBI stands for Verbal behavior intervention. It focuses on language skills.
  • EIBI stands for early intensive behavioral intervention. It is best for children under age 5.

Developmental, Individual Differences, Relationship-Based Approach (DIR):

It involves you getting on the floor with your child to play and do activities he likes. It meant to support intellectual and emotional growth by helping him learn skills around emotions and communications.


TEACCH stands for Treatment and Education of Autistic and Related Communication-handicapped Children. It uses visual cues like picture cards to help children learn skills like getting dressed. Information is broken down into small steps. He can learn it more easily.

The Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)

It uses symbols. A child learns to ask questions and communicate through special    symbols.


Some medicines can help with related symptoms.

Studies have shown that medication is effective when it’s combined with behavioral therapies.

Risperidone is the only drug approved by the FDA for children with an autism spectrum disorder. Children between 5 and 16 years old can use to help with irritability.

In certain cases, some doctors will prescribe other drugs. 

It including anti-anxiety medication, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), or stimulants, But they’re not FDA-approved for autism spectrum disorder.

Talk with your child’s doctor about whether there are medicines that treat his symptoms.


Getting proper nutrition is important. Experts don’t recommend any specific diets for children with an autism spectrum disorder. Sometimes kids with ASD restrict their food or parents try eliminating things like gluten to see if it helps symptoms improve.

However, there is no research that has proven that removing gluten or casein (proteins in wheat and milk products) from their diet is a helpful treatment for ASD, and limiting foods like dairy can prevent proper bone development.

Kids with autism spectrum disorder tend to have thinner bones than kids without it, so bone-building foods are important. You might want to work with a nutritionist or registered dietitian to develop a healthy eating plan.

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