By Trishna Patniak
This is a personal account in a first
Person base about me; I suffer from and live with the autism spectrum
I’ve always considered myself unique for as long as I can remember. I was different from the others and I was told so too. I never limited myself to the norms, not because I didn’t want to, but because I couldn’t. I am now a sort of behavioral teenager, so to speak, like an 8-year-old child.
I’ve always been told that I’m not good at it
social environment that make me so uncomfortable. I agree.
I’ve been told that certain things bug me
immense and I find it difficult to distract myself from them. Once in
In my mind I go everywhere and let things get mixed up around me.
I’m told I’m a little careful with new things
Things and experiences, but when I get used to them I can’t let them go
me easily. So yeah, even a way I live from routine.
I don’t trust a few people because I do
don’t want to, but because I can’t.
I am told I am moody and very restless
but that comes again from the fact that I cannot channel and harmonize
I am my parents’ only child and me
Don’t do what it feels like to have a so-called “normal” sibling.
I am told that I rarely make eye contact
with people I know as well as I don’t and I have an impaired language like in
I babble words and repeat words.
I get angry and I have emotional ones
Outbreaks when exposed to new environments.
I attend a special school with children such as
than me and I are even homeschooled.
My mother was told by the doctor that I
I have this disorder because of her late pregnancy and stress levels
during this pregnancy.
Most people make fun of me
sometimes but I don’t let it influence me so much. When I’m concerned, I get
charged and have extreme reactions.
I know there is no cure for autism
Spectrum interference. There are behaviors, however
and educational therapies to help me reduce symptoms.
What is autism
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is related to
a group of complex neurodevelopmental disorders caused by repetitive and
characteristic behavior patterns and difficulties in social communication
and interaction. The symptoms appear in early childhood and have a daily effect
The term “spectrum” refers to the broad
Range of symptoms, skills, and levels of disability that can function
occur in people with ASD. Some children and adults with ASD are fully capable
Do all activities of daily living while others need significant assistance
perform basic activities.
The diagnostics and statistics manual of
Mental disorders (DSM-5, published 2013) include Asperger’s Syndrome,
Disintegration disorders in childhood and ubiquitous developmental disorders are not
otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) as part of the ASD and not as separate disorders.
A diagnosis of ASD includes an assessment of intellectual disability and
What are a couple
common signs of ASD?
Even as infants, children with ASD
seem different, especially when compared to other children their age.
They can concentrate excessively on certain objects, rarely make eye contact, and
fail to engage in typical chatter with their parents. In other cases children
can develop normally until the age of two or even three, but then
begin to withdraw and become indifferent to social engagement.
The severity of ASD can vary widely and
based on the degree to which social communication, insistence on similarity of
Activities and environments as well as repetitive behavior patterns affect the
daily functioning of the individual.
are related to ASD?
There are certain known genetic disorders
associated with an increased risk of autism, including Fragile X Syndrome
(which causes intellectual disability) and tuberous sclerosis (which causes
benign tumors that grow in the brain and other vital organs) – each of which
results from a mutation in a single but different gene.
People with ASD also have a higher than
average risk of epilepsy. Children whose language skills decline early
in life – before the age of 3 – there seems to be a risk of epilepsy or a seizure
Brain activity. About 20 to 30 percent of children with ASD develop epilepsy from
the time they reach adulthood. In addition, people with ASD and
intellectual disability is at greatest risk of developing a seizure disorder.
How is ASD diagnosed?
ASD symptoms can vary widely from
Person to person depending on the severity of the disorder. Symptoms can even
go undetected for young children with mild ASD or less debilitating
Autism Spectrum Disorder is diagnosed by
Clinicians based on symptoms, signs, and tests as per the diagnosis
and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-V, a guide created by Americans
Psychiatric Association for the Diagnosis of Mental Disorders. Children should be
checked for developmental delays at regular check-ups and specifically on
Autism on 18- and 24-month visits in children.
