Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a lifelong neuro-developmental condition. It is characterised by:
A child with ASD may have one or more of the following difficulties:
A child with ASD may have trouble communicating or initiating social interactions with others, and may not respond to others in an expected way. He or she may prefer to play alone and may have difficulties playing interactively with others and difficulties using non-verbal communication (e.g. gestures, pointing, eye contact)
A full evaluation should be done by a multi-disciplinary team of healthcare professionals, which may include a paediatrician specialising in behavioural and developmental paediatrics, a child psychiatrist or psychologist, and a speech or occupational therapist. Doctors may also call for a hearing test to be performed by an audiologist to ensure that hearing loss is not the primary underlying reason for the lack of social communication and interaction. Your doctor may also recommend a blood test, genetic test, or brain scan to rule out the presence of other medical conditions that can co-occur with ASD.
Early intervention can make a big difference to many children with ASD by improving their skills and quality of life, and helping them to be more independent. There are many treatment options for ASD which help improve outcomes for children.
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