Regressive autism is a form of autism, which is characterized by a delayed onset of the symptoms of autism. In this article, we will look into the causes, symptoms and treatment of this form of autism.
The term ‘autism spectrum disorders’ refers to a group of developmental disorders that affect children. The autism spectrum disorders are mainly categorized into Asperger’s syndrome, classic autism, childhood disintegrative disorder, Rett syndrome and atypical autism (pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified). Impaired communication and social interaction and repetitive behavior are characteristic signs of these developmental disorders. Such disorders affect one’s ability to communicate or even relate to others.
While the symptoms of classic autism manifest before the child completes three years of age, the characteristic sign of regressive autism is a delayed onset of autism. While the child may have developed like any normal child in the initial years, he/she begins to regress and begins to face difficulty while interacting and communicating with others. For this reason, this condition is also referred to as setback-type autism or acquired autistic syndrome. In this article, we will look into the classic signs of this form of autism, along with the ways of dealing with this developmental disorder.
Causes and Symptoms
Unlike classic autism, where the symptoms appear early, parents are often caught by surprise, when their child who seemed to be growing like any other normal child, starts losing the acquired language skills. Various studies have been conducted in order to determine the exact cause of this form of autism. Though the exact cause is not known, it is believed that this condition may be caused due to an autoimmune response. Certain studies were conducted to find out if there was a link between multiple vaccination and regressive type of autism.
Conclusive evidence that may corroborate the link between this form of autism and vaccination has not yet been found. It is believed that genes may be responsible for causing this developmental disorder, but evidence is needed to support this assumption. Problems related with the language skills or impairment of social skills are the most common symptoms that children suffering from this developmental disorder may exhibit.
While these children may have met the language milestones, once they begin to regress, they may not be able to remember the words that they had learned earlier. They may lose the memory of such words as they learn new ones. Children suffering from this form of autism may find it very hard to acquire new skills.
Dramatic change in their personality would occur as a result of this regression. They may not be able to understand how others feel, and may fail to make friends. They may find it hard to start a conversation or maintain eye contact. Due to the impairment of motor skills, their body movements may appear strange. They may have repetitive body movements and may repeat certain words.
The signs of this form of autism are similar to signs of other developmental disorders, it’s just that these symptoms appear after sometime. This is the reason why some people believe that regressive type of autism may actually be classic autism, which is diagnosed at a later stage.
If a child starts exhibiting the aforementioned symptoms, parents must seek medical help immediately. Such symptoms may be attributed to childhood disintegrative disorder or any other form of autism in toddlers. It is therefore, essential to ascertain the underlying cause of impaired social skills.
Though parents would naturally feel stressed when they see such abnormal changes in their child’s behavior, they need to be strong and patient. Family support is an integral aspect. If the family members give proper support to such children, they may be able to lead better lives. For this reason, parents as well as teachers need to be sensitive. Parents must go for counseling to find out about better ways to deal with such children.
Since such children find it hard to develop language skills, parents as well as teachers must find out different ways of teaching children with autismt. Playing word games and using colorful pictures can help in arousing the child’s interest in learning words, and may encourage language development.
A speech therapist can also help such children improve their language skills and help them to communicate in a better way. Though social training or behavioral therapy is the best form of treatment as it can promote desirable behavior, certain drugs may also be prescribed if the child is exhibiting certain severe symptoms. Certain drugs may be prescribed if the child’s behavior is extremely erratic.
Though autism cannot be cured completely, a timely diagnosis and treatment will certainly improve one’s chances of leading a better life. Children can be enrolled in specialized educational programs that are specially designed to meet the needs of such children. Behavioral therapy can also prove beneficial in the treatment of this development disorder. The aim of autism treatments is to make such individuals somewhat independent, so as help them lead a better life.