Very early indicators that require
Expert assessments include:
babble or point by age 1
Single words by age 16 months or two-word sentences by age 2
Answer to the name
of previously acquired language or social skills
Stringing together toys or objects
Smile or social responsiveness
Ability to make friends with their peers
Ability to initiate or maintain a conversation with others
or impairment of imaginative and social play
or unusual language usage
intense or concentrated interest
with certain objects or subjects
Compliance with certain routines or rituals
When screening tools indicate the possibility of ASD, a more comprehensive assessment is usually indicated. A comprehensive assessment requires a multidisciplinary team, including a psychologist, neurologist, psychiatrist, speech therapist, and other professionals who diagnose and treat children with ASD.
Team members will conduct a thorough neurological assessment as well as in-depth cognitive and language tests. Because hearing problems can lead to behaviors that can be mistaken for ASD, children with delayed speech development should also have their hearing tested.
Scientists believe both genetics
and the environment likely play a role in ASD. There is great concern that rates of
Autism has increased over the past few decades with no full explanation
Why. Researchers have identified a number of genes associated with the
Disorder. Imaging studies of people with ASD have differences in that
Development of multiple regions of the brain.
Studies suggest that ASD could be one
Result of disorders of normal brain growth very early in development. This
Disorders can be the result of defects in genes that control the brain
Development and regulation of how brain cells communicate with one another. Is autism
more common in premature children. Environmental factors can also play a role
Role in gene function and development, but no specific environmental causes
were still identified. The theory that parental practices are responsible
for ASD has long been refuted. Several studies have shown vaccination
Preventing infectious diseases in children does not increase the risk of autism
in the population.
What is the role?
Twin and family studies suggest that some people have a genetic predisposition to autism. Identical twin studies show that when one twin is affected, the other is affected 36 to 95 percent of the time. There are a number of studies to determine the specific genetic factors associated with developing ASD. Families with one child with ASD also increase the risk of having a second child with the disorder. Many of the genes that have been found to be associated with autism are involved in the functioning of the chemical connections between brain neurons (synapses).
Researchers are looking for clues as to which genes contribute to increased susceptibility. In some cases, parents and other relatives of a child with ASD exhibit mild impairments in social communication skills or repeat behaviors.
There is also evidence that emotional disorders such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia are more common than average in families of people with ASD.
Make symptoms of
Do autism change over time?
For many children, symptoms improve with age and behavioral treatment. During puberty, some children with ASD may become depressed or have behavioral problems, and their treatment may need to be changed as they advance into adulthood.
People with ASD usually continue to need services and support as they get older. However, depending on the severity of the disorder, people with ASD may be able to work successfully and live independently or in a supportive environment.
What is autism like?
There is no cure for ASD. Therapies and behavior
Interventions are designed to correct certain symptoms and can go a long way in helping them
improve these symptoms. The ideal treatment plan coordinates therapies and
Interventions that meet the specific needs of the individual. Most health care
Professionals agree that the sooner the intervention, the better.
Educational / behavioral interventions:
Early behavior / educational interventions have been very successful for many children with ASD. In these interventions, therapists use highly structured and intense competency-based training sessions to help children develop social and language skills, such as applied behavioral analysis, that encourage positive behaviors and discourage negative ones. In addition, family counseling for parents and siblings of children with ASD often helps families to cope with the special challenges of living with a child with ASD.
While drugs may not cure ASD or even treat its main symptoms, there are some that can help with related symptoms like anxiety, depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Antipsychotics are used to treat severe behavioral problems.
Seizures can be treated with one or more anticonvulsants. Drugs used to treat people with attention deficit disorder can be used effectively to reduce impulsivity and hyperactivity in people with ASD. Parents, caregivers, and people with autism should be careful before using unproven treatments.
Trishna Patnaik holds a BSc (in life sciences) and an MBA (in marketing) according to qualifications, but an artist of choice. She previously worked as a corporate professional and realized that she wanted to do something more meaningful. She found her true calling in her passion, painting. Trishna is now a full-time painter in Mumbai as well as an art therapist and healer.