1. What is Autism Basically?
2. What Difficulty do Patients With Autism Face?
3. What are the causes and Symptoms of Autism in Babies?
4. What are Different Types of Autism?
5. What are the Signs and Symptoms of Autism in Children?
6. How can Autism be treated?
7. What is Autism-Spectrum Quotient or AQ test?
8. Which are the most trusted Sites to take AQ test?
9. What is the Meaning of AQ test score??
10. Do Essential Oils help with Autism, ADHD & ADD?
11. Which are the best Essential Oils for Autism, ADHD & ADD?
12. Bonus Video: How to potty train Autism child in 3 Days?
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or autism, as it is commonly known, is a complex neurobehavioral condition that’s characterized by challenges with nonverbal communication and speech, repetitive behaviors, social skills and also unique differences and strengths. This condition encompasses a large spectrum of skills, symptoms, and levels of impairment. The severity of autism can vary from person to person. In some cases, it is merely a handicap that put some limits on an otherwise normal life, but there are also situations where it is a devastating disability that requires the patients to be institutionalized.
Those who suffer from autism find communicating difficult. They are unable to understand what others feel and think, which makes it difficult for them to express themselves with words, facial expressions, gestures, and touch. A child suffering from autism may often become troubled and even pained by smells, touches, sights and sounds that seem quite normal to others. Others have stereotyped and repetitive body movements such as pacing, rocking and hand flapping. They also respond in an unusual manner to people and objects, are aggressive, resistant to change in their routine and also indulge in self-injurious behavior.
Expert remains uncertain as to the causes of autism in babies. Symptoms of autism typically surface in the first three years. Sometimes, they are obvious from birth whereas in some cases, they become apparent when babies are 18 to 36 months old. In all likelihood, there are several causes of autism instead of just one. It seems that a number of different circumstances such as biological, environmental and genetic factors make a child vulnerable to autism. There is also reason to believe that genes play a very vital role in the development of this disorder in babies. A link has been found between autism and an abnormal gene.
This gene might be just one of three or five that interact with each other in some way to give rise to this condition. According to scientists, a faulty gene often makes babies more susceptible to autism when there are also other factors in play like the presence of chemicals and viruses, chemical imbalance and also lack of oxygen at birth. Environmental toxins like pesticides and heavy metals like mercury are also deemed as potential causes of autism. Rubella in the pregnant mother, brain inflammation, fragile X syndrome and Tuberous sclerosis are also regarded as causes of autism in babies.
It is important to note that autism is only one syndrome that falls under the category of autism spectrum disorders. There are some other disorders that now fall under the umbrella of ASD and are often referred to as types of autism.
When people hear the word ‘autism’, this is the disorder they think of. People suffering from this disorder will have communication and social challenges, experience significant language delays and have unusual interests and behaviors. Lots of people suffering from this disorder also suffer from intellectual disability.
Those with mild symptoms of autistic disorder fall under the category of Asperger’s Syndrome. Patients exhibit unusual interests and behavior and have social challenges, but they have high intelligence levels and no issues with language.
Pervasive Developmental Disorder
Also called atypical autism, this category is for children who display some autistic behaviors, but don’t fit into any other category.
Childhood Disintegrative Disorder
Children suffering from this disorder develop normally for two years and then start losing their social and communication skills. It is extremely rare and some experts consider it a completely separate condition that has no link with autism.
There are some signs and symptoms that are seen in children suffering from autism spectrum disorder and they can help parents and doctors in ascertaining whether a child is autistic or not. What are they? Read on to find out:
- Delayed-speech learning or avoidance of the spoken language
- Flat and monotonous speech
- Using pre-learned phrases and using them repeatedly
- Talking ‘at’ people instead of having a proper conversation
Responding to People
- Unable to understand metaphors, sarcasm, and figures of speech and taking everything literally
- Negative reaction when asked to do something for others
Interacting with People
- Not interested in interacting with others, even children of same age
- Not enjoying activities and situations that are loved by children of their age
- Not making eye contact
- Not understanding social behaviors of greeting and bidding farewell
- Not comprehending others’ personal space and intolerant when theirs is invaded
- Using facial expressions and gestures rarely in communication
- Unable to adapt to the content and tone of speech in different social situations
- Repetitive movements like flicking fingers, rocking back and forth etc.
- Developing an intense interest in a particular activity or subject
- Liking and disliking some foods based on their colors more than their taste
- Playing in a repetitive way, preferably with objects than people
- Following a specific routine and not tolerating disruptions
- Strange sensory interests like sniffing people, objects or toys
It is a given that when parents find their child showing any of the signs and symptoms outlined above, they immediately think about getting them diagnosed and then treated. Early diagnosis and treatment can be immensely beneficial for young autistic children as it allows them to develop to their full potential. The primary purpose of the treatment is to improve the child’s overall ability to function.
