WHAT IS AUTISM ?
Autism (sometimes called classical autism) is the most common condition in a group of developmental disorders known as autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Autism is characterized by three distinctive behaviors. Autistic children have difficulties with social interaction, display problems with verbal and nonverbal communication, and exhibit repetitive behaviors or narrow, obsessive interests. The impact of these behaviors may range from mild to disabilities. Autism varies widely in its severity in symptoms and may go unrecognized, especially in mildly affected children or when more debilitating handicaps cover it. Scientists are not certain what cause autism, but it is likely that both genetics and environment play a role.
Social interactions and relationships.
Significant problems developing into non-verbal communication skills, such as eye-to-eye gazing, facial expressions, and body posture. Failure to establish friendships with children of the same age. Lack of interest in sharing enjoyment, interests or achievements with other people. Lack of empathy. People with autism may have difficulty in understanding another person's feelings, such as pain or sorrow
Verbal and nonverbal communication.
Delay in, or lack of, learning to talk. As many as 50% of people with autism are unable to speak. Problems in taking steps to start a conversation. Also, people with autism have difficulties in continuing a conversation once it starts. Stereotyped and repetitive use of language: People with autism often repeat over and over a phrase they have heard previously (echolalia). Difficulty understanding their listener's perspective. For example, a person with autism may not understand someone using humor. They may interpret the communication word to word and fail to get the implied meaning.
Limited interests in activities or play.:
An unusual focus on fragments: Younger children with autism often focus on toys by its part such as wheels of a toy car etc., rather than playing with the entire toy. Preoccupation with certain topics: For example, elder children and adults may feel fascinated by train schedules, weather patterns, or license plates. A need for evenness in routines: For example, a child with autism may always need to eat bread before salad and insist on driving the same route every day to school. Stereotyped behaviors: These may include body rocking and hand flapping.
SYMPTOMS DURING CHILDHOOD
Symptoms of autism are usually noticed in the beginning by parents and other caregivers sometime during the child's first 3 years. Although autism is present at birth (congenital), signs of the disorder can be difficult to identify or diagnose during infancy. Parents often concerned when their toddler does not like to be held; does not seem interested in playing certain games and does not start speaking. They also may be confused about their child's hearing abilities. It often seems that a child with autism does not hear, but he or she may appear to hear a noice from distant background noise like a whistle of a train etc.
With early and intensive treatment, most children improve their ability to relate to others, communicate, and help themselves as they grow older. Contrary to popular myths about children with autism, very few are socially isolated completely or "live in a world of their own."
Many people with autism have symptoms similar to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). But these symptoms which have problems especially with social relationships, are more severe for people with autism.
About 10% of people with autism possess some form of savant skills—special limited gifts such as memorizing lists, calculating calendar dates, drawing, or musical ability.
Many people with autism have unusual sensory perceptions. For example, they may describe a light touch as painful and deep pressure that provides a calm feeling. Others may not feel pain at all. Some people with autism have strong food likes and dislikes and unusual preoccupations.
Other such conditions
Autism which is one of the several types of pervasive developmental disorders (PDD), also called autism spectrum disorders (ASD). It is not unusual for autism to be confused with other PDD, such as Asperger's disorder or syndrome, or to have overlapping symptoms. A similar state is called pervasive developmental disorder-NOS (not otherwise specified). PDD-NOS occurs when children display similar behaviors but do not meet the criteria for autism. It is commonly called just PDD. In addition, other conditions with similar symptoms may also have similarities to or occur with autism.
WHAT IS THE PROGNOSIS ?
For many children, autism symptoms improve with treatment and with aging.
Some children with autism grow up to lead normal or near-normal lives. Children whose language skills regress early in life, usually before the age of three, appear to be at risk of developing epilepsy or seizure-like brain activity. During adolescence, some children with autism may become depressed or experience behavioral problems. Parents of these children should be ready to
adjust treatment for their child as needed.
WHAT CAUSES AUTISM ACCORDING TO AYURVEDA?
· When his/her mind is afflicted by the predominance of Rajas and Tamas
· When doshas in his/her body are aggravated and vitiated.
· When he/she takes food consisting of unwholesome and unclean ingredients mutually contradictory properties, neglecting prescribed dietary rules (viz confirmity with nature etc.)
· When his/her body is exceedingly depleted.
· When he/she is not in proper state of health due to other diseases.
· When his/her mind is afflicted over and over again by passion, anger, greed, excitement, fear, attachment, excretion, anxiety and grief.
In the circumstances enumerated above the mind gets seriously affected and the intellect loses its balance. So the doshas aggravated and vitiated enter the cardiac region and obstruct the channels of the mind resulting in Autism (characterized by the perversion of mind, intellect, consciousness, knowledge, memory, desire, manners, behaviors and conduct.)
Oletion, fomentation, emesis, purgation, enema, alleviation therapies, errhines, fumigation, collyrium, nasya (snuff), ointment, deletion. Suitable diets should be given according to the requirements of the patient. Such other therapies as would work against the causative factors of the diseases should also be given.
Ayurveda believes that the root cause of Autism is due to poor metabolism – (the process of absorption of ingested food from intestine).