Saturday, June 19, 2010

All About Autism

As you all know I have a daughter with autism.  After accepting her condition (knowing about her condition was different from accepting it) I have attended several seminars and been doing a lot of readings about this condition.  I have a personal blog that talks about Surviving Autism and you might want to read it so just you know more how we are coping. Meanwhile I am here to share some useful information about the condition.

What it autism?
Autism is a spectrum disorder of the brain that affects a child's behavior, communication and social skills.  It includes three of five disorders known as Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDDs), these are Autistic Disorder (ASD), Asperger's Syndrome and PDD-not otherwide specified (PDD-NOS).  Latest of the data I've gathered worldwide there is now 1 out of 66 children born with autism and is more common on boys than girls.  So my daughter's condition is one of the rare types.

How will you know if your child has autism?
If you notice your child has difficulty communicating, socializing and there are presence of repetitive and ritualistic behaviors its safe to assume that there is something different with the child.  You should immediately see a doctor for diagnosis as no two children are the same when it comes with ASD.  Individuals have varying symptoms with varying severity.

What are the available treatment options?
Autism Spectrum Disorders are lifelong conditions with no known cure as of the moment.  However, children with ASD can progress developmentally and learn new skills.  Some children may improve so much that they no longer meet the criteria for ASD although milder symptoms may often persist.

Depending on the needs of the child there are different evidence-based interventions that have been proven effective for the management of the different deficits in autism.  These services include:

  • occupational therapy (OT)
  • speech therapy
  • behavioral therapy
  • educational therapy 
  • and physical therapy

Early intervention is critical in the management of these children.  Studies have shown that early detection of symptoms and early intervention improves the later outcomes of these individuals in terms of language, social relatedness and behavior.

For diagnosis the best place you can visit is the Philippine Children's Medical Hospital (PCMC) at Agham Road Quezon City.  PCMC is a specialized hospital for children and they can refer you to several specialist for this condition although getting a schedule from a developmental physician may take awhile because there are only a few of them practicing in the country at the moment.

You can also visit The Medical City (TMC) they have this Center For Patient Partnership Center for Developmental Pediatrics that takes diagnosis by appointment.    They have a a team of competent developmental pediatricians, neurologist, neuropsycholgist and other medical specialist.  TMC also offers different paramedical services like occupational therapy and speech therapy.  You can call them at (632)  6356789 ext 6444

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