Everything about Autism

Headline : AIIMS doctors develop application to help in timely diagnosis of autism 

Details : 

The News

  • In the backdrop of the World Autism Awareness Day, doctors at AIIMS have developed a mobile app for early diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorders.
  • World Autism Awareness Day is observed on April 2 every year.

About the App

  • The app developed is called PedNeuroAiimsDiagnostics.
  • It is a questionnaire-based app which has 2 sections of questionnaire
  1. Section A has questions to assess the social interaction and communication skills
  2. Section B has questions to analyse the response given to questions in section A.
  • Based on the response to the questionnaire the app analyses if the child has any of the Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Accordingly the following cases are considered to be suffering with ASD
  • A child who cannot babble or point or gesture by 12 months
  • Couldn’t say single word by 16 months
  • Couldn’t say any two-word spontaneous phrases by 24 months
  • Loss of language or social skills at any age.
  • The App is easy to use with even a paediatrician can assess the test results.
  • The app is very sensitive in that detects 98% of cases.
  • It is also very specific in that it predicts specifically which of the ASD in 92% of the cases.

 

In focus: Autism Spectrum Disorders

About ASD

  • Autism is a developmental disorder associated with the neurological condition of the child.
  • It shows signs in the first 3 years of child development.
  • Autism is a brain malfunction mainly associated with impairments in 3 main areas
  • Communication skills
  • Social interactions 
  • Repetitive and restricted activities
  • Autism mainly occurs due to abnormalities in brain structure and function which can occur due to varied reasons.
  • As a result Autism is grouped under a spectrum of disorders called Autism Spectrum Disorders.

 

 

Common behavior pattern

  • In general autistic individual s have different ways of ‘sensing’ their world
  • Lack of emotional connection
  • Lack of eye contact while communicating
  • Not reacting or inconsistently reacting when their name is called out
  • Hypersensitivity to noise
  • Lost in own thoughts
  • Hitting or biting themselves
  • Lack of non-verbal communication
  • Inability to follow objects visually
  • Inability to make friends
  • Repetitive body movements
  • Repeating their own sentences

 Causes

  • There is no single cause for Autism.
  • Different children suffering from Autism are due to different causes.
  • Some commonly identified factors include
  • Gene mutations: No single gene is associated with Autism.
  • Environmental stresses
  • Parental age at the time of conception
  • Maternal illnesses during pregnancy
  • Mother who is a victim of drug and alcohol abuse
  • Oxygen deprivation to the child’s brain etc
  • However it should be noted that there is no conclusive direct correlation with any of the factors above listed.

 

Types

  • Since no two individual suffer from Autism due to same cause, different conditions are grouped under ASD.
  • It can vary between mild learning and social disability, to more complex emotional and physical disabilities.

Asperger’s syndrome

  • Mild form of Autism
  • Obsessive interest in a particular object or subject

Pervasive developmental disorder

  • This is more severe than Asperger’s syndrome
  • No two people suffering from the disease will exhibit the same symptoms
  • Common symptoms include
  • Poor social interaction
  • Impaired language skills

 

Autistic disorder

  • Most severe form of ASD.
  • Multiple impairments
  • Mental retardation and seizures

Note: Rett syndrome and Childhood disintegrative disorder are rare ASDs

Section : social issues
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