In children with autism, the doctors look for signs of developmental delays along with symptoms of the disorder.As it is a spectrum of disorders that usually varies in symptoms and severity, providing apt medical management can help the children to regain or gain some of the essential skills to lead an enhanced social life.
- A child specialist conduct test and scan to determine the disorder and also:
- At what age did the symptoms surface
- Observe whether the child's social, communication and behavior skills have developed or changed with time
- Is he/she able to pay attention or sit in one place for an extended period
- A review of the child's cognitive abilities
- Queries about family history
- Recommend genetic testing to identify a genetic disorder in the family such as Rett syndrome and fragile X syndrome
Treatment Options May Include:
Autism, a developmental disorder, is marked by delays in social and communication skills.
Behavioral therapy and speech therapy help in improving communication and social deficiencies. Occupational therapy improves self-help capabilities, and treats sensory issues such as hypersensitivity to touch, light or sound). Although non-medical interventions are best in easing the symptoms, still at times medical management of autism can control the severity of the conditions.
Certain medications are prescribed to manage hyperactive, anxiety, sleep disorder, seizures, etc. Antipsychotic drugs are used to treat behavioral problems; antidepressants are prescribed for anxiety; sedative to control violent behavior and sleep disorders.
Antidepressant And Anxiety Medications
Children with autism show persistent anxiety or obsessive behaviors that can cause problems in their day-to-day life. Anxiety is often associated with explosive behaviors, which can lead to depression. At times, the behavior gets severe enough to require immediate medication.
For these symptoms, medical management such as mood stabilizers and anti-epileptics are commonly prescribed to help control fluctuating mood, anxiety or obsessive and compulsive behaviors in children with autism
Anti-psychotics Medical Management For Autism
Some of the antipsychotic medications, such as Risperdal and Aripiprazole, treat autism-related irritability and also improve anxiety, or impulsivity mood.Along with a wide range of potential benefits, the side effects include weight gain, risk of drowsiness, fatigue, and constipation. Blood sugar needs to be monitored if children continue these medications for a length of time.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Medication
Children with autism demonstrate ADHD symptoms that undermine their behavioral, academic, and social development.
Along with behavioral interventions or therapies, a medication that includes methylphenidate, amphetamine, and dextroamphetamine prove to be 'life-changing' for stimulants or non-stimulants treatment. The goal of a medical practitioner is to avoid persistent side effects such as irritability, anxiety, sleep auditory processing disorder and headache through medical management.
With medication, children can either develop tolerance (when the drug ceases to be effective) or sensitization (worsening of the side effects). At times, parents who turn to medication, without consulting the right physicians, must know about their side effects.
Consult a health care provider on any medications or supplements as some of them cause dangerous side effects. Medical management of autism improves the symptoms however, this should be done under the supervision of registered medical practitioners. Medical management of autism is effective when done in conjunction with rehabilitation therapies that include occupational therapy, diet and nutrition management, yoga therapy, play therapy, and speech therapy.