According to WHO, 1 in 100 children has autism. In 2021- CDC reported that approximately 1 in 44 children in the U.S. is diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder, according to 2018 data – ASD in more common among boys (1 in 27) than among girls (1 in 116). Unfortunately, due to lack of knowledge, parents start treatment late and it gets tough for the child to overcome the complexities. Early interventions are very important to help a child to reach his or her potential and also can prevent disabilities in infants as well as toddlers. On this day of World Autism Day, the 2nd April, we are putting our efforts to share the insights about Autism with an intent to have an insight from both Ayurveda and Modern Medicine point of view.
In Modern Medicinal System, Autism or autism spectrum disorder was first described by Dr. Leo Kanner in 1943 in classic paper entitled ― “Autistic disturbance of affectile contact” Nervous child 1943,2,217-250. Term Autism was used by psychiatrist Eugen Biculer in 1908. Autism means Morbid self-admiration and withdrawal within self (Journal of pharmaceutical and medical research).
Autism is neuro-behavioral and neuro-developmental ailment. Autism is known as a ―SPECTRUM disorder because there is wide variation in the type and severity of symptoms people experience. ASD can be diagnosed at any age but symptoms generallya appear in early childhood (often within the first two years of life). Doctors diagnose ASD by looking at a person's behavior and development.
The patient has lack of social skills and an inability to reciprocate to social interactions. The patient may also have intellectual and cognitive deficits and problems in communication (verbal as well as non-verbal).
ASD affects every person differently; some may have only a few symptoms and signs while others have many. Some children and adults with ASD are fully able to perform all activities of daily living and may have gifted learning and cognitive abilities while others require substantial support to perform basic activities
Some children show signs of autism spectrum disorder in early infancy, such as reduced eye contact, lack of response to their name or indifference to caregivers. Other children may develop normally for the first few months or years of life, but then suddenly become withdrawn or aggressive or lose language skills they've already acquired. Signs usually are seen by age 2 years.
Each child with autism spectrum disorder is likely to have a unique pattern of behavior and level of severity — from low functioning to high functioning.
Some children with autism spectrum disorder have difficulty learning, and some have signs of lower-than-normal intelligence. Other children with the disorder have normal to high intelligence — they learn quickly, yet have trouble communicating and applying what they know in everyday life and adjusting to social situations.
Because of the unique mixture of symptoms in each child, severity can sometimes be difficult to determine. It's generally based on the level of impairments and how they impact the ability to function.
Below are some common signs shown by people who have autism spectrum disorder.
Literal and precise language; extensive vocabulary
Making little or no eye contact while talking to another person
Difficulty with the back and forth of conversation and when to speak or listen
Talking at length without noticing others are not interested
Facial expressions or gestures that don’t match what is being said
An unusual tone of voice that may sound flat and robot-like
Difficulty understanding people’s tone of voice, facial expressions or body language
Difficulty developing and maintaining relationships
Repeating or mimicking peoples’ behaviors
Repeating words or talking out loud to themselves
Ability to focus on one subject for extended periods of time and become an expert on the chosen subject
Ability to see developing patterns with numbers, details or facts
Thrown emotionally/mentally off balance with changes in routine
Hypersensitivity to bright lights, multiple sounds, strong odors, certain textures and temperature changes
Insomnia is common because sleep is easily disturbed
Hyperflexible joints and uncoordinated movements
Unable to speak, or delayed speech
People with ASD have many strengths and excel in areas of technical learning:
Ability to learn and remember information in great detail for long periods of time
Remarkable focus and persistence on one topic
Aptitude for recognizing patterns within complex problems
Strong visual and/or auditory learning skills
Excelling in math, science, music or art
Autism and Ayurveda Perspective
When to see a doctor
Diagnosis of autism
Reasons of Autism
TREATMENT OF AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER IN AYURVEDA
Therapeutic Streams In Ayurveda to treat Autism (Unmeda)
Herbs/ Ayurvedic Medicine for Autistim in Child
Satvavajaya (Mind or Self-Management Techniques) or Applied Therapies to deal with Autism:
DIET FOR AUTISTIC KIDS
Autism is a manifestation having its deep root in beejadosha activated by favourable environment. The condition requires a long-term intervention and the improvements soon after each course of management. Ayurveda opens a large door in the management of autism and similar conditions and help those suffering from this disorder.
Harris J. Leo Kanner and autism: a 75-year perspective. Int Rev Psychiatry, Feb, 2018; 30(1): 3-17. doi: 10.1080/09540261.2018.1455646. Epub 2018 Apr 18. PMID: 29667863
Kliegman et al. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. Chapter 30th Autism spectrum disorder. Philadelphia: ELSEVIER Company, Asian edition, 20th edition 2015, p.177