It is difficult to say that autism, which is carried by one of every 68 children in the world, is known to the extent of its prevalence. For this reason, the United Nations declared April 2 in 2008 as "World Autism Awareness Day". The aim is to raise awareness about autism all over the world and find solutions to problems. Near East University Hospital Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Department Specialist Dr. Yeliz Engindereli pointed out what should be known about autism.
Dr. Yeliz Engindereli emphasized that autism, a neurodevelopmental disorder that manifests itself with repetitive behavior and limited areas of interest, slows down the development of emotional and social skills while causing delay or deviation in the development of communication. Autism can occur up to the age of 3.
One of every 68 children in the world is autistic
There is no test for the diagnosis of autism, for which early diagnosis is important in terms of child development. Stating that the diagnosis can be made by clinical examination, Dr. Yeliz Engindereli said that one in every 68 children in the world is diagnosed with autism.
Noting that the prevalence in boys is four times higher than that of girls, Dr. Yeliz Engindereli said, “Although there are findings regarding its genetic basis, the cause and which gene or genes are responsible for autism, the effect of environmental factors and especially the advanced father's age is a highly controversial issue. Autism is found in all kinds of societies, different geographies, races and families.” Reminding that babies are born with the ability to communicate and the need to socialize, and that a healthy baby reacts to the outside world, Dr. Yeliz Engindereli said that parents should carefully observe whether their babies can adapt to the normal development process.
Symptoms of Autism
The most important symptoms of autism are disruptions in the developmental stages of babies. While some of the skills may not improve at all, some regression or loss may be seen in some acquired communication skills. Dr. Yeliz Engindereli pointed out the the most common symtoms of autism; “Eye contact is limited in babies with autism. They remain unresponsive when their names are called, they do not laugh when you try to make them laugh, they do not play with their toys for their intended purpose, they do not wave, they do not send kisses and their imitation skills do not develop like children in the same age group. In addition to the developmental disruption, repetitive movements such as meaningless hand-clapping, swinging, and turning can be observed.” She listed listed other concrete symptoms that may indicate autism as follows: "If babies do not know their parents even though they are six months old, do not smile, cannot show with signs even after the age of one, do not play games, do not say a few meaningful words, do not look when called with their name, do not make eye contact, then autism should be suspected. In addition, babies, even though they are over the age of two, do not play with toys appropriately if they are only interested in certain parts, they do not play pretend or play, they do not pretend to play imaginary games, they seem indifferent to what is happening around them, they are indifferent to their peers, and if they play in a corner on their own when they are in development stages, it should be assumed that there is a problem."
Dr. Yeliz Engindereli: "With early diagnosis and intensive continuous special education, it is possible to bring your child to the same level with their peers who show healthy development."
Stating that parents who observe a difference in the development of their children or think that any of the symptoms are present in their children, they should consult a child and adolescent psychiatrist without delay, Dr. Yeliz Engindereli emphasized that early diagnosis of autism is the most important factor affecting the treatment outcome with appropriate intervention and regular psychiatric follow-up.
Saying that the only known treatment of autism today is early diagnosis and intensive, continuous special education, Dr. Yeliz Engindereli noted that it would be possible to make a big difference in the lives of children with autism, to increase their quality of life, and to bring them to the same school level with their peers with healthy development by early diagnosis and then engage them into a special education process for at least 20 hours a week.