Some of the different ways of dealing with autism are:
Behavioral training and management
This is aimed at improving communication and behavior through social skills training, self-help, and positive reinforcement. There are various treatments such as Treatment and Education of Autistic and Related Communication Handicapped Children (TEACCH), Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) and sensory integration.
These are used for treating problem behaviors and related conditions like hyperactivity, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorders, and anxiety.
Physical, occupational and speech therapies are important elements of autism management and should be part of the treatment program. Physical and occupational therapy improves deficiencies in motor skills and coordination. Speech therapy is helpful in improving social skills and language for effective communication. Occupational therapy also helps children in learning how to process information from the senses in simple ways.
Along with these treatment options, support and love from parents and the community can also aid autistic children in functioning normally.However, the treatment process can only begin if autism has been diagnosed.
The Autism-Spectrum Quotient or AQ test was designed by psychologist Simon Baron-Cohen along with some of his colleagues at the Autism Research Center at Cambridge. This test is aimed at measuring the extent of autistic traits found in adults. In the first major trial that used the test, the control group’s average score was 16.4. 80 percent of the participants who scored 32 or higher had been diagnosed with autism or a related disorder.But, it is essential to remember that the purpose of the test is not to make a diagnosis. This is because a number of people who score 32 or higher and even fulfill the diagnostic criteria for Asperger’s or mild autism have no difficulty in functioning normally on a daily basis.
It takes people about 7 minutes to complete the AQ test online. There are a number of websites you can visit for taking the test such as psychology-tools.com, wired.com, and psychologytoday.com where you can take the test. It is simple and short and designed in a way that makes it easy to extract information about the person’s socializing, communication, attention to detail and imagination. The results of the test are very helpful for healthcare professionals and doctors because they can use them for performing a formal Asperger’s Syndrome test, depending on the score of the AQ test. Sometimes, parents also take the test on behalf of their kids if they suspect their child is suffering from the condition.
Those who take the AQ test want to interpret the results to determine if they are autistic or not. When interpreting the results, it is vital to remember that that scores of the test are based on the statistical analysis of those who have taken the test and have been diagnosed with autism. Thus, the test is not an exact science and can only indicate a person’s level of autistic tendencies. As far as the distribution of scores is concerned, here is what a specific score indicates:
- The average score of the majority of the population is between 11 and 21.
- A score between 22 and 25 indicates that the person has slightly higher autistic traits than an average individual.
- A score between 26 and 31 is considered a borderline score as 86 percent of the people who have this score are classified correctly as having Asperger’s syndrome.
- The official criteria for having Asperger’s syndrome is a score of 32 and higher.
After the initial release of the AQ test, the official score for determining Asperger was 26 and could be used for diagnosing more than 80 percent of the patients. However, there was a small percentage of people who couldn’t be diagnosed. Therefore, the official score was changed from 26 to 32 for reducing the possibility of false positives and to make the AQ test more suitable for everyone. Thus, a low score on the AQ test means that you have a very low level of autistic tendencies and a highs core indicates the opposite. It should also be noted that the effects of autism are slightly different in men and women. The average score of women suffering from Autism or Asperger’s is 5 points higher than that of men.
The treatments for autism have been discussed above, but there are also ways through which autism, as well as ADHD and ADD, can be managed. One treatment that has been getting lots of attention is essential oils. They are obtained directly from plants through the process of distillation. They are not the same as fragrance oils or perfumes. As they are derived from the true plant, they have the essence of the plant. They can detoxify the body and remove metallic.
The aromas of essential oils have a very strong ability to stimulate the limbic region of the brain because the sense of smell is directly tied to the hormonal and emotional centers of the brain. Therefore, the aroma of essential oils is effective in exerting a powerful influence on autism and ADHD/ADD. According to parents, the compounds in the essential oils can ease the restlessness and anxiety exhibited by autistic children or those suffering from ADHD and ADD and can also prevent an epic meltdown.
Some of the best essential oils that can be used for treating ADHD, ADD and Autism are given below:
Known for its sweet and woodsy smell, sandalwood oil is obtained from the mature roots of the tree. The potency of the oil depends on the maturity of the sandalwood tree. The oil can promote mental clarity and has a calming and relaxing effect that aids with ADHD/ADD and autistic patients.
This essential oil has been used for centuries due to its medicinal properties. The antioxidants in the body can protect from illnesses and it has a calming effect on sufferers of autism and ADHD. Plus, it can also reduce their emotional stress and anxiety and boost sleep quality.
Chamomile essential oil has been used for treating various ailments for 5,000 years and is great for fighting anxiety and stress. It also promotes relaxation and these properties make it very effective in treating autism, ADHD and ADD.
One of the most versatile essential oils available these days is peppermint oil. It is great for treating children dealing with ADD, ADHD and Autism because it provides a cooling sensation and calms down the body. Moreover, it can also improve mental focus.
There are also other essential oils such as Mandarin oil, Frankincense oil, Vetiver, Cedarwood oil and Bergamot oil that can be immensely helpful in treating ADD, ADHD and autism.